"High Property Taxes, Heat, and Tornadoes, TOO? Why would I want to move to Austin, Texas?"

By
Real Estate Broker/Owner with Austin Texas Homes, LLC 453249
http://actvra.in/4j6K

 

 As a real estate broker in Austin, I have found that there are a few questions that typically surface when I am speaking with someone who is looking to relocate to this area.  I thought it might be a good idea to address some of these head-on, in an effort to educate.  Also, I wanted to touch on some of the reasons that I call Austin home.

 

Property Tax: Yes, real estate property taxes are high here in Austin, but we have no state income tax in Texas.  Property taxes are used to fund our school districts, city and county governments, water districts (sometimes), and more.  The tax rates range from about 2.5% to just over 3%.  Austin proper is currently taxed at 2.5254%. 

Our clients who have moved from areas with a state income tax in place have said that  their overall tax burden typically stays about the same or slightly decreases.  Clearly, this would not be the case on an investment property, but there are still plenty of good properties that are cash flow positive with a normal down payment.

Additionally, the Texas legislature recently passed a bill to reduce property taxes by 50 cents per $100 valuation.  This will be fully enacted next year (17 cents this year, 33 cents next year). 

 

Heat: Is it hot in Austin?  Well, sometimes it is.  Texas summers are hot, no question about it.  However, this year we only crossed the 100 degree mark a couple of times.  I looked it up, and here is the temperature trend in Austin, Texas over the past 30 years:

MONTH          

HIGH

LOW

January

60

40

February

65

44

March

73

51

April

79

58

May

85

65

June

91

71

July

95

73

August

96

73

September

90

69

October

81

60

November

70

49

December

62

42

 

As you can see, we have several very good weather months here in Austin, and only four months when the average high temperature is 90 or above. 

 

Tornadoes: I am asked about tornadoes far more frequently than you would imagine.  In 1997, there was a devastating F-5 tornado that hit Jarrell, Texas, which is about 45 miles north of Austin.  Since then, this area has experienced a good number of small tornadoes, but zero deaths.  I have lived in Texas my entire life and I have NEVER seen a tornado, nor do I know anyone who has been directly affected by one, not even with property damage.

 

 

NOW comes the more important question: Why in the heck WOULD you want to move to Austin, Texas?  Well, there are so many reasons that it is hard to give an all-encompassing answer here, but I would like to give you some good reasons as a starting point -

 

MUSIC: How about the fact that Austin is the "Live Music Capital of the World"?  This became Austin's official slogan in 1991 after extensive research showed that Austin boasts more live music venues per capita than Nashville, New York City, and other music hot spots.  Since then, Austin has continued to develop and foster this image through its initiatives. 

Austin is a music industry mecca. South by Southwest (abbreviated SXSW) is a large music and film festival that has put Austin on the entertainment map. Austin has a large and varied selection of artists performing all over town, and notably on 6th Street downtown, every night. Austin City Limits, which appears on public television, is filmed here, and has showcased many well-known talents through the years.   We even have a statue of local legend Stevie Ray Vaughn (click to hear him jamming) gracing the shores of Lady Bird Lake in downtown Austin (see photo on the right).

 

 

 

austin hills

 

NATURAL BEAUTY: Austin also has an extensive park system, hill country topography to the west, a beautiful chain of lakes, a river running through downtown, and thousands of acres of protected preserve land.  To see more like this, please check out my recent blog post with photos here: Texas Looks Like That? A Native Texan's Perspective

 

 

AFFORDABILITY: Austin remains one of the most affordable markets in the country, with a median sales price in the $180,000 range and an average sales price in the low $200's.  In fact, if you are curious about what your money will buy, please check out some of the recent articles I have written on this very topic:

Austin Real Estate - What can I buy for $200,000 in the Austin area?

Austin Real Estate - What Can I Buy in the Austin area for $300,000 or less?

Austin Texas Real Estate - What Can I Buy in the Austin area for $400,000 or less?

Austin Real Estate - What Can I Buy in the Austin area for $500,000 or less?

What Can I Buy in the Austin Area for $600,000?

 

 

HIGH-TECH COMPANIES: A directory of "Silicon Hills" (Austin's own "Silicon Valley") lists over 100 technical companies in the Austin area. This makes Austin a fairly tech-savvy town. Many Austin organizations and businesses were some of the first to be noticed on the Internet because of the large number of "techie" folks here in Austin.  Dell Computers is the area's largest employer, with over 17,000 employees.

 

 

 

UNIVERSITIES: Austin is home to the University of Texas, St. Edward's University, Concordia Lutheran University, Austin Community College, Huston-Tillotson College, and there are two other large universities in nearby towns, Southwestern University and Texas State University. That means Austin is also home to a lot of young people and students. Many, after graduation, decide to live in Austin or start families here, which means Austin has many young families as well. 

