Real Estate Rumblings

These Austin neighborhoods rank among best in America for homebuyers

4 Austin neighborhoods rank among best in America for homebuyers

AIA Austin Homes Tour 2014 Brian Dillard Architecture
Four Austin neighborhoods rank on the national Redfin report due to affordability, walkability, and quality of schools. Photo by Andrea Calo Photography

We’ve all heard the naysayers complaining about the lack of affordable housing options in Austin. However, in a new report, Redfin has found some interesting information on our city’s neighborhoods that may surprise you.

The real estate brokerage firm found that only 14 percent of the country’s neighborhoods hit homebuyers’ top three demands — affordability, walkability, and highly ranked schools — and four of those ‘hoods are in Austin.

To determine the findings, Redfin ranked 170 balanced-mix and affordable neighborhoods by their walkability and schools scores and found that only 24 neighborhoods in the entire U.S. actually meet those common demands. In the top 10 is our own Rosedale neighborhood, ranked No. 6 nationally.

According to Redfin, this analysis confirms the old real estate strategy of buying the cheapest house on the best block. For homebuyers looking for those three key factors (affordability, highly rated schools, and walkability), Redfin suggests looking for the least expensive home in a neighborhood that has a mix of affordable and high-end homes. These types of mixed neighborhoods are three times more likely to be walkable and near highly rated schools than affordable communities.

Three other Austin neighborhoods meet the desirable standards, including Zilker (No. 12), Bouldin Creek (No. 20), and Highland (No. 22). All four of the Austin neighborhoods analyzed in the report are relatively close to downtown; have great parks, shops, and other businesses residents can easily access by walking; and have strong schools nearby.

This common trend in Austin of desiring city living without compromising quality of life is also taking hold across the U.S.

"The taste of the American family is shifting from sprawling far out McMansions to close in homes near urban amenities," says Redfin chief economist Nela Richardson. "Add affordable prices and highly ranked schools and you get homes every family wants but few can find. The upshot of our latest report is that these gems can be found in neighborhoods with a mix of housing types, where families across the income spectrum can live, work, and play together."

Houston is the only other Texas city that has a neighborhood on the Redfin list: The Westmoreland/Montrose area ranks nationally at No. 13. And at No. 1, University District in Seattle is the top neighborhood with its availability of affordable homes, high walk scores, and great schools rating.