Austin is known as the Live Music Capital of the world, and there’s performances, festivals and record stores to delight every music lover. But Austin has so much more to offer; sunshine to last the whole year through, delicious food and a vibrant culture to go with it all. You’re probably wondering what it takes to live life in the capital of Texas, and we’re here to tell you just that.
From crunching figures about the cost of living and utility bills to a lowdown on the region, its weather and amenities, our relocation guide on moving to Austin checks all the boxes you may have. And yes, it also helps you figure out the best neighborhoods to live in the city. Read on to know more.
What Should I Know Before Moving to Austin?
Austin is a big city, growing at an ever increasing rate each year. It has an estimated 2020 population of 988,218, and is the 4th largest city in Texas. It is currently growing at an annual rate of 1.23%, and spans over 327 miles. Austin has a population density of 3,089 people per square mile. This city may be the capital of Texas, but it tends to stand out a fair bit from its surroundings. The liberal politics and the social diversity, the art scene and the trendy food fads, all of it combine to make Austin a multi-layered city. A city with each deeper layer revealing more and more how culturally rich it really is.
For one, you won’t find your stereotypical ‘Texas’ in here. While you can always go around listening to music and buying cowboy boots, you won’t see men in Stetsons and knee-high boots pacing the streets. Contrary to the Texan stereotypes, country music is far from the only music you can hear. There’s plenty of great bars and restaurants, with almost all having a live band belting out hits from the ‘80s and ‘90s.
Locals are warm and friendly, just like Southerners are known to be. They also like to head down to recreational parklands on the banks of the Colorado river to cool off when the heat gets a bit much to bear. A thriving Silicon hub helps with the cash flow, as do the eclectic stores and restaurants where you can spend some moolah.
Head out to explore the restaurants when you tire of dropping into the several record stores. When you want to attend an event, you can choose from the South By Southwest conference in March for film, music and media aficionados, the fun Eeyore’s Birthday in April, the Rodeo Austin and the Republic of Texas Bike Rally.
Sixth Street, locally known as Dirty Street, has a string of bars and music venues frequented by young guns and students in University. But that’s not your style, simply make your way to the slightly more upscale Rainey Street. One thing is guaranteed, no matter where you go, you’ll find liveliness, booze, music and good-natured fun.
Crime Rate in Austin
All of these great things can wave goodbye if Austin isn’t safe enough. We’ve gathered data on the safety in Austin, which includes figures for violent crimes and property crimes. The violent crime comparison to 1,000 residents is 3.91, lower than the national median of 4 by the smallest margin. The property crime comparison to 1,000 residents is 35.56, considerably higher than the national median of 24. This makes your chances of being a victim 1 in 28.
The silver lining (if there is one) is that property crimes, classified as burglary, larceny over fifty dollars, motor vehicle theft, and arson, are a lot less harmful than violent crimes like assault and murder. The overall crime rate in Austin is 39 per 1,000 residents, and though this seems like a lot, Austin is actually safer than most other cities its size.
Overall, Austin experiences a humid subtropical climate which means its summer is generally long and hot. Austin has plenty of sunshine, and apart from the soaring heat, the annual weather is quite moderate. Austin is especially great for those people who despise snowy winters and long rainy days at a stretch.
Summer season starts in June, and temperatures often average 90°F, peaking at around 100°F in July and August. Thunderstorms are a common occurrence, and often take place in the afternoons as a result of all the heat buildup. Fall brings some respite with cooler temperatures, averaging in the 70s. Nighttime temperatures drop to 50°F by November.
Winter season, beginning properly in December, is surprisingly chilly. High temperatures can reach into the mid-60s, while lows can dip into the 40s. A shower of rain is not uncommon. This cool weather goes on till February, after which spring season follows till June. The mercury remains low in spring, only climbing in the month of April.
March and April see a few showers of rain, while May gets the brunt of the rain, and paired with the rising temperatures, can make for some very muggy days. Nevertheless, Austinites still like to head out to the parks and lakes for some outdoor activities.
