Why So Many People Want to Call Austin Home

So, you’re thinking of moving to Austin…

You’re not alone. It’s estimated that some 110 people move to Austin every day, and a lot of the out of state influx is coming from California. Many newcomers to Austin come seeking an escape from the rat race of cities like Los Angeles, New York and Chicago. Here, life is a little simpler (and cheaper), but still offers abundant career opportunities plus a dose of culture. In fact, there are a lot of really good reasons to move to the capital city.

It’s Not Like the Rest of the State

From dress to politics, Austin is a far cry from what you'll find in the rest of the state.
From dress to politics, Austin is a far cry from what you’ll find in the rest of the state.

While the majority of Texas does figuratively bleed red, if you think that all Texans are conservatives decked out in cowboy hats and boots, think again. In Austin, boots are just worn as a fashion statement, and a good portion of the city leans pretty far to the left. In fact, Austinites consistently vote contrary to the rest of the state on pretty much everything. This could explain the large number of Californians that have made their way to Austin in the recent years. Politics aside, Austinites are also far more laid back than their counterparts in other metro areas like Houston or Dallas. While dressing to the nines is still protocol in those cities, Austinites prefer to dress casually for all occasions and maintain a less high maintenance lifestyle.

It’s Cheap to Live Here

Though native Austinites can’t believe the price of Austin real estate these days, relatively speaking, it’s still pretty inexpensive to live here. The median home value is now just over $300K. By comparison, the median home price in Los Angeles is almost double that, while homes in San Francisco list for a median price of $1.1 million. With prices so much lower than other major metro areas, it’s no wonder that people moving here from out of state are known for sweeping in with cash offers. Low housing prices means that raising a family here is completely doable for most.

Compared to other parts of the country, commute times in Austin aren't quite as bad. Flickr user Matthew Rutledge.
Compared to other parts of the country, commute times in Austin aren’t quite as bad. Flickr user Matthew Rutledge.

It Has Better Commuting Times

While Austin does have its fair share of gridlock traffic, it’s still better than trying to commute in L.A. or New York. Compared to NYC, where the average commute one-way is 35 minutes or L.A. where the San Bernardino, where the one-way commute is 30 minutes, the average commute times in Austin don’t rank among the worst. During rush hour, those living in the suburbs of Round Rock or Cedar Park might face commutes of up to an hour and 15 minutes to get downtown, while those living closer to city center only face commutes of up to 20 minutes. In Austin, a short commute is totally doable as long as you choose where you live very wisely.

It’s Got an Entrepreneurial Spirit

Austin is a huge hub for both technology companies and creative types, which could explain why there are so many new start-ups always popping up in the city. Owners of Moonraker Marketing, one of the best Austin SEO companies, love doing business as an Austin start-up. These marketers help other local entrepreneurs grow by implementing digital marketing strategies, and say there are plenty of reasons that Austin is a great place to be an entrepreneur. In comparison to Silicon Valley, real estate is cheaper, taxes are less burdensome, and the state offers incentives to business start-ups. Plus, Austin has a laid back culture, plenty of venture funding, and lots of resources for budding entrepreneurs. It’s the perfect place to start and grow a business, which is exactly what so many companies, like Main Street Hub, HomeAway, RetailMeNot, and others, have done.

It’s Always Entertaining

Don’t let the small town friendly vibe fool you, there are always a ton of things to do after work in Austin.  If music is your thing, then the Live Music Capital of the World won’t disappoint. There is live entertainment 7 nights a week at a variety of venues, including free concerts at the airport. In addition to country music, there is lots of indie, jazz, blues, and rock, too. You can find music at intimate clubs and larger acts over at ACL Moody Theater or Stubb’s.

In Austin, there's entertainment just about everywhere you look. From the cowboy strumming his guitar on a downtown corner, to huge music festivals in Zilker Park. Photo by Flickr user James Loesch.
In Austin, there’s entertainment just about everywhere you look. From the cowboy strumming his guitar on a downtown corner, to huge music festivals in Zilker Park. Photo by Flickr user James Loesch.

Art and theater have huge followings here too, there are many New York artists heading for Austin because of the availability of affordable studio space and the opportunities present here.  There are plenty of live theater productions to go see or to participate in if you have theatrical aspirations.

It’s Easy to Stay in Shape

If you’re a fitness buff, then Austin is the perfect place to live. On a given day, you can join the throngs of runners circling around the 10-mile loop on Town Lake, or book a class at one of the city’s hottest gyms. Here, almost everyone has a workout routine, whether it’s going to a boot camp in the park, paddling down the Colorado River, attending a free yoga class at Whole Foods or taking a hike in the greenbelt. It’s no wonder this metro consistently ranks among the fittest cities in the country.

In Austin, it's easy to find a way to stay in shape. For motivation, sign up for one of the fun runs or marathons the city hosts. Photo from Flickr user Roger Mommaerts.
In Austin, it’s easy to find a way to stay in shape. For motivation, sign up for one of the fun runs or marathons the city hosts. Photo from Flickr user Roger Mommaerts.
What to Know About the 5 Biggest Cities in Texas

Texas has a long and rich history – The Alamo, Jim Bowie and the Civil War have all played a part in making Texas what it is today. A great place to live, work, and raise a family, people from all over the U.S. are moving here in droves. Thanks to the population influx, Texas boasts three of the 10 largest cities in the U.S. In case you’re contemplating a move to Texas, here’s what to know about the 5 biggest cities in Texas:

1. Houston

The largest city in Texas, more than 2 million residents call Houston home. The city was named after the former US Senator and Governor of Tennessee, Sam Houston, who is a central figure in the history of the state. Houston caused more than his share of dissent among locals – a rebellious streak that led to the epic Battle of the Alamo and, eventually, to the independence of Texas. Houston is in Harris County and its location along the muggy Gulf Coast leaves many a Houstonian wondering how to tame their hair. In addition to being a major hub for oil & gas, shipping transport, and exceptional medical care, this busy city is also home to MLB’s Houston Astros and the NFL’s Houston Texans.

