Austin: Perfectly Located in The Heart of Texas

Austin: Perfectly Located in The Heart of Texas

Austin Texas inspires fierce hometown dedication for its’ natural living, interesting people, quality of life, stellar educational opportunities, and thriving business community. Austin regularly appears at the top of best cities lists, including: second best citiy to find a job (Ajilon Professional Staffing, 2011); among the top 20 strongest-performing metro areas (Brookings Institution, 2011); the second-highest well-being of any metro area with more than 1 million residents (Gallup- Healthways Well-Being Index, 2011); the “third-biggest brain magnet“ (Fortune, 2011); fourth best city to “live, work and make movies” (MovieMaker magazine); and “best American cities to live and work.” (Business Review USA, 2011).

WATERLOO: THE ORIGINAL AUSTIN

Originally settled by Indians, Austin’s first village was Waterloo – and it’s the one that was chosen to become the state’s capital of the new Republic of Texas. The city was later named after Stephen F. Austin, “the father of Texas,” and its founders’ vision included a state capitol building that would look down from a hill over the city. Texas was annexed in 1845, and the State Capitol was built in 1888 – on a hill, with stunning views of the city.

The city grew throughout the 19th century and became a center for government and education with the construction of the Texas State Capitol and the University of Texas. After a lull in growth from the Great Depression, Austin Texas resumed its development into a major city in the 1980s and emerged as a center for technology and business.

Built as a result of the largest barter transactions in history (the builders got 3 million acres in the Texas Panhandle, which later became the XIT Ranch – the largest cattle ranch in the world), the Texas State Capitol is one of the state’s most popular attractions with more than 1 million visitors each year. Built from limestone and pink granite from nearby Marble Falls in the same architectural style as the nation’s Capitol, it’s actually taller than its distant D.C. sibling by seven feet – making it the largest state capital in the U.S.

AUSTIN TEXAS DEMOGRAPHICS

Austin Texas is the fourth-largest city in Texas and the 14th most populous city in the United States with a population of 790,390 (according to the 2010 U.S. Census). Austin was the third-fastest-growing large city in the nation from 2000 to 2006. The city is the cultural and economic center of the Austin–Round Rock–San Marcos metropolitan area, which has a population of over 1,716,291 (2010 U.S. Census), making it the 35th-largest metropolitan area in the United States.

Residents of Austin Texas are known as “Austinites”. They include a diverse mix of government employees (e.g., university faculty & staff, law enforcement, political staffers); foreign and domestic college students; musicians; high-tech workers; blue-collar workers and businesspeople. According to the 2010 Census, the racial composition of Austin is:

  • Anglo (Non-Hispanic White): 48.7%
  • Hispanic or Latino: 35.1%
  • African American: 7.7%
  • Asian: 6.3%
  • Other: 2.2%

There are 354,241 housing units with an owner occupancy rate of 45.1% and a vacancy rate of 8.3%. Of the 324,892 households, 28.5% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 38.1% are married couples living together, 6.4% have a female householder with no husband present, and 48.1% are non-families. The average household size is 2.37 and the average family size is 3.14. In the city the population is spread out with 22.2% under the age of 18, 14.5% from 18 to 24, 35.5% from 25 to 44, 20.8% from 45 to 64, and 7.0% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 31 years. Males make up 50.57% of the population, and females 49.43%.

The median income for a household is $50,132, and the median income for a family is $62,153. 18.4% of the population are below the poverty line. The median house price is $198,083, and it has increased every year since 2003.

BUSINESS IS BOOMING IN AUSTIN TEXAS

Austin Texas is the largest component of the Austin Round Rock MSA, which had a Gross Domestic Product of $86 billion in 2010. Austin is considered to be a major center for high tech with thousands of graduates each year from the engineering and computer science programs at The University of Texas at Austin providing a steady source of employees that help to fuel Austin’s technology and defense industry sectors.

Austin Texas is home to many companies, high-tech and otherwise: Fortune 500 corporations Freescale Semiconductor, Forestar Group, and Whole Foods Market, are headquartered here; AMD, Apple, Broadcom, Google, IBM, Intel, Qualcomm, ShoreTel, Synopsys and Texas Instruments have prominent regional offices here. Also Dell’s Worldwide Headquarters is located in nearby Round Rock, a suburb of Austin Texas.

Austin’s largest employers include the Austin Independent School District, the City of Austin, Dell, the U.S. Federal Government, Freescale Semiconductor (spun off from Motorola in 2004), IBM, St. David’s Healthcare Partnership, Seton Family of Hospitals, the State of Texas, Texas State University–San Marcos, and The University of Texas. Other high-tech companies with operations in Austin Texas include Nvidia, 3M, Hewlett-Packard, Google, Applied Materials, Cirrus Logic, Cisco Systems, eBay/PayPal, Bioware, Blizzard Entertainment, Hoover’s, National Instruments, Samsung Group, Buffalo Technology, Silicon Laboratories, Oracle Corporation, Hostgator, and United Devices. In 2010, Facebook accepted a grant to build a downtown office that could bring as many as 200 jobs to the city. (For more information on top employers chack out Austin Relocation Guide top 25 Employers.)