How Expensive Is It To Live In Austin?
Austin sure seems like a great city, but any great thing comes with a price. In the case of some cities like San Jose with its Silicon Valley status and New York City with all it offers, the price is fairly high. Where in that bracket does Austin fit? Read on to crunch those figures and calculate your budget, deciding whether or not you can afford a life in Austin.
Cost Of Living In Austin
Surprise surprise! You have reason to smile, as the cost of living in Austin is actually 3% lower than the national average. A family of 4 living in Austin will spend around $2,914.08 a month on expenses excluding housing, while a single person living in their own house in Austin will spend around $825.62 on monthly expenses.
Time to dump those ready-to-eat meals, as groceries in Austin cost 12% lower than the national average. A loaf of bread costs $2.92, while a bunch of bananas costs $2.95. Moving on to dairy, a gallon of milk costs $1.70 and a carton of eggs costs $1.59. Healthcare is 1% lower than the national average, with a visit to the doctor costing $110.05 and a dentist visit costing $94.54. Even a vet visit isn’t too expensive, with the cost being $51.88.
Buying A House
If there’s one thing that is only slightly pricey, it’s housing costs. In case of Austin, that is 2% higher than the national average. The typical home value in Austin is $437,800, and the median house price is $353,246.
Renting A House
The average overall rent for an apartment in Austin is $1,385 a month. Homes in Austin are fairly affordable to rent, with 56% of apartments being rented out for between $1,000 and $1,500 a month. 18% are between $1,500 and $2,000, with another 18% going for below $1,000. A good 48% of the households in Austin are renter-occupied, which clearly shows how renter-friendly this city is.
Utility prices in Austin are 12% lower than the national average. An average monthly energy bill will come to around $147.04, while an average phone bill will be around $156.74. Gas is $2.44 a gallon. Average basic utilities like electricity, heating, water, and garbage for a 914 square feet apartment is $171.43.
Austin Economy And Employment Opportunities
Austin is home to a recent tech boom, big enough for it to be known as the Silicon Hills. Companies like Google, Facebook, 3M, Cisco, PayPal, Intel and Indeed are just some of the big names that are hosted here. Other big industries in Austin are education, healthcare and business services. Top employers in Austin are Dell, IBM Corporation, Apple, General Motors Corporation, Indeed Inc and UT Austin.
The average salary of anyone working in Austin is 71k, while the most popular jobs are those of a software engineer, project manager, software developer and accounts manager. These collectively pay between 75k and 86k.
Austin ranks high when it comes to good education options, getting constantly featured in magazines and surveys. Residents can choose from 29 public school districts, 27 charter school districts and over 100 private schools, each as good as the last. Higher education is even better still, as there’s over 25 public and private colleges and universities.
Some of the biggest are the 50,000-student University of Texas, Huston-Tillotson University, Southwestern University, Texas State University and St. Edward’s University. The University of Texas a.k.a UT in Austin enrolls over 50,000 students each semester, employing over 3,000 teaching faculty members. Almost 45% of residents in Austin have completed their education till at least the bachelor’s degree.
Getting Around Austin
When it comes to public transport, Austin is serviced by Capital Metro. It is Austin’s regional public transportation provider, and has been so since 1985. It runs a bus and rail service through the city.
83 bus routes run through Austin with 14 high-frequency routes to get you to places on time.
2 Rapid bus routes (Routes 801 and 803) run between North and South Austin. They run every 12 to 15 minutes during weekday peak hours, and every 20 to 30 minutes on the weekend. Buses stop running around midnight, but you can always ride on a Night Owl bus. They run every 20 to 30 minutes from midnight until 3:30 a.m. from Mondays to Saturdays. Hop on from East Sixth Street and Congress Avenue to head to neighborhoods in North and South Austin. You also have the e-bus that operates Thursday through Saturday nights during the fall and spring semesters at the University of Texas.