Houston is the most populous city in Texas, and the 3rd largest city nationwide.
Houston is the most populous city in Texas, and the 4th largest city nationwide.

2. San Antonio

The home of the Alamo is the second largest city in the state. Here, you can visit the site where locals faced off against Santa Anna’s troops in the pivotal battle for independence, or take a stroll on the famed River Walk. San Antonio is shopper’s heaven, with some incredible shopping and entertainment. You can also catch the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs playing here.

3. Dallas

With more than a million residents, Dallas is considered one of the fastest growing cities in the US. Even though the city is still young compared to some other North American cities, it has already marked its place in the history books. Dallas was the location of one of the saddest moments in modern US history, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. On a much lighter note, Dallas natives are BIG sports fans and the city plays home to both the Dallas Cowboys, the Mavericks, and the Stars.

4. Austin

Founded in 1839 as the capital of the Texas Republic, the city was named after founder Stephen F. Austin. The capital city sits at 4th place with almost 800,000 residents, and that number is growing daily. Austin really stands alone among the cities in Texas. This left-leaning city lives by the motto “Keep Austin Weird” and it as a thriving arts and culture community. Music is also dear to the heart of the residents of Austin, and the city sees so many musical acts come through every year, that it is known as the Live Music Capital of the World. The city has also been dubbed the Silicon Valley of the South because of its thriving technology and entrepreneurial scene. Austin wears many hats and wears them proudly.

Austin's skyline seems to have a new building every week, growing as the city swells with new residents.
Austin’s skyline seems to have a new building every week, growing as the city swells with new residents.

5. Fort Worth

Forth Worth holds the title of the fifth largest city in the state and it is located in Tarrant County. The more than 700,000 residents are divided up into three districts… the cultural, stockyard and Sundance square. Fort Worth is the place to be if you’re a country music fan and want to see the world’s biggest honky tonk, Billy Bob’s Texas. It’s like a Texas cliché come to life.

 

sunset-over-killeen

The last few years since I’ve retired, I’ve been wandering around the state looking for a second home inland so I can be closer to relatives in Dallas and Austin. I think I may have finally found the perfect spot: Killeen. This town doesn’t conjure up images of particular quaintness or beauty, but I think it could just be the perfect spot for me. It’s in a fabulous location, just an hour outside of bustling Austin and 2 hours away from Dallas. Though best known as a military town because of its proximity to the army base of Fort Hood, Killeen actually has a lot going for it. Here are some reasons that moving to Killeen is a great idea for me and may be for you as well!:

1. Low Cost of Living

For me, living in Austin isn’t really an option, because rents and homes there over the last 5 years have climbed sky high. In Killeen, however, the cost of living is quite low, on average falling 13 percent below the national rate. Purchasing a house here is feasible because the housing costs are 22 percent lower than the average American city! The median home price is just $116,400.

Killeen is also home to Fort Hood, one of the largest military bases in the world.
Killeen is also home to Fort Hood, one of the largest military bases in the world.

2. Great School Options

Parents are often concerned what kind of education they can expect for their children when they move to a new city. I’m primarily concerned with a quality school system for resale value. Killeen doesn’t lack when it comes to schools; the Killeen Independent School District has 33 elementary schools, 13 middle schools, and 12 high schools. Additionally, there are over 20 well-respected private schools for families who prefer going that route.

3. Close to Many Hospitals

Health is important and access to medical care increasingly important as I continue to age. Killeen has over 20 hospitals nearby, including the top-notch Scott & White Memorial Hospital in nearby Temple and Veteran’s Affairs Hospitals in Temple and Waco. Here, there is no reason to worry about finding adequate healthcare.

4. Mild Climate

If you aren’t a fan of the snow and ice, Killeen may be the perfect spot for you. With a year-round average temperature of 65 degrees, it rarely dips below freezing in this Central Texas town. While there have been some extreme record highs peaking in the 100s, on average summer temperatures spike in the upper 90s, while in winter months the temperatures hover in the 40s and 50s.

Killeen, like the rest of Central Texas, has warm temperatures most of the year, making it a great place to spend time outside.
Killeen, like the rest of Central Texas, has warm temperatures most of the year, making it a great place to spend time outside.

5. Lots to Do

Besides the great climate and good schools, there is lots to do in this city. Killeen movers, Apple Moving (find on Facebook or Twitter) has a whole list of fun ideas for affordable entertainment in the Killeen area. They’ve compiled this list as part of a welcome package for the many families they help relocate to the nearby base at Fort Hood. Here are a few of the highlights:

6. Outdoor Fun

For those like me who enjoy time outdoors, the area has two lakes, Belton Lake and Stillhouse Hollow Lake, both of which offer some of the finest spots to cast a line. Visitors can also boat, swim, or camp around the two lakes. Adventurous types enjoy Killeen’s 3-mile bike path or go hiking on one of the many area trails. Golfers will be happy to know there are two 18-hole courses in-town to keep their golf skills sharp.

If you find yourself moving to Killeen, there are many reasons to love your new home. No matter if you’re completing a military move or just retiring to a new place, Killeen, Texas, is a great fit for people of all ages and interests.