Moving to Austin
Are you moving to Austin? As the 4th largest Texas city, Austin is considered one of the best places in the US to move to, based on cost of living, housing and amenities, amongst other factors. It has a very favourable business climate, with more and more large companies moving their headquarters here and many smaller companies being formed here.
Our free, in-depth Moving to Austin report includes info on:
• The best places to live
• Average monthly rental prices
• The variety of activities
• Details of the excellent schooling system
Putting Austin on the Map
Austin is the capital of the State of Texas and of Travis County. Located where the Colorado River crosses the Balcones Escarpment, it is about 80 miles northeast of San Antonio.
In terms of traffic, Austin is as congested as Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York. The Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority, or Capital Metro, offers services including the following:
- Night Owl
- University of Texas Shuttles
These systems serve central, east and south Austin, along with parts of the northwest neighbourhoods. The routes roughly radiate out from the city centre. In general, though, public transport in Austin is not great. The further you are from the city centre, the more sporadic the services.
In 2014 the fleet of buses was exchanged with MetroRapid vehicles, which are more spacious than their predecessors, they include WiFi and extra air-conditioning and run on low-emission diesel engines. They can also keep a traffic light green for longer to allow catch-up when they are running late, without disrupting the synchronisation of the traffic lights. The Metrobus service includes more than 80 bus routes along with the intercity buses servicing the metro area, while Metrorail has a 32-mile railway line and is supplemented by Amtrak services. There are currently 20 Park and Ride centres throughout the city and suburbs.
Walking and cycling are on the increase as commuter options but, despite the 35 miles of cycle lanes, only 3% of commuters choose to self-propel!
However, Texans love to drive, hence the massive congestion. The State Highway 130 has a speed limit of 85 miles per hour, the highest speed limit in the western hemisphere.
Austin-Bergstrom International Airport is 11.5 miles outside the city, with about 300 flights arriving and departing daily. The Metro bus is the only public transport option available to the city.
Austin is less expensive than most parts of the country but is experiencing a rise in apartment rentals, along with the additional costs for cable TV, Internet, utilities, insurance and trash collection.
Round Rock is the largest Austin neighbourhood and ranks as the 8th best city in the US for “Living the American Dream”. This bedroom community is 15 miles north of Austin in the Hill Country. It has great schools and parks, with its Independent School District nominated as one of the top school districts in the US. It is also home to major high-tech companies such as Dell, Dresser, TECO-Westinghouse and Hospira. Comprehensive health services are provided to the expanding Williamson County community by the Round Rock Medical Centre, including The Heart Centre, The Women’s Centre and an ER. Massive developments, such as Parkside at Mayfield Ranch, offer a superb standard of living with two swimming pools, a community park and a network of trails. This safe area allows many school kids to walk or cycle to school.
Five Austin neighbourhoods were listed in the top 50 American communities.
ROSEDALE AT NUMBER 21
This older residential area is north west of the city, with older, modest homes dating back to the 30’s and 40’s and some newer builds. There are shops and restaurants in and around the outer sections. The caring residents take an active part in the community, maintaining the historic charm of the district with its tennis courts, sports fields, swimming pool, play areas and tree-lined streets.
Public transport is ample and the motorway is nearby. The University of Texas and the downtown are close by.
ALLENDALE AT NUMBER 23
A quiet suburban area north of the city, the mostly one- and two-bedroom houses appeal to older people and young couples. It is close to Austin downtown with easy access to the local motorways. Residents tend to stay here for years, loving the close-knit community spirit, local shops and restaurants and good schools and parks.
OLD WEST AUSTIN AT NUMBER 32
Just north of Lady Bird Lake, west of downtown, Old West Austin is a historic neighbourhood dating back to the mid-1800s. This is a highly sought-after area for its convenient location and access to parks, local bike and hike trails, and the lake. Public transport is easily accessible but parking is impossible. The neighbourhood is one of the most sought-after to live in, because of its convenient location and access to many amenities. Tennis and basketball courts, picnic tables, a pool and a playground all feature in the nearby parks. And for the dog-mad Texans, an off-leash dog area is maintained by the local Canine Social Club. The downtown restaurants and shops are adjacent, but Old West Austin has its own fair share of entertainment.
DOWNTOWN AUSTIN AT NUMBER 39
The seat of the Texas state government, downtown is the hub of the city and offers the nightlife and entertainment and close proximity to work that appeals to young professionals and couples. Apartments and luxury condominiums are the norm.
Close to the famous Austin landmarks such as the famous Warehouse District and Sixth Street with live music and nightclubs, a variety of dining, shopping and entertainment options are surrounded by Texas businesses housed in tower blocks.
OLD ENFIELD AT NUMBER 42
Elegant homes, large parks, fantastic schools and a convenient location make this historic neighbourhood extremely popular. West of the University of Texas campus and north of the city centre, shopping and entertainment are on the doorstep, along with access to Highway 1 and Lamar Boulevard, offering easy access to other districts.
