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Austin offers a high quality of life to complement its thriving cultural scene and economic climate. Austin consistently ranks among the best places in the nation to live, as you can see in our Why live in Austin? guide. Austin's extensive network of trails and large parks help preserve the city's natural beauty, and keep sustainability on the minds of local residents. As Austin has prospered and been recognized, its economy has grown steadily, providing many high paying jobs for local residents. The city is home to a wide variety of leading high-tech and fortune 500 companies, including Apple Inc., IBM, Dell, AMD, and Sun Microsystems.
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Central Austin is an increasingly dynamic and popular place to live, with a continually changing skyline to prove it. The area has seen a surge in high-rise and loft living and an emphasis on fostering the lifestyle, conveniences, and amenities those living in the area desire. High-rise condominiums downtown make way for historic surrounding neighborhoods, offering an eclectic and appealing selection for homebuyers. Central Austin is home to the State Capitol and the University of Texas, countless businesses, and ample nightlife and conveniences, such as the Flagship Whole Foods. Historic hotels and theatres mixed with modern museums and transportation options make central Austin one of the city’s most desired areas for real estate.
East Austin is undergoing a transformation and is continuously becoming more connected to the downtown area and the rest of the city. The area has a long city-related history dating to the 1800s, but today, many of the older homes are being renovated or replaced with newer, more modern homes. Small businesses are commonplace, and many of Austin’s popular restaurants make their homes here. East Austin also is maturing its artists’ community, with galleries and art events becoming dominant in the area. The Mueller neighborhood is a mixed-use residential, shopping, and business development in east Austin that has triggered or enhanced much of the area’s redevelopment. Dell Children's Medical Center of Central Texas is in east Austin.
North Austin is a bustling region of the Austin metro area, with substantial neighborhood, business, and retail presence. Neighborhoods can range from mid-century subdivisions to acreage homesteads to new construction, and homebuyers find a diversity of pricing options in the area. A great number of large Austin businesses are in north Austin, such as 3M, Motive, IBM, Seton Northwest Hospital, St. David's North Austin Medical Center, and the University of Texas J.J. Pickle Research Campus. Many individuals who work in the technological industry choose to live in north Austin.
Northeast Austin offers many of Austin’s more affordable housing choices, especially in proximity to large tech companies such as Samsung, Dell, Applied Materials, and Apple. Major roadway access enhances this area’s appeal. Recreational options, such as trails and parks, and shopping options, such as The Domain and the Arboretum, keep this area bustling. Most homes in the area range from 1970s construction to new construction, and the real estate market is generally quite active.
Northwest Austin includes many of the scenic parts of town and comprises the area from downtown Austin toward the Texas Hill Country. Views can include the downtown skyline, the hill country or rolling city hills, and views of area lakes. A sizeable amount of luxury properties are in Northwest Austin, many near greenbelts, but there are homes of various price ranges in this large geographical area. Ample retail options and businesses help this part of town benefit from conveniences within this scenic locale.
Much of the “coolness” of Austin can be attributed to vibrant and eclectic South Austin. The area includes many neighborhoods and close communities that are experiencing a revitalization, as well as modern, urban new construction homes and multi-use properties. Quirky and vintage stores, popular restaurants, street fairs, walkability, and a relaxed, low-key vibe add to this area’s personality. Demand to live in this area has been strong, as it becomes more contemporary while retaining its old-Austin spirit.
Southeast Austin is an affordable part of town that offers quick access to Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. Homes are varied here, with many starter homes available, as well as larger, more upscale homes in a few of the older neighborhoods. The area has multiple parks, two popular golf courses, and is close to the Circuit of the Americas, which is triggering redevelopment and new development along its path.
Southwest Austin has an excellent reputation for homeownership. With much of the area deemed environmentally sensitive, neighborhoods and retail establishments tend to be enhanced with more natural settings than some of the denser parts of town, and large swaths of greenbelt and protected lands are present here. Southwest Austin also has low crime rates and excellent schools. Homes can start in the $200s and go to the millions. Businesses such as Freescale enhance the area’s appeal, with ample retail development to fulfill residents.
West Austin is a desirable area where many locals aspire to live. Most schools in this part of town are in the acclaimed Eanes Independent School District, and many of Austin’s upscale and luxury homes reside here. Homes in this area often are enhanced by natural beauty, golf courses, and lakefront or lake view living, and they generally have a higher starting price point than other locales in town. Several country clubs and other upscale amenities and shopping can be found in exclusive West Austin.