The proliferation of technology companies has led to the region’s nickname, “the Silicon Hills”, and spurred development that greatly expanded the city. The concentration of high-tech companies has led the former American Airlines flight between Austin Texas and San Jose, California to be dubbed the “nerd bird.”

Austin Texas is also emerging as a hub for pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies; the city is home to about 85 of them. The city was ranked by the Milken Institute as the No.12 biotech and life science center in the United States. In addition to national and global corporations, Austin features a strong network of independent, unique, locally-owned firms and organizations.

Austin-area employers added about 5,600 jobs in August, sending unemployment rate down to 7.3 percent. Statewide, the unemployment rate is 8.5 percent. Nationally, is it 9.1 percent. Austin’s August rate remained essentially the same as last year despite the metro area’s 12-month gain of 15,500 new jobs, or a two percent annual growth rate. In August 2010, the metro unemployment rate stood at 7.2 percent. Workforce Solutions Executive Director Alan Miller said it’s still a positive job picture.Austin Business Journal, Sep 16, 2011
   

AUSTIN ENJOYS A GROWING JOB MARKET

Let’s face it, people want to live in Austin Texas. So much in fact, that when University of Texas students graduate, they often stay, making the available workforce well-educated and, of course, younger than average. College grads love going to bars, eating out at restaurants, going to concerts, and having plenty of outdoors activities, all of which Austin supplies. Combine that with a lower cost of living and a wide range of employers, and you can see why no one wants to leave. Young, happy and smart — that’s three things that businesses like in their employees– making Austin Texas an ideal place for companies to set up shop. Richard Florida even used Austin as a major example in his bestseller book, “The Rise of the Creative Class,” which talks about communities that thrive when the “creative class” (those who create for a living, which he includes among others as engineers, software developers, as well as the more obvious designers, artists and architects) is well taken care of. One of the most common questions asked on local chat boards is “What is the job market like in Austin Texas?

  • Forbes ranked Austin Texas #3 in its Best Cities for Jobs in 2008
  • The US Bureau of Labor Statistics ranked us as 3rd lowest unemployment rate among the top 50 largest metros
  • Bureau of Labor and statistics lists the unemployment rate for September 2011 as 7.3%, compared to 8.5% for the rest of Texas, and 9.1% for the US.
  • Austin’s ability to weather financial storms is attributed to it’s diverse employment opportunities. Major sectors include technology, health care, business sectors, education, government and entertainment.

EDUCATION IN AUSTIN TEXAS

Education has always been a central concern for Austin residents, but that could be because the city’s such an educated town. With scores of national accolades and strong community support, Austin’s a win-win proposition for education.

Forbes has designated Austin Texas as one of the U.S.’s biggest “brain magnet” cities – the result of the magazine’s analysis of the 50 largest metropolitan areas and ranking them by gains in those with college educations compared to the population over 25 years of age between 2007 and 2009. Austin Texas was one of the top cities with gains, scoring high marks all around.

CNN Money has named Austin Texas sixth in its America’s Smartest Cities (2010) list, and Kiplinger’s Personal Finance included UT Austin on its 2011 list as one of the “best values in public education.” And the Austin Independent School District outperformed many of the nation’s schools in science, according to results of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) – where Austin ISD fourth and eighth-graders did better in science than other urban districts across the nation. For more detailed information about Austin Education, click the bars below, or visit Austin Relocation Guide’s Education Website.

HIGHER EDUCATION (Click to View)
Austin is home to The University of Texas at Austin, the flagship institution of The University of Texas System with over 38,000 undergraduate students and 12,000 graduate students. In 2010, the university was ranked 45th among “National Universities” (13th among public universities) by U.S. News and World Report. UT has annual research expenditures of over $640 million and has the highest-ranked business, engineering, and law programs of any university in the state of Texas.

Other institutions of higher learning in Austin Texas include St. Edward’s University, Austin Community College, Concordia University, Huston-Tillotson University, the Seminary of the Southwest, the Acton School of Business, Austin Graduate School of Theology, Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, Virginia College’s Austin Campus, The Art Institute of Austin, Austin Conservatory and a branch of Park University.

PUBLIC PRIMARY & SECONDARY EDUCATION (Click to View)
Highly rated elementary and secondary schools contribute to both quality of life and the beginnings of exceptional labor pools to come. Austin area households enjoy diverse options in education, including 29 public school districts, 17 charter schools and 69 private schools.

Most of the city is served by the Austin Independent School District. This district includes notable schools such as the magnet Liberal Arts and Science Academy, which, by test scores, has always been within the top thirty high schools in the nation. Some parts of Austin Texas are served by other districts, including Round Rock, Pflugerville, Leander, Manor, Del Valle, Lake Travis, Hays, and Eanes ISDs.

