Seven Reasons to Buy a Home in Austin

A spectacular view of the towers of Austin, Texas showing the different towers, a bridge, and a river.

The Austin,Texas, skyline remains an iconic sight in this bustling city.

In 2014 Austin topped Forbes’ list of America’s Fastest-Growing Cities — for the fourth year in a row.

Weighing in at a population of around 1,883,051 in 2013, Austin sported a growth rate of about 2.5 percent for the same year. So why are people rushing to the capital city of the Lone Star State — and why might you be the next in line?

We’ve got about seven guesses as to why you’ll want to buy a home in Austin.

1. Business

Austin’s economy is growing even faster than its population, at a growth rate of about 5.88 percent for 2013, so it’s no surprise that it weighs in at No. 2 on CNBC’s list of America’s Top States for Business.

In the Forbes article, Dave Porter, former senior vice president of economic development at the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce, cites some 307 businesses that had moved to Austin over the past nine years. With heavy involvement in the tech sector — including major brands such as IBM and AMD, as well as newcomers and startups — Austin is a hub for innovation and technological advancement, an industry that continues to generate job opportunity.

Other major industries in the Austin area include education and health, including pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, as well as municipal services and independent local firms.

2. Education

Home to some reputable universities across the state — and in some cases, even the nation — Austin is an intellectual college town. Most famous for the University of Texas at Austin (UT), a public research university with roughly 50,000 students, this city bleeds burnt orange and UT Longhorn pride. But the great educational opportunities don’t stop there, including private colleges such as St. Edward’s University and Concordia University and private colleges like Huston-Tillotson University.

Parents of young children will be glad to know that Texas has a great public education system, with a high school graduation rate of 88 percent, second only to Iowa.

3. Entertainment

You will not suffer for lack of entertainment in Austin, where a walk down the street can be just as entertaining as a Broadway show. From the colorful attire to the counterculture hair and makeup to the unapologetic crooner on the street, Austin is alive with interesting sights and sounds. From iconic graffiti art to the interesting local architecture offered by the likes of the Frost Bank Tower or The Long Center, exploring the city itself is just as exciting as exploring what it has to offer.

Known as the Live Music Capital of the World, Austin excels in the performing arts, boasting nightly concerts and shows at iconic venues like Austin Music Hall, Austin City Limits and Emo’s.

But it’s not all music in Austin, where athletics are well woven into the public conscience. Home to teams in almost every sport, Austin boasts a major league soccer team, the Austin Aztex, a professional hockey team, The Texas Stars, and award-winning college basketball, baseball and swimming teams. But as is true in so many Texas towns, football is king. The pageantry of UT football is unparalleled, including a roughly 350-person band and an 81-foot-by-136-foot Jumbotron, along with a legacy of Heisman Trophy and National Championship winners.

4. Keep Austin Weird

An unofficial city motto, “Keep Austin Weird,” was originally designed to promote and support small, independent local businesses. Since then, the slogan has expanded to include the unique lifestyle, shops, events and politics of Austin.

From the late Leslie Cochran, a cross-dressing homeless man who became a local celebrity, to famed actor Matthew McConaughey, who loves to wax philosophical; there are many Austin personalities who embody the spirit of keeping Austin weird.

Eclectic festivals and events fill the Austin calendar, including the Austin City Limits music festival, South by Southwest (a music, film and interactive conference), Eeyore’s Birthday (a non-profit fundraiser complete with “weird” costumes and drum circles) and Bat Fest (a celebration of the 1.5 million Mexican free-tailed bats that live under the Congress Avenue bridge, making it the largest urban bat colony in the North America).

Explore the iconic bars on Sixth Street (Austin’s answer to New Orlean’s Bourbon Street), the quirky shops on South Congress, indulge in a hamburger or sandwich on a donut at Gourdough’s and enjoy a comedy show at Esther’s Follies.

5. Nature Hot Spots

Some of Austin’s most charming assets are its numerous natural hot spots.

Prized watering hole Barton Springs covers three acres, fed from underground springs, for a natural swimming experience. Complete with diving boards and hillside lounging, this pool is the ideal way to cool off during hot Texas summers. Another great place for a refreshing swim is Hamilton Pool Preserve, a scenic swimming grotto, found in a canyon beneath a 50-foot waterfall.

Check out the hiking at Bull Creek, the Barton Creek Greenbelt or the dog-friendly Red Bud Isle. Play a game of Frisbee, volleyball or catch a yoga class at the beloved Zilker Park.

For stunning views, make a trip to the 360 Overlook, a large rock face that peers over the iconic 360 Bridge and shimmering waters of Lake Travis. Or, check out the views of Lake Austin from Mount Bonnell.

6. Fitness

Austin is an incredibly fit city. Regardless of the day, the time and even the weather, you’ll see joggers, walkers and bikers out on the town. In 2013, Austin ranked 11th for Fittest Cities in the Country by the American College of Sport Medicine. Austin also ranks 13th on Bicycling’s list of America’s Top 50 Bike-Friendly Cities.

Fitness gurus will want to check out The Butler Trail at Lady Bird Lake, more commonly known as Town Lake, a 10-mile looping trail that runs along the water and through the city.

Yogis will also find plenty of opportunity to practice in this city, with many donation-based classes offered at popular spots like Black Swan Yoga.

7. Real Estate

But for buyers relocating to Austin, don’t forget about the great real estate deals that can make buying a home a rewarding experience.

A 2012 report from names Austin as the 2nd Best Investment Market in the United States, while a recent Trulia report lists Austin at No. 5 on their list of The 10 Healthiest Metros for Housing in 2013.

There’s much to love about Austin. With its growing economy and more cutting-edge businesses cropping up, more exciting attractions are sure to come too. So, will you be the next resident of Austin?
Ashley Steel is a former SEO analyst for Builders Digital Experience. You can find her on Google+.

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