U.S. News & World Report named Austin, Texas as the second best place to live in 2016. Also known as the “Live Music Capital of the World,” this city sits on the Colorado River and boasts a strong economy (3.1 percent unemployment rate), excellent schools and many recreational activities. If you’re interested in moving to this fast-growing city, here’s what $300,000 can buy you.
The median home price in Austin is currently $240,000, but Austin real estate markets range from extremely pricey neighborhoods (multimillion-dollar riverfront estates in West Austin) to relatively economical locations (the Village at Walnut Creek offers condominium living for under $100,000). There are approximately 200 Austin properties in escrow (as of this writing) with list prices between $275,000 and $325,000. In this price range, several areas dominate: Northwest Austin, University Hills, Garrison Park and East MLK. Here’s a quick rundown of these four communities:
- Northwest Austin: This diverse zone’s median home price is about $535,000, but you can find budget-friendly properties as well. Northwest Austin is a family-friendly area that features traditional and ranch-style homes.
- University Hills: Homes in this neighborhood could end up being good investments. The area is on its way up thanks to revitalization efforts, and it attracts a younger and less traditional crowd. It’s convenient to the city center, but is still affordable. This median home price is about $250,000.
- Garrison Park: The Garrison Park neighborhood surrounds a park with the same name. It’s an older community, where modest-sized, neat houses and mature trees line shady streets. It’s home to many young families, and the park boasts green play areas, plenty of walking and running trails and a pool. The median home price is about $233,900.
- East MLK: The East MLK neighborhood is one of the oldest, most tight-knit areas in the city. Formerly known for its abundance of low-income housing, East MLK is getting more expensive as young professionals take advantage of its bargain prices. In particular, the Pecan Springs community offers classic homes with beautiful grounds. There are a number of affordable homes for sale for under $300,000 in this neighborhood.
Austin’s increasing prices and young population have sparked an avid interest in tiny houses, which are homes that are about 500 square feet. For those with limited budgets who want to live in bustling downtown Austin or picturesque West Austin, a tiny home may be the way to achieve home ownership in competitive markets. For instance, for $289,000, you can get a 638-square-foot downtown loft space in a historical building that features a rooftop deck and amazing views.
Condominiums offer another way to stretch your budget and get into your chosen community. If you want a view of Lake Travis, for instance, $289,900 gets you resort-style living in a three-bedroom, 1,593-square-foot condo that’s complete with swimming pools, tennis courts, a fitness center, a tram to the lake and a dock. It’s just 25 minutes from downtown Austin.
City slickers may choose a renovated building or brand-new high rise in the center of the action. Brazos Place, for example, is a 1949 building in the center of downtown Austin near the Austin Convention Center, Lady Bird Lake and miles of trails. Starting at $319,000, these condos feature loft styling, stained concrete floors and 12-foot high ceilings, and include 24-hour concierge service, a roof garden and an on-site fitness center.
Single-family homes dominate the suburbs of Austin. You can find historic classics, midcentury modern planned communities and even ultramodern structures. Many suburban neighborhoods offer mature landscaping and access to parks, lakes and other green spaces, and freestanding family homes are widely available in this price range.
Austin’s popularity and high quality of life have driven its home prices higher in 2016, but there are still plenty of buying opportunities in the $300,000 range. When you’re ready to start your search within the Austin real estate market, head to Owners.com to find homes within your budget.