12 best Austin neighborhoods to buy a house right now
It can be challenging to keep pace with Austin’s quickly evolving real estate market. We spoke with local real estate experts for insider tips on what neighborhoods are hot now, and which ones are on the upswing and appreciating in value.
“There’s a big learning curve, even for natives. It’s changing rapidly for sure,” says Mark Strüb, founder of Strüb Residential. Here are 12 neighborhoods that buyers should look into now:
South Austin — 78745
“78745 is on fire,” says Christy Dixon, owner/broker of HomesATX. “Investors are buying them and flipping them and making a decent profit.” Creede Fitch, realtor at Skout Real Estate, concurs that South Austin, particularly Sunset Valley and Sweetbriar, are popular markets with good value. “Just south of [Highway] 71, you see more ‘60s, ‘70s homes [that are] a bit more funky. They lend themselves a little bit better to midcentury modern [style]. That’s definitely sort of a sweet spot for style,” Fitch notes.
Circle C Ranch — 78739
Buyers gravitate to Circle C for its convenient 15-minute drive to downtown, its proximity to school districts — including Kiker Elementary, Gorzycki Middle School, and Bowie High School, and its wide-ranging prices. Due to low inventory, home prices in Circle C have appreciated by about $100,000 since 2013, and Dixon expects that trend to continue. “There are homes ranging from $300,000-$900,000, and at this time, like within the last 90 days, we’ve had 102 homes sold, and we’ve only got 19 active. So, on a regular basis, we are competing with multiple offers,” she says.
Ridgeview — 78737
Buyers shouldn’t overlook Circle C’s neighbor: Ridgeview. “Because it’s a smaller neighborhood, it’s not really on the radar yet. I think you’ll continue to see a lot of appreciation,” Dixon says. “The other thing this neighborhood has that Circle C doesn’t is a lower tax rate. It’s one of the few that’s under 2 percent taxes.” Price tags hover a little over half a million. “$430,000 is the lowest I’ve seen anything sell for, and the highest is $650,000,” Dixon says.
This North Central Austin neighborhood offers good schools, a nice park, and public pool, “plus a bit of a small-town or village-type experience. You’re close enough in and proximal to great bars and restaurants without being totally in the frying pan,” Strüb says.
University Hills — 78723
Situated in Northeast Austin, above the Mueller neighborhood, University Hills is a smart buy. Remodeled homes are still selling in the $300,000s for reasonable sizes, roughly 1,600 to 1,800 square feet, Fitch says. “What I really like about this area is the topography. It’s pretty hilly with old-growth trees. The neighborhood was developed in the ‘60s and ‘70s, so it’s more stacked stone, limestone ranches that really lend themselves well to midcentury modern,” Fitch says.
Highland — 78752
Strüb considers Highland one of the most affordable ‘hoods in Central Austin. “The main driver is new development in the area, including the conversion from Highland Mall to the new ACC mega-campus and the coming soon 99 Market,” Strüb says. “There are two light rail stops nearby, as well as some trendy restaurants.”
East Riverside — 78741
“[This is] a really good get-in-ahead-of-the-curve type of area. And because of the development in South Shore and the extension of the hike and bike trail, it’s become much more livable than it used to be. The thing that’s going to be the game-changer is the new Oracle Campus being built,” Strüb says.
“Two or three years ago, you could see homes in that neighborhood in the $300,000s; now they’re all in the $400,000s,” Fitch says. “Like Travis Heights, I think [East Riverside offers] a scenario where they’re all going to be in the $500,000s, $600,000s soon. There’s a huge commercial corridor and businesses there. It tends to be a little bit seedy still, depending on where you’re at. East Austin was like that five years ago, or even less than that. So I think there’s a lot of potential there.”
"Deep" East Austin — 78721
“Deep East Austin I still think has a lot of potential for growth,” Fitch says. “Deep East Austin is definitely one of those neighborhoods where you buy the crummy old house for $250,000, right next to the new construction for $500,000.”
Downtown — 78701
David Shapiro, realtor for Maxavenue, specializes in downtown Austin and anticipates continued demand, growth, and appreciating prices for the Seaholm District and Rainey Street. “There’s a lot of new development coming to Rainey Street over the next five years. This neighborhood is going to continue to change and to add amenities,” Shapiro says.
Strüb sees a lot of demand in the Central Business District. “I like to introduce my buyers to under-the-radar gems that tend to have more of a commodity and a boutique neighborhood feel, because they aren’t one of these massive high-rise buildings with eight floors of parking to contend with. I like to talk to my clients about buildings like Austin City Lofts, Brown Building, Brazos Lofts, and even The Railyard — things that have been here longer,” Strüb says.
Terra Colinas — 78738
In West Austin, Terra Colinas is a nice alternative to the Lakeway area, where homes generally start at $500,000, and often run a million and above. “The thing I like about this neighborhood is it’s all new construction, and it’s in an affordable price point,” Dixon says. “It ranges from $300,000 to $600,000, and David Weekley [Homes] is one of the builders. They build a beautiful home.”
Highland Park West — 78731
“In the upper end, the 78731 area is becoming a rival and alternative to the more traditional Tarrytown 78703 type of luxury. Definitely 78731 is where you’re going to start finding more and more seven-figure homes through renovation, remodeling, and tear-down. Three of the homes on the 2016 AIA Austin Homes Tour were in this area — the Mount Bonnell area, in this beautiful hilly side of Austin right by Camp Mabry,” Strüb says.
Spanish Oaks — 78738
This luxury homes community, off Highway 71 and Southwest Parkway, covers 900 acres, offering about an acre or more per lot. A unique perk of Spanish Oaks is its man-made fish camp. “If a buyer came to me and said they had a heavier budget between a million and three or four million, Spanish Oaks is the neighborhood to be in,” Dixon says.