Austin has been honored on yet another national list this week, having been named the #1 city on Forbes' latest list of "Best Bargain Cities".
I took a close look at the data they used in calculating the top rankings. As always, they analyzed the 50 largest U.S. metro statistical areas for the study. Here are the primary data points used:
- Average salary for workers with a bachelor's degree or higher (from PayScale.com)
- Annual unemployment statistics (Bureau of Labor Statistics)
- Cost of living (Moody's Economy.com)
- Housing Opportunity Index (from NAHB & Wells Fargo) - measures affordability at median income
Not surprisingly, Austin earned high marks across the board.
The article cites the fact that Austin has three big marks in its favor:
- University town
- State capital
- Technology center
With those factors alone, Austin maintains a very healthy economy, bucking the national trend. As I have often mentioned to my clients, there was never a real estate bubble here to pop in the first place, because prices increased at moderate levels during the biggest growth years. Part of this stems from the fact that there is still ample land for development in almost every direction outside the city.
Austin ranked #3 for the cost of living index provided in the article, and we also boast the very lowest unemployment rate among the cities included in the study. Rounding out the top five "best bargains" were Phoenix, Washington DC, Fort Worth, and Cincinnati/Indianapolis (tied for fifth).
Since 1997, I have specialized in helping home buyers who are relocating to the general Austin area. If you are looking to make a move in our direction, or if you need more information, please feel free to contact me anytime. I would love the chance to help. I can be reached anytime at 512-796-7653 (cell) or by email at email@example.com.
I have also gathered some previous posts of mine which you may find helpful as you are making decisions: