The #1 Top Place to Live in the USA (U.S. News and World Reports). The #1 Top Place in the World for Tech (Savills). The #1 Best Place for Veterans to Live (WalletHub). These are but a few of the many, many accolades Austin has racked up in just the last few years, and all that praise has helped make the city a veeeeerrrryyyy popular place.
Migration to Austin has skyrocketed over the last decade; according to MagnifyMoney, “60% of the city’s current residents moved here since 2010.” That increase in population has put pressure on housing, resulting in diminishing inventory and skyrocketing home prices. Yet, still they come. At a rate of nearly 150 people per day!
So what makes Austin so ideal? We’re breaking it down.
Austin has the fastest job growth in the nation (+40% since 2006),” according to MagnifyMoney, along with “relatively lower living costs than tech centers like the San Francisco Bay Area and Seattle, along with a combination of satellite offices of larger tech companies, a burgeoning startup scene and no state income tax.”
The city has been called “the next Silicon Valley” and is even referred to as “Silicon Hills” thanks to the many tech and tech-related companies in the area. They include:
• Cisco Systems
The city’s motto, “Keep Austin weird,” originated as a promotion for the Austin Independent Business Alliance’s small local businesses in the city, and stuck. Today, it’s representative of a culture that remains a little hippy, a little creative, a little more evolved, and decidedly more liberal than much of the rest of the state of Texas.
“The creative, collaborative hub still feels like a small town,” said Culture Trip. “Street art, local fashion and jewelry designers, art galleries, and studio walks – Austin is a community that values art and working together. In fact, Austin was ranked the number one place in the U.S. to start a business by CNBC in 2016. Though nearly every chain imaginable is available, Austin runs on small businesses, meaning it’s possible to eat, shop, and explore for months before stopping by a chain store or restaurant. Food, fitness, and clothing brands join forces most weekends with ample flea markets, farmer’s markets, and pop-ups to attend.”
An abundance of events and activities
There is always something to do here, from hanging out in Zilker Park to checking out the live music scene. Events like SXSW in March, the Austin Food & Wine Festival in late April, and Austin City Limits in October draw more attention—and more visitors who then become residents—to the city.
“This ever-expanding city is the epicenter of oak-smoked barbecue and the greasy foothold of Tex-Mex fare,” said Eater. “While longtime restaurants keep a close eye on the surprisingly abundant bounty the hot climate provides, new restaurants just keep coming due to Austin’s relatively reasonable cost of doing business. This guide cuts through all the noise out there, delivering you straight to the heart of an incredibly exciting dining and drinking scene.”
Plenty of housing
“There are two things that drive population growth — jobs and affordable housing,” said Medium. “Austin has both…and although housing prices and property values in the city proper continue to rise, cheap land and little regulations in surrounding areas make it easy for developers to build large scale projects quickly. For the past few years, Austin’s home sales hit a record high according to the Austin Board of Realtors, with little signs of stopping.”
Despite the aggressive rise in home prices over the last decade-plus—up 54% since 2006!—homebuyers still enjoy appreciation in their homes thanks to the popularity of the city. According to Zillow, Austin’s current median home value is $365,600. “Values have gone up 7.6% over the past year and Zillow predicts they will rise 3.6% within the next year.”