So long, Silicon Valley

Study computes Austin as top affordable city for tech workers

Study computes Austin as top affordable city for tech workers

East Austin HEB tech hub workers H-E-B
Austin is one of only two Texas cities on the list. Photo courtesy of H-E-B

The tech mecca of Silicon Valley has become the victim of its own success. Although home prices around San Jose, California, have tumbled recently, they remain among the highest in the country. The median home price there hovers close to $1 million.

As a result, many tech workers are fleeing Silicon Valley and its equally expensive northern neighbor, San Francisco, in search of lucrative jobs and affordable housing. They’re landing in places like Austin, which ranks No. 6 in a new Realtor.com study pinpointing the top U.S. 10 cities where tech workers can afford to live. Dallas, the only other Texas city on the list, outranks Austin, coming in at No. 2.

“While Silicon Valley will continue to be the tech industry’s epicenter, other secondary markets are now providing not only incredible job opportunities, but the opportunity to build a life as well as a career,” David Armendariz, general manager of the technology division at recruiting firm Lucas Group, tells Realtor.com.

For the study, Realtor.com examined the 500 largest U.S. metro areas and ranked them according to five factors:

  • Number of employees in the tech sector
  • Number of publicly traded tech companies
  • Percentage of job listings in the tech sector
  • Average salaries for tech jobs
  • Median list price for homes

Realtor.com weeded out spots where median home prices surpassed $400,000, but the site recorded prices back in April, just one month before the Capital City officially crossed that threshold and set a new record at $407,400.

On September 17, the Austin Board of Realtors revealed the median home price in the city ticked downward in August to $400,500, a decrease from the $410,000 median price record set in July 2019. Austin's median home price is listed at $369,998 in the study.

Highlighting our status as a “mini-Silicon Valley,” the study points out that the Austin area now boasts the fifth largest share of IT jobs in the country, thanks to major employers like Amazon, Apple, Dell, and IBM. The website says Austin’s other draws include SXSW, indie bands, and breakfast tacos.

Dallas, with a median home price of $349,950, captures second place in the ranking, behind Huntsville, Alabama.

“While our house prices have been climbing, it’s still a very affordable market compared to the West Coast,” Ted Wilson, principal at Residential Strategies in Dallas, tells Realtor.com.

Aside from the below-$400,000 median home price, Realtor.com cites Dallas’ expanding tech workforce and a median tech salary of $84,614, as well as the presence of the country’s largest arts district.