Four of the metro’s major public school systems, representing 54% of area enrollment, are included in Expansion Management magazine’s latest annual education quality ratings of nearly 2,800 school districts nationwide.

Two districts—Eanes and Round Rock—are rated “gold medal”, the highest of the magazine’s cost-performance categories.

PRIVATE EDUCATION (Click to View)
Private and alternative education institutions for children in preschool-12th grade include Regents School of Austin, Redeemer Lutheran School, Garza (public), Austin Discovery School (public charter), Austin Jewish Academy, the Waldorf schools, The Griffin School, The Khabele School, Concordia Academy, St. Ignatius Martyr Catholic School, San Juan Diego Catholic High School, Brentwood Christian School, St. Austin Catholic School, St. Stephen’s Episcopal School, St. Mary’s, St. Theresa’s, St. Michael’s Catholic Academy, Saint Gabriel’s Catholic School, St. Andrew’s Episcopal School, St. Francis Episcopal School, Saint Paul Lutheran School, Trinity Episcopal School, Huntington-Surrey, Cleaview Sudbury School, The Inside Outside School, ACE Academy, Paragon Preparatory Middle School, Austin International School, The Progress School and a number of Montessori schools.
ALTERNATIVE EDUCATION (Click to View)
Along with vibrant homeschooling & “unschooling” communities, Austin is home to a number of part-time learning environments designed to offer basic academics and inspired mentoring. Such current resources include the Whole Life Learning Center & AHB Community School.

Austin Texas is also home to numerous child developmental institutions including the Center for Autism and Related Disorders, the Central Texas Autism Center, Autism Early Learning Center, Johnson Center for Child Health and Development and many more.

HOUSING IN AUSTIN TEXAS

Finding a place to live is one of the most exciting experiences a newcomer to the Austin area can have. After all, Forbes has rated Austin Texas as the top city for economic growth among the country’s largest 100 metros. Top reasons for the honor include the city’s status as a tech hub, close proximity to universities, thriving arts and entertainment scene, affordable housing, and a growing population.

With the help of a real estate professional and a little research, those new to the area can find a great home or rental in one of the Austin area’s many diverse neighborhoods and enclaves in no time!

The housing market in Austin Texas is thriving and is still an excellent investment opportunity for homeowners. Most homes on the Austin market are single-family homes, garden homes, condominiums and zero-lot line homes built on individual lots with surveyed and plotted boundaries.

The downtown Austin market has become flush with high rise lofts downtown and in the University of Texas campus area, making them good investments for students, young professionals and empty-nesters.

For detailed information on the numerous housing markets and neighborhoods around Austin, visit the Austin Relocation Guide’s Housing and Neighborhoods website, or order your copy of the current edition of the Austin Relocation Guide.

THRIVING MARKET, DIVERSE OPTIONS (View)
Buyers want more options, and Austin homebuilders have responded by building more townhomes, garden homes and condos to accommodate those desires.

Find garden homes, zero lot line homes and condominiums in heavily populated areas like Round Rock, Cedar Park, downtown and south Austin. Find duplexes throughout the city, usually sprinkled throughout a development in to maximize development versus higher property costs. The inner city loft and condo developments have become also more popular as the warehouse district has rejuvenated downtown, especially for those relocated from larger cities like Chicago and New York, where they live in the same building they office out of, or don’t care about a yard or living in an isolated format. Lofts in the downtown and West Campus areas have also become viable options for students attending the University of Texas at Austin.

URBAN LIVING: AUSTIN’S DOWNTOWN EXPLOSION (View)
It’s hard not to love all that’s great about downtown Austin Texas – so it doesn’t come as much of a surprise that there’s been a lot more activity when it comes to downtown real estate. After all, downtowns all over the country are the place to be, and it’s easy to understand why. They are often the epicenters of culture and creativity, of hipness and newness, and vibrant with possibilities for the future of a city.

Austin Texas is no exception. The city’s downtown offers a vibrant lifestyle and is an exciting alternative to single-family homes in more traditional, suburban neighborhoods. This kind of “Austin-style” urban living means residents have easy access to all the city has to offer: a thriving entertainment district; the best in music, arts and film; fabulous restaurants; great bars; and a plethora of outdoor activities around Lady Bird Lake. From low-rise condos dotting the shores of the lake to high-rise loft living, there’s no doubt that the perks to living downtown can’t be beat.

NOT READY TO BUY? CONSIDER RENTING (View)
If you’re new to the area, living in corporate housing or renting in the community area is a great idea – and a great opportunity to discover areas of town before you decide to buy.

An excellent source for finding out the intricacies of renting property in Texas is the Austin Tenants Council. The ATC’s counseling line at 474-1961 is open only for Travis County residents, however, the organization’s website (www.housing-rights.org) has valuable Texas property code details and tenant/landlord information and forms for residents of surrounding counties. No matter what you decide, those new to the Austin and Central Texas area will soon discover just how much the city has to offer when it comes to housing, neighborhoods, amenities, options, and much more.

Comments are closed.