Moving to Austin – Frequently asked questions

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It is estimated that around 169 people (including children) move to Austin on an average making Austin the fastest growing metro region in the country for nine straight years, from 2010.
Are you planning to move too to Austin? Here are some frequently asked questions and answers.

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What’s the weather like in Austin?

The summers in Austin are blazing hot; winters are short, chilly and breezy and the city is somewhat cloudy year round. The hot season is from June to September, which is about 4 months and the hottest period is in August with an average temperature of 97℉. The winters are from end November to February, which is about three months and the month of January is the coolest period with an average low of 43℉.
Rainfall occurs throughout the year with a maximum concentration during the month of May.

How is the cost of Living in Austin like?

Austin is a rapidly growing city. Since the last decade migration has exponentially increased. The city is accommodating its diverse population very well. What is really interesting about this city is that there are both high-priced as well as affordable neighborhoods. Neighborhoods such as Hyde Park, Zilker and Downtown are the areas where you would find a home for an average value of $658,000. Neighborhoods such as Arrowhead ranch, Goodnight ranch and Northridge park are ideal for first time home buyers.

That was just about the cost of buying a home. When you compare the price of groceries you would find Austin is cheaper than other cities in the country. Also, a key reason for affordable cost of living is that there is no state tax in the state of Texas.

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What are the main areas of Austin ?

Downtown Austin : It is the heart of the city with constant buzz and hustle around it. A place where people come to dine and enjoy live music. Well known restaurants, happening sixth street, bustling bars are the major attractions . You will love to call Downtown Austin your home if you are a person who loves to spend time outdoors or if you consider yourself a city lad. Average house rent in Downtown Austin will be $2300.

North Austin: Locality which is not far away from Downtown but at the same time much calmer than the main city area. Breweries, bars, restaurants and vintage shops are what one would explore around here. The area is relatively affordable and hence a preferred neighborhood to live. The average rent here would approximately be $1500.

East Austin: It is one of the fast growing areas of Austin. It is the city’s trendiest, most diverse and offers a balance of culture, arts and rich history. East Austin is pretty close to Downtown and highway I35. The average rent in East Austin is about $1700.

West Austin: It is the countryside with breathtaking views, gorgeous rolling hills and homes with Victorian construction. It is a wealthy reputable area which is a peaceful escape from the buzz of the city. The average rent around West Austin is $2200.

South Austin: It’s a mix of old school and new, trendy establishments. The streets are generally crowded but you will never be short of fun things to do here. Prices of homes and apartments are expensive but still this is where everyone prefers to live. The average rent around this area is $1300.

Quality of Schools in Austin ?

One of the major reasons to move to Austin for the majority who have moved are the great schools in the city and suburbs. There are more than 700 schools in Austin.  Austin’s growth has had a substantial effect on education. Public schools have doubled in number to accommodate more students.According to Money Magazine, Austin is among “Top 10 Best Big Cities” in its best place to live ranking on the basis of family income, home pricing, schools and job growth. The city is ranked as one of the best to relocate by the Worldwide Employee Relocation Council and one of the major factors is great schools.

Is Austin Racist?

Austin is a pretty effective melting pot. Austin has never zoned like most cities do, what you find is the population (and shops catering to neighborhood demographics) vary wildly from block to block, more than you would see in most places. In the city there isn’t much in the way of ethnically-concentrated neighborhoods – no Chinatown or Little Mexico – because it’s fairly well-mixed throughout the city. While “white” (whatever that really means) is still the largest demographic group, it’s by no means a profound majority. The city is very liberal and progressive and the chances of encountering racism in your normal daily life is negligible to nil.

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How common is it to buy a brand new home in Austin?

Austin is a growing city with a recent inflow of population hence it is simultaneously developing to accommodate everyone. Unlike other cities in the country, here, you would find a lot more brand new homes at a relatively lesser price. As mentioned above the cost of living is very reasonable (three percent below the national average).

Its strong economy is one of the main elements boosting the local real estate market. The median list price per square foot in Austin city limits is $232, which is higher than the Austin-Round rock metro average of $159.

Is it hard to find a job in Austin?

Austin is emerging as a hot destination for job seekers because it has a mix of large companies, start-ups and government jobs. Large companies would include Dell, Google, IBM, HP, General Motors, Visa, Apple, Oracle, 3M, Cisco Systems, Accenture etc.

Austin was also slackly called silicon hills because of a concentration of semiconductor manufacturing companies like AMD, Intel, Applied Materials, Freescale, Samsung, Flextronics, Cirrus Logic etc. Finally, as Austin is the state capital there are many government offices in the city which opens up many more opportunities.

Does one have to worry about allergies before moving to Austin?

Austin is notorious for its allergies. It is considered to be the “Allergy Capital of the World” because there are at least three different allergy seasons. The city has cedar trees, mold, cottonwood, oak, ragweed, ash, pine, mulberry, elm and other native flora that emit pollen, which is what usually people are allergic to. Each seems to pick a different time of the year to do it, so for most of the year, there’s something blowing around that might cause you an allergic reaction.

In the Fall, ragweed and other weeds release pollen from mid August to early November. In the Spring, Oak and other trees like Ash, Elm and Pecan pollinate from February to early June. Grasses pollinate from March through September. If you have a strong personal or family history of allergies, do proper research and consult your doctor before making the move.

What are the few wild animals you would encounter living in Austin?

Austin is a recently developed area hence wildlife is going to take a while to move out of there. It is not very uncommon to encounter a snake, deer, tarantulas and ring tailed cat which are native to this area. Recently, there was a case of a mountain lion spotted in Leander subdivision. These animals will generally avoid contact with humans unless they are threatened, so now we know what not to do.

Bees, spiders and scorpions can also be visitors to your Austin home. And the most important thing to understand is we need to adapt and live with them being around us especially in a time like this where the worry is will nature give up on us. All these animals are of great help to us as directly or indirectly. Just to quote an example, snakes maintain the rodent population in the area and such are other animals. It is common to see snakes in your backyard a few times in a year and slowly you get used to it.

What’s with keeping Austin weird?

In 2000, Red Wassinich, a Austin Community College Librarian, phoned into KOOP Radio’s “The Lounge Show” to donate money. When asked why he was donating, Wassenich said, “I don’t know. It helps keep Austin weird.” A phrase was coined and then co-opted by the Austin Independent Business Alliance to encourage people to buy local. When one goes to NYC, you see Starbucks, McDonalds and a host of other things that aren’t exactly “weird”.

Really rich people live in Manhattan and London and although there are street vendors selling trinkets and random “I <3 NY” T-shirts, it is all made in China and does nothing to boost the local artist community. Also, the local Austin culture is influenced by the hippie culture of the 60’s and intellectuals of the University of Texas. There is a sense of solidarity, awkwardness and quirks are cherished, community roots for underdog-culture and of course filled with dreamy abstract thinkers.

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  1. We recently moved to Austin precisely why we didn’t know much about this city. This blog is very informative and helped us in understanding the city better. Thank you. 🙂