Surrounding Austin Areas
Bee Cave is a small town about 15 miles west of Austin. Its location between Austin and the hill country provides residents with a taste of both worlds: natural beauty and business proximity. About 5,000 people live in Bee Cave, which is at the intersection of Highway 71, FM 620, and FM 2244. A fairly affluent area with good schools, many homes are on oversized and acreage lots, and the majority of homes are relatively new. Much of the city’s day-to-day action is centered near the Hill County Galleria multi-use development. Bee Cave, based on its geographic location, is the “West Pole” of the world.
Buda is a town of about 8,000 residents along the southern border of Austin. Located in Hays County, Buda is known as the “Outdoor Capital of Texas” and offers an abundance of green space and parkland, with hundreds of acres of natural and semi-developed land utilized for community events. Buda attracts residents who choose to live and work in Buda, as well as residents who choose to commute to work in Austin. Real estate prices in Buda are slightly more affordable than Austin real estate prices, and Buda offers a sense of community pride and small town charm.
Cedar Park is a popular community 16 miles northwest of Austin, bordering the Texas hill country and in relative proximity to Lake Travis. It is one of the fastest growing cities in the country, due in part to its affordable real estate prices, excellent Leander ISD schools, and a desirable quality of life. Development has been fast paced in recent years in Cedar Park, and many new homes, business developments, and shopping/dining centers can be found here. Luxury properties in Cedar Park offer expansive lots and views of the hill country.
Driftwood is home to a few thousand people spread among custom and estate-sized homes on acreage lots, with most homes and subdivisions offering a rural atmosphere. Driftwood is in Hays County and is unincorporated, but it is close to Southwest Austin, which provides access to a multitude of conveniences. Driftwood also offers some of Austin’s favorite barbecue and wineries.
Dripping Springs is minutes west of Austin and is known as the “gateway to the hill country.” High quality schools, affordable housing, and natural surroundings attract many residents to Dripping Springs. The town also has a sense of community and is experiencing a redevelopment of the Main Street area downtown. Tens of thousands live in the general vicinity, with fewer than 3,000 people living in the city proper. Many residents of Dripping Springs commute to Austin for work, while enjoying the small town community lifestyle Dripping Springs offers.
Georgetown is a town of about 50,000 residents, with a large portion of that population from the retirement community of Sun City, Texas, that sits north of Austin. A picturesque and historical town, it is near the Central Texas hill country and the North and South San Gabriel Rivers. Georgetown is well known for being home to Texas’ oldest university, Southwestern University, and for its annual Red Poppy Festival, that attracts tens of thousands each year to view beautiful displays and fields of the pretty flower.
Hutto is a small, somewhat rural town on the northeast side of Austin, between Round Rock and Taylor in Williamson County. Rapidly growing, the community has at least 15,000 residents, with closer to 20,000 served by its school district, Hutto Independent School District. Although its own businesses and retail centers are growing, its proximity to bustling Round Rock and Austin proper also add to the appeal of community life in Hutto. It is a popular choice for those seeking inexpensive real estate prices and city pride.
Jonestown is a small city on the northwest side of Austin, situated west of Cedar Park and east of Lago Vista. Much of the city is bordered by Lake Travis, and popular recreational areas include Jones Brothers’ Park and Pecan Bottom Park. At around only 2,000 residents, Jonestown is cooperative with surrounding areas, and its Chamber of Commerce is joined with that of Lago Vista. Homes can range from highly affordable to luxury lakefront properties.
Kyle is a small town of about 30,000 residents south of Austin along I-35. It has been one of Texas’ fastest growing cities, and much development has occurred here in recent history. Kyle homes are more affordable than their Austin counterparts, and many people choose to live in Kyle and work in Austin, in part because of the small town charm and community atmosphere the town offers. The subdivision of Plum Creek is an example of this, with its picket fences, roundabouts, and alleyways that encourage neighborhood strolling.
Located on the north shore of Lake Travis, Lago Vista is a town of under 10,000 residents 20 miles northwest of Austin. Set in the beautiful Texas hill country, the Lago Vista and Highland Lakes Golf Courses make their home here, as does the Rusty Allen Airport and its onsite Lago Vista Airpower Museum and Library. Lago Vista has its own school district, and the area offers excellent access to natural resources, such as with its public parks, marinas and boat ramps, and wildlife. For lakefront living, Lago Vista offers relative affordability compared to many lake communities.
