Calling Austin, Texas “Home”

Austonian1There’s no question that Central Texas is a top consideration for people to live in if they love barbecue, plenty of sunshine and a thriving economy with a stable housing market. There are areas in Central Texas that people will move to just for retirement like Georgetown, Texas. Or some will come here because of the employment opportunity that greater Austin has to offer or the great University of Texas school system. However, recently I’ve been noticing a trend that has been growing: Some people are not moving here to retire, or go to school, or even because of a job transfer. They are moving here because they have heard over and over again that people love to call Austin “Home.”

So if you’re coming here by choice; and you don’t have to live within a 30 mile radius of work (if you’re employed), or hospitals (if you’re retired), or school (if you’re a student), then the Greater Austin metro is a large area and it’s time to narrow it down (your real estate agent will thank you for this). Here’s a brief overview of the different major geographic areas of Central Texas for you to start your research and discover the best fit for your future home:

Central Austin

Ok, let’s start with the coolest part of town: Downtown Austin

This area is generally bordered by MOPAC on the west and I35 on the east. The northern boundary is Hwy 183 and Hwy 290 is on the South.

Everything from old town bungalos to luxury high rise condos can be found in Central Austin. Not to mention the presence of 40,000 University of Texas students and some of the best restaurants, entertainment and shopping in Texas. If you are doing your part to reduce America’s dependence on gas, you can walk or bike to all of these downtown conveniences. All you need is $100,000 to get started on a one bedroom condo. However, if you really want to contribute to the Austin real estate economy, you can easily spend upwards of $3 million for property on the same street as that $100,000 condo. That’s downtown real estate for you!

West Austin

Westlake-Drive-House-2If you keep heading west from Central Austin and cross over MOPAC, you’ll be heading into one of the top rated school districts in Texas. The Eanes Independent School District has great high schools like Lake Travis and Westlake that are typically rated Exemplary by the TEA. If you’ve ever wondered why Central Texas is also called the “Hill Country” you’ll see why once you drive these roads.

There are awesome scenic views and curvy roads that will tempt even the most die-hard Texan to trade in his beloved Ford F-150 for a BMW with a near perfect 50:50 weight distribution and sport-tuned chassis. If you have to settle, a Porche will work just fine too. Waterfront homes with views of Lake Austin or Lake Travis and proximity to areas for the outdoor enthusiast to unwind, like the Barton Creek Park and Greenbelt, are nearby. You are also just 10 minutes from the heart of Downtown Austin. Real estate prices can start in the $400k’s and go upwards of $5 million.

South Austin

If you ever wondered why Austin’s slogan is “Keep Austin Wierd,” you just need to travel to South Austin.  This area is typically the geographic region on the west side of I35 just south of the Colorado River.  You’re close to the Barton Creek Green belt, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower and Veloway.  Barton Creek Mall is also close by and so are the many electic shops and restaurants that make Austin unique.  This part of town is home to one of the largest neighborhoods in Austin, Circle C Ranch.  Circle C has 4000 acres of hike and bike trails, parks, playgrounds and homes that range from the $200,000’s to $500,000’s.

East Austin

east austinA growing part of Austin with lots of new re-development and trendy new neighborhoods like Mueller is just East of I35 and South of Hwy 290.  There are many older homes and multifamily homes that are being renovated and housing is very affordable here and can start under $100,000.  The shopping, entertainment and restaurant choices aren’t as plentiful and schools have received lower TEA ratings compared to some areas on the west side of I35.  However, if you are looking for something eclectic and trendy, that is close to downtown Austin and more affordable than West Austin, this is it.  If you travel and require proximity to Austin Bergstrom International Airport, you are only 10-15 minutes away and McKinney Fall State Park is also nearby.

North Austin

If you find yourself craving the excitement of downtown Austin every other weekend and you don’t like to put up with the big city traffic, North Austin is a good place to call home.  You can actually get a decent sized yard here and you have all of the conveniences of great shopping like The Domain and The Arboretum.  Housing is more affordable the further you move away from downtown and Walnut Creek Park is close by.  The closest thing Austin has to a Chinatown is off Lamar Avenue and is also in North Austin.  Most of the home prices here can be between $100,000 and $600,000.

Even more North Austin

Otherwise known as the suburbs.  There are many other towns that exist within a 30 minute drive to downtown Austin.  If you keep heading North on I35, you’ll run into Pflugerville, Round Rock, and Georgetown, Texas, in that order.  To the Northwest, you have Cedar Park, Leander and Liberty Hill.  There are many great neighborhoods that exist in these cities and people also love the small town feel of being outside of Austin yet close enough to drive-in if they want to eat at a nice restaurant or check out some big city event.  You can find old historic homes on the Downtown square and luxury golf course neighborhoods like Cimarron Hills all in the same town.  You’re also closer to the Killeen/Ft. Hood and Dallas/Ft. Worth Metro areas if you find yourself heading in that direction frequently.

More Resources

For every hour you spend on the computer you can save 5 hours of driving around.  Check out some of these other resources I’ve compiled for you to help you do your research.

Austin American Statesman:poll

Austin Neighborhood quiz and other great resources:

Also, contact me today and I will send you the 2011 Greater Austin School Ratings that show the ratings for every elementary, middle and high school in Greater Austin.  Just shoot me an email at or contact me by phone:  512-554-9594.

If you’re in the area I’ll even take you out for some world-class barbecue and we can check out these neighborhoods in person!

Your Favorite HOMEboy, Edward

Calling Austin, Texas Home – A quick reference guide to Austin