Austin: America’s Boom Town

“Austin envy” is what Forbes Magazine dubs it — the hip atmosphere that makes America’s fastest-growing city a “national epicenter of aspiration.”

“People are moving to Austin in record numbers,” says Shannon Schmitz, a top Austin realtor and luxury home specialist. “Our current sales reflect the surge in demand: we’re getting multiple offers for new home listings, on their first day on the market.”

Even Jim and Pam, the fictional couple from the TV series “The Office,” jumped on the bandwagon and chose Austin’s hip, progressive way of life. Their move echoes the city’s real-life accolades:

  •     America’s fastest-growing city, three years in a row (Forbes)
  •     Best place to start a small business (Business Journals)
  •     Most popular city for college graduates (Brookings Institution)
  •     USA’s next biggest boom town (Forbes)
  •     #1 among the nation’s Ten Best Cities for the Next Decade (Kiplinger Finance)
  •     #2 among Best Cities for Families (Parenting.com)
  •     #2 among the Top 10 Cities People are Moving To (The Fiscal Times)

In addition, Austin is the nation’s second best real estate market to invest in, according to an analysis by Realtor.com., which reviewed housing inventory, job rates and pricing trends for 146 markets nationwide.

The city welcomes about 170 new Austinites every day. “Our research shows the most frequent migrations are from within Texas, and then from southern California,” she says. “People are moving to Austin for its strong business climate, the abundant live music and cultural vibe, and the city’s reputation for innovation and diversity."

Homes for sale in popular areas of Greater Austin, such as Lake Pointe, are averaging three offers on the first day they’re listed, Schmitz says. “We’re setting all-time records for Keller Williams’ Southwest Market Center,” she says. “Our May closings of $171 million are up 47 percent from last year and our listings taken volume is up 122 percent.” Homes averaged 14 days on the market in May 2013 vs. 28 days last year.

The highest home value increases, Schmitz says, are in the Central Austin/Shoalwood area — prized for its walkability, easy access to downtown and blue-ribbon schools (Highland Park Elementary).

Luxury home sales are also on the rise, Schmitz says, noting an average selling price of $715,000 and an average of just 13 days on the market in May 2013, vs. 25 days last year.

Austin officials project the city’s population will grow from 824,205 in 2012 to 1.09 million by 2030. The Greater Austin Metro Area, which includes five counties, is the fastest growing metro area in the nation among those with 1 million+ residents.

When working with Austin newcomers, Schmitz says her goal is to quickly orient them to Austin’s neighborhoods, schools and relaxed lifestyle. “We take them to at least 5-8 neighborhoods,” she says. “We like to show potential residents a few houses in each area, and give them a feel for Austin’s gorgeous natural beauty and desirable quality of life,” she says.

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