 

 

 CULTURAL HOLDOVERS FROM THE 60's: Austin has a history of, for lack of a better word, "hippie" culture. Whole Foods, a now well-known health food store, was started by two entrepreneurs from Austin.  The company's largest store (80,000 square feet) is smack-dab in the middle of downtown Austin. Of all the counties in Texas, Austin's county of Travis one barton springs real estateof the few "blue" counties, politically (though Austin is home to a wide variety of views). In Austin, it's easy to find resources for holistic health, alternative spirituality, and natural childbirth. Hippie Hollow, a popular sunbathing and swimming spot on Lake Travis, is a "clothing-optional" park. Environmental groups in Austin help to protect Austin's natural resources, such as the Greenbelt and Barton Springs.

 

 

 

 

CAPITAL CITY: Being the capital of the state of Texas, Austin is home to many leaders, such as the Governor and Legislature, and houses the state Capitol Building.  This is an awesome place to take the family on a pretty day.  You can feed the squirrels, pigeons, and enjoy the parklike grounds of the Capitol itself.  The interior of the Capitol is open to the public, and makes for a fun outing for all ages. 

CELEBRITIES (maybe you can be one, too): In my recent article, Do you wanna be in pictures? Maybe Austin, Texas is the place for you! , I detail the fact that Austin is one of the most desirable and most used locations for movies in the country.  Also, there is a very large studio called Villa Muse under development (estimated $3 billion investment) which promises to change the face of Austin. 

 

Like any larger city, Austin is a very diverse community with people from every walk of life. The above are just a few of the things that give Austin its flavor.  What are you waiting for?  Come join us in beautiful Austin, Texas! 

If you are interested in moving to Austin to pursue your dreams, please feel free to call or email me anytime.  I would love the opportunity to help you find the right home or investment property.  I can be reached at 512-796-7653 (cell) or jason@austintexashomes.com.  I look forward to hearing from you!

Copyright 2007   Austin Real Estate   Jason Crouch    All rights reserved

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If you're looking for a home in the Austin area, you can also visit my primary website at www.austintexashomes.com.  Thanks!

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Jason Crouch
Austin Texas Homes, LLC - Austin, TX
Broker - Austin Texas Real Estate (512-796-7653)
SUZANNE - Austin is a terrific place to live.  I was born and raised in Dallas, but I have lived here almost 20 years now.  I live in Pflugerville (Blackhawk).  Thanks for stopping by to comment on this one.  I appreciate it.
Nov 12, 2007 04:03 AM #62
Rainmaker
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Val Rensink
HomeSource Lamoreaux Group - Victorville, CA
I visited Austion with a Keller Williams Event a few months ago. thanks for the info. It really helps me understand Austin so much better.
Dec 25, 2007 04:34 PM #63
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Jason Crouch
Austin Texas Homes, LLC - Austin, TX
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VAL - Keller Williams' main HQ office is less than a mile from our office.  Glad you liked this post!  Have a very happy 2008!
Dec 27, 2007 07:35 AM #64
Rainmaker
164,819
Kristina Clayton~
PC Homes Residential Real Estate - Edgewood, WA
"Where Commitment and Possibilities Meet"

I have been kicking it around for some time now, I love the culture and of course the sunshine! what about bugs? I know sounds kinda silly but in the PNW we do not have much that crawl around and pester us, occasional spider but I have heard there might be some rather large creatures running about, is this true?

I can handle the affordable homes, hippies, and opportunities...

Jan 15, 2008 12:20 PM #65
Rainmaker
1,228,983
Alan Kirkpatrick
Austin Texas Homes - Round Rock, TX
Alan in Austin

Jason:

Great localism post. You keep getting better and better. Glad to have the opportunity to hang out. Have a blessed day.

Jan 16, 2008 06:35 AM #66
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Jason Crouch
Austin Texas Homes, LLC - Austin, TX
Broker - Austin Texas Real Estate (512-796-7653)

KRISY - I somehow missed your comment before.  I don't really have to deal with insects very often.  I suppose they are around - I just don't really see them.  However, I am not big on camping, etc.  What have you heard about?

