Many Austin, Texas, residents know Hyde Park, Clarksville, East Austin and areas within the 78704 ZIP code have some of the most sought-after addresses in the city. But by cruising only these pricey, low-inventory communities, many homebuyers might miss out on the more affordable, off-the-beaten-path neighborhoods with potential that are just a couple streets down.
"These up-and-coming neighborhoods are changing and selling quickly; I would get in now," says Carrie Bills, owner and broker of Green Mango Real Estate. "You want to get the cheapest property in the best location, and you can't lose getting a good price in an inner city neighborhood."
We asked a few of Austin's top real estate agents, as listed by real estate technology company OpenHouse Realty (a U.S. News partner), to give homebuyers the inside scoop on some Austin neighborhoods that are worth looking into.
[Read: A First-Time Buyer's Guide to Austin.]
Westgate/South Manchaca. Directly below Austin's top ZIP code, south of Highway 290 and east of Highway 1/MoPac, is 78745, which includes the Westgate and South Manchaca neighborhoods. "All the areas on the other side of 78704 are up and coming. You're getting twice as much bang for your buck, and you're still getting close to top areas," says Anthony Gibson, owner and senior buyer specialist at Austin Properties Group/Keller Williams Realty.
If you're looking to be close to downtown Austin but don't want to pay a fortune, this area might be the right fit. Central Market gourmet grocer, local restaurants, parks and entertainment are right around the corner, and prices stick near $350,000 for a single-family home. "Some of the best buys are in South Austin with big lots, trees and ranch-style houses. You get a lot for your money, and you're within 15 minutes of downtown," Bills says.
Allandale/Crestview/Wooten. Bordering the edge of walkable areas -- and just north of prime neighborhoods Hyde Park, Rosedale and Shoalmont -- are the Allandale, Crestview and Wooten communities that comprise 78757. Here, you're still within the central corridor, but you get much more square footage for your dollar. Single-family homes in this area average between $350,000 and $450,000, and are close to the MetroRail, restaurants, grocery stores and North Cross Mall.
Like in Westgate/South Manchaca, homes in 78757 are near downtown's restaurants, nightlife and jobs. According to Bills, people love these neighborhoods, which offer excellent buying opportunities that are still pretty close to all the action.
The Domain. Sitting within 78758, The Domain is north of North Burnet and Highway 183, and east of Highway 1, with copious restaurants, stores and job opportunities in the area. "It's growing very, very fast because the mall has restaurants and bars and everything that downtown has, so people who have been north don't have to come downtown for that entertainment," Gibson explains.
Whole Foods grocery, Topgolf and the Walnut Creek Greenbelt surround this spot, along with top technology companies like IBM, National Instruments and Amazon. Single-family homes here are still a little bit cheaper than in the rest of the up-and-coming Austin neighborhoods, at an average of $300,000 to $350,000.
Windsor Park. East of Highway 35, south of Highway 290 and resting right above Mueller, is the trending neighborhood of Windsor Park. "It's still transitioning so you get a lot more for your buck. It does support older homes with smaller square footage, but you're not paying an arm and a leg yet, and you're still within 15 minutes of downtown," Gibson says.
This neighborhood, which resides in the 78723 ZIP code, is near the MetroRail, H-E-B grocery, shops and parks, and single-family homes range from $350,000 to $400,000.
Northwest Austin. "A lot of sales are happening in the north area, especially in Avery Ranch and Highland Horizon," says Sijo Vadakkan, broker and owner of Trinity Texas Realty. Northwest Austin, or 78717, sits north of Highway 45, east of Highway 183 and Cedar Park, and west of Highway 35 and Round Rock.
Families looking for high-quality schools, a community feel and nearby IT job opportunities should think about Northwest Austin, where homes average from $350,000 to $550,000. Shops and restaurants are also within a short drive. Vadakkan says the prices are higher in this area due to the prime location, while lot sizes are on the smaller side.
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