It’s March in Austin. The weather is absolutely beautiful, and thousands of people have descended on Austin for the annual SXSW festival. This three week gathering has everyone from bloggers, to movie stars, to the latest and greatest musicians. Tech companies plan a year in advance to show up with their latest and greatest. Celebrities can be seen eating a breakfast taco. It’s a fun time and well worth the trip.
But what if you want to stay after SXSW ends? What are your options? What is Austin like the rest of the year?
If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know that Austin doesn’t change much once SXSW goes away. Of course the streets open up to regular traffic, and there aren’t as many hipsters around. But the tech scene is still here. And we ARE the live music capitol of the world. Heck, you can even see a movie star every so often at the Four Season’s Lobby or the Bar at the Driskill. And yes, about 130+ people move here everyday.
But where will I live if I move here? That depends. There are
three four main areas of town that most people want to live in, and each has its own feel and price range. They are, downtown, SoCo, East Side, and of course Westlake. Some would also mention the Allandale/brentwood/Crestview part of town, but if I mention that newcomers should move there I’d be run out of town 🙂
Let’s start with the downtown area. Austin keeps building new high rises, A lot of newcomers either buy or lease an apartment in them, and get to experience first hand the city center.
Of course the average cost for a new condo has crossed the $1M barrier, and the prices are only going up. These are perfect for the post IPO crowd that has a bunch of cash burning a hole in their pocket.
A short or long term lease is much more reasonable, that’s for sure. No matter what you choose, the views are amazing.
SoCo, or the South of Congress area is one of the places that is going to see a lot of change in the coming years. It is the heart and blood of what makes Austin the town it is. Food trucks, funky shops, and some unique locals call this part of town home.
Behind all the cool stores, and restaurants are some great neighborhoods. Travis heights to the east, and Bouldin Creek to the west. There are cool old houses (mostly 2 bedroom), and some updated places too. I’ll be honest, the houses go fast here. If you want to buy or rent, make sure you have an agent who is used to working in this fast paced market where new listings are active for only a few hours before an offer is in place.
The East side is a large section of town East of highway 35. It stretches from highway 290 to the north to past ladybird lake at the south. There really is no eastern boundary to the east side. The best way to describe this area is Gentrification. There are some great areas, and some up and coming sections. Of all the places, this is easily the most affordable, where you can get a decent 2 bedroom house to rent for $1,200/month, or to buy in the low $200,000’s. Lots of local artists call this part of Austin home, and there are some incredible shared work spaces and holes in the wall to eat at. But as with any up and coming area, there are good pockets, and other areas to watch out for.
Westlake is the “high rent” part of town. The homes are very expensive, but are quite impressive. The schools are the best in town (if you have kids), and a lot of the entrepreneurs own homes in this section.
If you are lime most people, you want to explore the city and that’s totally cool. I help a lot of people relocate here, and over 80% like to rent for a year or so in an area to get a feel for it.