Your Expert Guide
Lake Austin waterfront: Austin's most recession-proof — and gorgeous — area to buy a home
There are so many great places to live in Austin that it helps to have an expert on your side. The Neighborhood Guide presented by Kuper Sotheby's International Realty gives you insider access from the agents who live and work there, providing in-the-know info about your possible new community.
Bridget Ramey is a water baby at heart. The real estate agent grew up in Rockport, Texas, jet-skiing in the ocean, spent most of her time at UT Austin on a boat, and has even fished for piranhas in the Amazon River.
So naturally she loves helping clients find their new homes along Lake Austin, the sparkling, serene retreat just outside of downtown.
"From a seller’s agent perspective, it comes organically to be able to sell something that my own heart is so drawn to," she says.
Ramey sold her first home on Lake Austin 14 years ago, and admits that while living on the lake comes at a steep price point, she loves that enjoying this body of water is free to all.
"The sheer beauty and tranquility of Lake Austin is hard to describe until you experience it for yourself," she says. "It's this incredible piece of nature and yet so close to town. I am swept away by the magic of the lake, reminiscent of another country, perhaps in another time. I do not live on the lake now, but did at one time and I loved being able to wake up to sunrises and coffee on the water, and in the evenings, watching the serenity of the lake fade away into nature."
The people-watching is also extraordinary, she notes, as you're usually seeing "people’s true joy always on display."
"The lake is similar to how I describe Austin itself," she says. "There is such a sense of grandeur and yet no pretentiousness, so many people gathered together with different backgrounds and yet everyone seamlessly integrated and accepting of others."
Many of Ramey's buyers are second home owners, and she believes there is simply no better area to offer them than Lake Austin.
Ramey offered up a few more of her personal favorites about life along the Lake Austin waterfront. Here's her guide to the area:
Where to eat & drink
From the Hula Hut, where you can get the finest in Hawaiian-themed Tex-Mex, to the charming Mozart’s, where you can sip coffee and work with a spectacular view, the lake has something to offer everyone.
Ramey also enthusiastically recommends Ski Shores, where "not only can you get one of the best margaritas in town, you can indulge in lobster rolls, pickleball, and live music, what Austin is most known for."
Insider tip: "Some don’t realize that you can also travel by boat to enjoy County Line BBQ!"
Where to play
"Truly, everywhere!" Ramey laughs. "The lake is your playground, and there are so many nooks and crannies to make it your own."
Lake Austin is 22 miles long, and Ramey says many people never venture all the way down to where it ends at Mansfield Dam. Because Lake Austin is fed from the outflow of Lake Travis, this is coldest and clearest spot of the lake, and rarely do you see another boat. "On the hottest of summer days, the explosion of cold is exhilarating," Ramey says.
Emma Long Park is also available for families to camp in, and enjoy the beachfront access to the lake.
What to see
The Pennybacker Bridge is an Austin icon, and Ramey says that "traveling underneath can be surreal."
Where to live
"Many people believe that Lake Austin is one of the most recession proof areas in America," says Ramey. "There simply are not that many parcels of land, and there certainly isn’t the opportunity to create more waterfront."
She explains that many of the homes are part of an estate and are traded down generationally, resulting in an array of architectural styles along the waterfront.
"This is part of the fun in touring homes by boat," she says. "Around each corner is a surprise and delight! You might find a mega-mansion next to a darling bungalow, next to a nature preserve."
One of Ramey's most significant sales is a true Lake Austin treasure: The Crown Jewel of Lake Austin, which Ramey says was "the first true trophy property to grace our market, and it will always remain as one of the most premier homes on the lake."
The original owner of the Crown Jewel accumulated three parcels of land, totaling almost six acres with 500 feet of waterfront, a huge property considering the typically smaller parcels of land in the area.
In addition, there are multiple structures within the double-gated estate, including tennis courts, a helipad, and a putting green, all creating a true compound. Ramey says that the new owner has taken it to the next level by adding a sand volleyball court.
Some of Austin's most magnificent homes can be found along the Lake Austin waterfront, and Ramey has been connected to many of them. She received multiple offers for the Italian Escape of Lake Austin, a one-of-a-kind property reminiscent of a historical Italian hotel, and sold The Retreat on Lake Austin and then The Sanctuary on Lake Austin twice in one year.
First Ramey represented the Sanctuary's buyer, and then became the listing agent when the owner decided to sell the stunning gated property that sits on more than 1.5 acres on 537 feet of waterfront.
As for active listings, Ramey recently debuted the lake's most expensive property, The Legacy of Lake Austin, priced at $50 million.
Bridget Ramey works and plays along the Lake Austin waterfront. For more information on buying and selling a home in the area, visit www.bridgetramey.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 512.796.2602.