ALAN - Thanks, man.  Talk to you soon -

Jan 20, 2008 01:40 PM #67
Rainer
179,163
Kathy Passarette
Creative Home Expressions - Mount Sinai, NY
L.I. Staging/Decorating
Jason ~ You managed to get quite a bit of information into this post.  I also liked the links to the homes available with the price ranges; apparently you can get quite a bit of house for your money in Austin, Texas (as compared to here on Long Island). 
Jan 26, 2008 03:40 AM #68
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Jason Crouch
Austin Texas Homes, LLC - Austin, TX
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KATHY - Yes, this one took a bit of time to put together.  Thanks for taking a look at it.  From speaking with Adam, I know a lot more about Long Island pricing, and it is certainly a lot of "bang for the buck" here.  I hope you are having a great weekend!
Jan 26, 2008 03:57 AM #69
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Margaret Woda
Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc. - Crofton, MD
Maryland Real Estate & Military Relocation
Jason, what a great intro to Austin for anyone visiting or relocating.  Great job!
Jan 27, 2008 10:07 PM #70
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Jason Crouch
Austin Texas Homes, LLC - Austin, TX
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MARGARET - Thanks!  This one did take some time to put together.  I think it turned out well, too!  Have a great week!
Jan 28, 2008 06:42 PM #71
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Jesse & Kathy Clifton
Jesse Clifton & Associates, REALTORS® - Fairbanks, AK
Retired
Hi, Jason - What a great localism post.  Now, as for it getting hot in Austin. The last time I was in Austin was darn near a lifetime ago... and we must have hit it on just the right day because it was hotter than... well, it was hot and we had just left Mississippi, which was also hot.  That is one thing we don't miss about the south.
Jan 28, 2008 09:22 PM #72
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Jason Crouch
Austin Texas Homes, LLC - Austin, TX
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JESSE - Thanks!  It certainly does get hot here, but not as hot as other areas of the country.  If you don't like heat, Mississippi must have been tough, too.  Have a great week!
Jan 29, 2008 01:48 AM #73
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Jesse & Kathy Clifton
Jesse Clifton & Associates, REALTORS® - Fairbanks, AK
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It was mid August... and pure torture.  Thank heavens for air conditioning!  
Jan 29, 2008 03:44 AM #74
Rainmaker
145,922
Arizona Real Estate Associate Broker
MR Realty - Mesa, AZ
Jason - More and more when I read your localism posts, your luring me there! If I could move today, I know it would be in your area! I know it's pretty, seen it, I know it's one of the fastest growing, read it. I have experienced, by witness of your posts! Excellent post and extremely informative. Why wouldn't anyone want to live in Austin? That's the question I am left with.
Feb 06, 2008 03:37 AM #75
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Jason Crouch
Austin Texas Homes, LLC - Austin, TX
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JESSE - Absolutely.  I get people who ask me if homes have A/C here, and I laugh.  I can't really imagine not having A/C at all.

CANDI - Come on down!  I would hire you in a heartbeat.

Feb 06, 2008 03:57 AM #76
Rainer
35,877
Maui Real Estate - Lisa B. Miller R(S)
Keller Williams Realty Maui - Kihei, HI
Wow, Jason, good job on the post!  You make me want to move there and I live on Maui!  I used to live in TX (Del Rio, Sherman, and Arlington) when I was a little kid, but Austin sounds a lot nicer.  It's hard to find great places to live that are affordable, but Austin sounds like one of them!
Feb 11, 2008 12:01 PM #77
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Jason Crouch
Austin Texas Homes, LLC - Austin, TX
Broker - Austin Texas Real Estate (512-796-7653)

LISA - I somehow overlooked your comment until just now.  Thanks for your compliment!  Austin is a great and affordable place to live.  Have a great weekend!

Feb 14, 2008 10:14 AM #78
Anonymous
kerri

How about traffic? Good or Bad? Compared to cities like Denver, Seattle, Portland, LA, St. Louis? Just wondering if the freeways are good, or make it hard to get around. How long is a long commute? Have the roads been kept up to date as the community grows?

Jun 08, 2008 07:54 AM #79
Anonymous
Ginger

Jason,  I have lived in Austin for three years now and I absolutely love it! I have lived in many different places  including Pennsylvania, Florida, California, and Colorado. Never have I seen such natural beauty and wonderful people as I have in Austin. I actually live in the Lago Vista area and prices are very affordable in this area. You can actually buy a nice piece of wooded land (5 acres plus) for very little and build a nice custom home. I love it here for all the great reasons you list in your write up and just want to add the Lake Travis area as being a rare and beautiful gem. I always wanted to live in the Hill Country and often would visit the real estate websites when I lived in Florida. I was in total awe of the beauty of this area not to mention the great prices on homes. I finally got my wish and bought my country home near Lake Travis and am very happy. I would never move from this area. It is still small town enough and comfortable but the nightlife of downtown is less than an hour away. It doesn't get any better than the Hill Country of Austin. I loved your write up! Thanks!

Aug 16, 2008 11:58 AM #80
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Jason Crouch
Austin Texas Homes, LLC - Austin, TX
Broker - Austin Texas Real Estate (512-796-7653)

Ginger - I appreciate you taking the time to comment on this post of mine.  This is one of my all-time favorites, especially since it involved more time and work than most of them.  I have been here for 20 years now (originally from Dallas), and I love this area, too!  Let me know if you ever need any real estate help, or if you know anyone looking to buy or sell a home in Austin.

Aug 16, 2008 12:54 PM #81
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