Lake Austin homes are some of the most desirable and luxurious properties in Austin. With lake access or views, popular homes along Austin sell quickly and at higher price points than other homes in Austin. Lake Austin is a 20-mile stretch of the Colorado River, extending from Mansfield Dam to Tom Miller Dam, just west of downtown Austin. Water levels along Lake Austin are constant, and this enhances the lakefront living appeal of this centrally-located stretch of homes. Boat ramps, watersports, and popular restaurants along the water corridor provide a positive feeling that is unmatched in other areas of town. Homes along Lake Austin are priced in the millions.
Lake Travis is an incredibly popular segment of the Colorado River, located west of Austin and spanning 65 miles at a depth of close to 700 feet when full. Known as one of the clearest lakes in Texas, its water basin is popular for a variety of water recreation activities, such as boating, fishing, water skiing, swimming, and more. Several communities comprise the real estate along Lake Travis. These include Lakeway, Spicewood, Briarcliff, Steiner Ranch, Jonestown, Hudson Bend, Lago Vista, Pointe Venture, Volente, and Lower Basin. Luxury waterfront properties on Lake Travis run well in to the multi millions.
Lakeway is a town of about 15,000 people 20 miles west of Austin near Lake Travis. Recreational activities abound in Lakeway, with numerous golf courses and parks, spas, and ample water access playing a large role in the area’s popularity. Lakeway is rapidly growing, and many of the homes here are of relatively new construction. Luxury homes, particularly lakefront or golf course homes, can run well into the millions, but there are also many subdivisions with more affordable properties.
Leander is adjacent to Cedar Park, Texas and northwest of Austin near the Texas Hill Country. Leander has seen rapid growth in its recent history and is recognized for its land planning initiatives in order to sustain its current population of about 30,000 residents and prepare for its future growth. Leander is an affordable alternative for those who want to work in the northern parts of Austin while living in its suburbs. It is also known to offer excellent schools.
Pflugerville is a suburb of Austin but blends seamlessly into the northeast side of town. Pflugerville has grown rapidly and now stands at around 50,000 residents, and there are ample retail stores and other conveniences for those who choose to live here. Homes in Pflugerville are affordable and are in line with or lower than the median price of Austin homes. Lake Pflugerville creates many recreational activities for the area’s residents. It has been named a “Best Place to Live” by CNN’s Money Magazine.
Rollingwood is a city of about 2,000 residents on the west side of Austin, just east of Westlake. A small area of mostly upscale homes and established neighborhoods, the town of Rollingwood is home to several parks and many of the older but remodeled homes feature mature trees and outstanding natural features. Its proximity to the conveniences of Austin, including MoPac, increases this area’s popularity. Home buyers can expect to pay well over median prices for home in Rollingwood.
Round Rock, known as the "Sports Capital of Texas," is home to about 100,000 people and the Dell Incorporated headquarters. While it is only a short drive from Austin, Round Rock has developed into a thriving city in its own right and offers an excellent school system. It has been honored as one of the United States’ best small cities and offers many large employers, as well as recreational opportunities such as the Dell Diamond, home to the Round Rock Express baseball team.
Spicewood, Texas is a desirable community along northern Lake Travis in Burnet County. Spicewood is home to about 10,000 residents, with many of the homes in the area in or near the millions and offering waterfront or water view lots. Spicewood is a tourist hub for visiting the Texas Hill Country, viewing wildflowers, and enjoying the Texas Wine Trail. Spicewood also offers a modern history and some resident population dating back to when Texas was its own country.
West Lake Hills
West Lake Hills is a small city within central to west Austin along Bee Cave Road. With a few thousand residents, the area is highly desirable because of its school district, luxury homes, and established neighborhoods. Often referred to simply as “Westlake,” its prime real estate location avails it with views of all prime Austin locations: downtown, Lake Austin, and hill country. West Lake Hills is fully within the top-rated Eanes Independent School District, an important qualification for many who choose to live in this enclave of Austin. Luxury homes can be found here, as well as homes with prime lots and landscaping, and many remodeled homes provide a sense of character to this established area. Median home prices are higher in West Lake Hills than in Austin proper.
Set near the Blanco River and Cypress Creek in Hays County, Wimberley is an artists’ community and a showcase for central Texas beauty. This charming town is known for its art fairs and creative environment, as well as its stately bald cypress and pecan trees and views of Texas wildflowers. Many homes in Wimberley incorporate the natural surroundings and beauty, and residents can find their perfect retreat here, whether for a fulltime home or a vacation home. A storied history is still present for those who choose to visit the town’s historical sites.