Don’t let its tranquil appearance fool you, this expensive and increasingly popular area is central to the city and all it offers. The eastern section is bordered by the Shoal Creek Greenbelt with a bike and hike trail, extending into Pease Park with grassy areas and playparks, and an open leash area for dogs. The accommodation ranges from condos and new constructions, ‘50s bungalows and colonial mansions dating back to the 1800s. Many distinguished Austin families live here, along with families and professional singles.
A classic, family-oriented suburban neighbourhood with well-cared-for homes and gardens, there is not much to offer in entertainment or nightlife. However, housing is inexpensive and commuting is easy by way of public transport or by car. It is just 20-minutes to the University of Texas and north Austin and there are shops and restaurants around the area, although mainly only retail stores and national chains. And despite it’s proximity to the interstate, this is a very quiet suburb.
The Best Bits
- Austin has around 36 parks and more than 200 green spaces, with lots of bike and hike trails and golf courses.
- There is a multitude of athletics groups and clubs catering to sports enthusiasts at all levels.
- The only clothing-optional park in Texas, Hippie Hollow, is in Austin.
- Richard Overton, the oldest person in Austin and the US, at 111 years of age, saw action in World War II in the South Pacific. As at 2014, at the age of 108 he still lived in the east Austin house which cost him $4,000 dollars in 1945, still drove his car and still mowed his own lawn.
- The famous Austin Moon Towers, which date back to 1894, were a revelation in their day. At 17,165’ high, they were so bright that many residents used umbrellas at night to protect their skins. The monolithic mercury vapour lamps were supposed to eliminate all night-time policing. It didn’t work. There are only 15 of these towers left in the world, all of them in Austin, and they are still in use.
- The Live Music Capital of the World, Austin is famous for its music scene. Starting off as a centre for the blues and country music, it now celebrates folk, rock, jazz and Latino music. The more than 100 live music venues are in downtown Austin around Sixth Street and the Warehouse District.
- Austin’s residents love their dogs, and there are many animal-friendly apartments available.
- Austin is the fittest city in the US.
- It is the 3rd best city for barbeques.
- It is illegal to have wire-cutters in your pocket in Austin. It is also illegal to shoot at bison from a second-storey hotel window – in the whole of Texas. Imagine that.
- Downtown, East Austin and West Campus are rated in the top 10 of the most walkable areas in the country.
- With over 24 public exhibits and museums, culture-vultures will be entertained for weeks.
Bringing the Kids
Austin is a smart city and ranks as the 6th most educated city in the U.S.
It is important to remember that public schooling system is run according to catchment areas, so it is vital that you live near your choice of school if you choose this kind of schooling. Public schools are free of fees.
Charter schools offer a higher standard of education and stick to the state curriculum but are mainly state-funded and Magnet schools offer a high standard of teaching and follow the International Baccalaureate.
The 2018 Best Rated Public Elementary Schools are:
The 2018 Best Rated Public High Schools in the Austin Area are:
Liberal Arts & Science Academy
Westlake High School
Westwood High School
Vandegrift High School
Cedar Park High School
Lake Travis High School
Private schooling is an option, the standard of education is better but it is costly. These schools are not area specific.
There are 98 private schools in Austin. The top-rated private schools include:
- Regents School of Austin
- Andrew’s Episcopal School
- Hyde Park Baptist Schools
- Brentwood Christian School
- Stephen’s Episcopal School
- Round Rock Christian Academy
- Holy Family Catholic School
Austin International School and the Magellan International School are the only ones of their kind in Austin. These are expensive and very suitable for short-stay expat children but many parents do not find it necessary with the great choice of good public schools.
The University of Texas was rated 1st in the country by a college website and has its main campus here. Dating back to 1881 has contributed to the city’s growth. Other universities and colleges include Huston-Tillotson, St Edwards, Concordia and Austin Community College.
Relocating to Austin
With an excellent supply of high-quality accommodation in great areas, fantastic schools and universities, a feast of music of all genres, the ballet, the theatre and museums and plenty of green spaces, Austin has everything but the ocean. But it has the river.
The educated workforce, low tax structure, availability of investment funds and collaborative spirit between the government, businesses, and universities add up to create a very business-friendly environment.
Choosing accommodation in the right area with the right school for the kids may prove difficult, along with lease negotiations and property checks. Using an experienced relocation expert will pave the way for a successful, stress-free move.
Average Monthly Rent - Austin
|Apartment (1 bedroom) in city centre||$1,689.29|
|Apartment (1 bedroom) outside of centre||$1,077.82|
|Apartment (3 bedrooms) in city centre||$2,893.97|
|Apartment (3 bedrooms) outside of centre||$1,845.00|