A ticket for a single ride costs $1.25, and $2.50 for a day pass. You can also purchase a 7-day pass for $11.25 and $41.25 for a 31-day pass. You can buy passes and plan your trips in advance with the CapMetro App. There are 4 new MetroRapid lines set to start functioning by 2024, adding 35.5 miles and 69 new stations to the transit network.
The MetroRail has 9 stations along a 32-mile line that connects the city of Leander to downtown Austin. The rail runs 6 days a week, up until 7 p.m. from Mondays to Thursdays. Fridays see the service extend till 1.30 a.m. and Saturdays till 2.30 a.m., so you can get your fill of the weekend before you head home safely. It costs $3.50 per ride.
B-Cycle is Austin’s very own bike-sharing system. Simply download the B-Cycle app to unlock a bicycle from its docking station and head off. To stop the clock on your rent, dock it at a station closest to your destination. You can pay as you ride, paying $1 to unlock the bike and $0.23 per minute after that. Or, opt for a $11 monthly membership with a one-time fee of $15, or an annual membership for $80.
Of course, you always have taxis you can flag down, and ride-hailing apps like Lyft and Uber to use. Not only is the public transportation within Austin good, but the city itself is well located. It is just over 3 hours away from Houston, Dallas and San Antonio, and 4 hours away from Laredo port.
State highway 130 runs through the city and connects to I-35 as well as I-10, ensuring great connectivity to the cities around you. The Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (ABIA) is centrally located within the metropolitan area itself, saving you the hassle of driving long distances to reach the airport. There are also 213 paratransit vehicles that make sure anyone and everyone can make their way across this city.
Best Neighborhoods In Austin
Figuring out which neighborhood to call home is one of the most important aspects of moving, as every city has certain neighborhoods that are perfect for certain people. Choosing your neighborhood could depend on your budget, your commute time, your social situation (family or single), and so on. Read on for a few of the best neighborhoods in Austin.
1. Cedar Park
Only 17 miles away from downtown Austin, boasting excellent connectivity, Cedar Park is an up-and-coming neighborhood in the city. Cedar Park is equipped with all urban amenities yet giving residents that small-town feel. It is home to two excellent school districts, a satellite campus of the Texas State University, employers like Dell and Samsung, and an excellent golf course. The average rent of an apartment in Cedar Park is $1,318, while the typical house value is $436,629.
Looking for a sleepy life surrounded by historicity? Move to Georgetown. Located 30 miles north of downtown Austin, Georgetown has loads of shopping options and a local winery, as well as its 100+ year old courthouse that is in function to this date. It is also home to ‘Sun City’, a top-class retirement community. The average rent in Georgetown is $1,381, while the median home value is $334,880.
3. Travis Heights
Travis Heights is one of the fastest growing neighborhoods in Austin, and it’s no surprise at all. It has a range of homes up for grabs, from historic mansions resting on hillsides to smaller apartments and homes. Downtown Austin is only a 35-minute walk away, and is perfect for working professionals and families alike. The average rent in Travis Heights is $1,516, and the median home value is $468,200.
Is Austin A Good City To Live In ?
Austin sure seems like it is a great city to call home, and the stats reflect the same. U.S. News & World Report ranked Austin as the No. 1 Best Place to Live in the U.S. in 2019, for the third year in a row. They have also ranked Austin No. 4 on their list of the Best Places to Retire in the U.S. for 2019. Austin has some great public transportation, and for the days when you need your car, the abundant parking will certainly help. With a range of jobs up for grabs and a diverse social and cultural life, we certainly think Austin is one of the best cities to live in.
As soon as you know where you’re moving to, you must look up moving companies. Getting the right movers for your move is of the essence, as they can make or break your move. Contact us to narrow down on your search and find movers that fit your budget and liking.
See also: Best Long Distance Movers | Best Moving Companies in Austin TX