As Austin grows, the prospect of home ownership may seem unattainable. However, with Austin boundaries blurring and interest rates hovering at or around an attractive 3.5 percent, there are more opportunities than ever for locals to find a new home.
But, as Realty Austin’s Tom Thornton notes, while the market in Austin remains busy, more homes are taking longer to sell. “As pricing rises, buyers are becoming a bit pickier about what they purchase, so home staging, painting, and updates are often required,” he says.
Other than fixtures and family-friendly locations, just what piques the interest of the first-time buyers? We polled some of Austin’s real estate wizards on where people are likely to hang their hats these days.
Just two miles from downtown Dripping Springs, Arrowhead Ranch is a gem for those looking to head west from Austin. With rolling hills, scenic creeks, and breathtaking views, Dripping Springs is great for first-time buyers “who want a new construction home at an affordable price,” says Kim Wolle of Realty Austin. “With prices starting in the low $300s with no M.U.D. tax, which can significantly increase the monthly payment, it’s an attractive option.”
In Southeast Austin, those looking to put down some roots in an up-and-coming master planned community need look no further than the 700-acre Goodnight Ranch, which boasts easy downtown access, three-mile trail, community pools, pocket parks, and even an annual neighborhood festival. “Reminiscent of the early Mueller development, this South Austin community offers various move-up options as households need more space,” says Justin Rourke with Ascension Realty Group. Prices from the high $200s and up.
South Austin isn’t the only place where builders are creating community living. In North Austin, KB Builders’ Northridge Park offers convenient access to major employers like Apple, Samsung, Dell, and more. Plus, with easy commuter access to 183 and 290, it’s a can’t-miss for those looking to stay north of the river. But that’s not all to look for up north, says Laurel Seymour with All City Real Estate. “If you are willing to push to the northeast side of the city limits where the school boundaries shift to Manor ISD, then there are several other new build communities with options under $300,000, like Fairview Heights, Pioneer Crossing, Bellingham Meadows, and Parker Station," she says.
With the South Austin boom that’s currently underway, the 78745 and 78748 ZIP codes continue to be highly sought after by first-time homebuyers. Boasting great schools, close proximity to downtown, and all the conveniences of suburban living, it’s a no-brainer why buyers are flocking this way. John Martin of Ascension Realty Group sees a lot of buyers looking to this area. “With the St. Elmo development, this area is a hot commodity, with some inventory coming in at less than $350K.”
Once a concert venue, this South Austin community truly boasts all the comforts a homeowner would need, with a huge shopping center anchoring the area and offering residents convenience beyond measure. Plus, with a location not far from downtown and reasonable pricing, it’s no surprise this has risen in popularity. “With first-time buyers over the past year, I've seen increased interest in this area due to value and the rising number of shops and services in the area,” says Thornton.