Home prices in Austin are skyrocketing due to supply and demand. With the Austin Business Journal citing 110 people moving
to Austin everyday on average, homebuilders are struggling to keep up with the rush. Families and individuals moving to the area desire great schools, close proximity to their workplace and neighborhood amenities, which will cost you a pretty-penny in Austin.
“In Austin’s epicenter prices only go up, they should never go down,” said Keith Dunham, C.E.O. at HomeCity. “This price hike has already hit the north in Round Rock because of its highly sought after Westwood High School. The same effect has occurred in Westlake because of Eanes ISD. As the city expands, prices are rising in the south and east areas of Austin. As incomes rise, home prices should go up and school ratings should also rise.”
There are a few hidden gems left in Austin that are highly desirable, while maintaining a lower average home price. HomeCity has compiled a list of Austin’s most affordable neighborhoods, judged by their proximity to downtown, schools, amenities, and average home price.
Austin’s Best Affordable Neighborhoods:Olympic Heights:
Olympic Heights is located in South Austin, and can be found by taking W. Slaughter south on Manchaca road. The main entrance can be found on the west side of Manchaca Rd. at Marcus Abrams Blvd. There are also a couple entrances to the south side from Frate Barker Road. While Olympic Heights is the farthest from Downtown on our list (about 15 minutes south of DT), it’s price points and amenities make up for it.
Many of the homes in Olympic Heights are starter homes, ranging between 1,147 – 2,416 sqft. Homes can range anywhere from $140k to $246k, depending on its size and location within the neighborhood. This is incredibly affordable for the Austin area at about $143 per square foot; while the median Austin home price hanging around $250k. Amenities in the area include a large neighborhood pool, landscaping throughout and nature trails. The neighborhood boasts convenient access to area shopping outlets such as Southpark Meadows shopping center, Shady Hollow Village, and Tanglewood Village.
Another great thing about Olympic Heights is its access to great public schools. Barnoff Elementary, which has a 10 out of 10 rating on Greatschools.org, is a recipient of the Texas Comptroller’s 2013 Texas Honors Circle Award and has exemplary TEA scores. Bailey Middle School is rated 9 out of 10 on Greatschools.org and has above average TEA scores. High schools for this area are either Bowie or Akins Highschools, depending on where in Olympic Heights your home is. Akins received a 6 out of 10 on Greatschools.com for just above average test scores, while Bowie received a 9 out of 10 with exemplary test scores. Search for homes in Olympic Heights...Cherry Creek:
Cherry Creek is an area located in Southwest Austin in the 78745 and 78748 area codes. Basically everything south of Stassney Lane and north of Slaughter Lane between mopac and Manchaca make up this area. This neighborhood is so attractive because of its close proximity to everything in South Austin. While Cherry Creek is in a great position centrally, it is also only a mere 10 minutes from downtown, which is incredibly convenient for anyone who wants to experience life in the city.
Homes in Cherry Creek are usually around the mid to high 200’s, and the average square footage of these homes are around 1,650. This puts the average price per square food at $160, which is not bad for such close proximity to amenities. Residents have access to an array of parks such as Longview Park, Stepherson Nature Preserve, Valley Creek Park, and Garrison Park. Also close by is the Sunset Valley Village shopping center and South 1st and Congress areas. Since the area spans so much of South Austin, people hoping to move there have a wide selection of homes to choose from including remodeled 1970’s homes and newly constructed.
Cherry Creek feeds into three elementary schools: Cowan, Sunset Valley, and Cunningham elementary. Cowan is the highest rated of these, with a 9 out of 10 on greatschools.org and exemplary TEA scores. These all feed into Covington middle school, which was rated 5 out of 10 on greatschools.org. High schoolers either attend Bowie High School or Crockett High. Bowie has higher rated schools, so if you are looking into the area I would look up exactly what the boundaries are. If positioned in Cherry Creek correctly, families can enjoy exemplary schools, tons of amenities, and an extremely close proximity to Austin’s epicenter. Search homes for sale in Cherry Creek...Quail Creek:
Quail Creek is located in Northwest Austin around Quail Creek Park. The neighborhood is bordered by Kramer Lane, Lamar Blvd, and Payton Gin Road. This neighborhoods proximity to downtown and newer developments such as the Domain and Mueller make this a great place to find a more affordable home. The neighborhood has a high number of original homeowners, and the majority of the homes are older remodels from the 1970’s.
Homes in Quail Creek range from the high $100’s to the high $200’s, and there are a number of options to choose from when home hunting here. The average price per square foot for this area is $122 per square foot, with most homes falling in the 1,200 to 2,200 range. From fixer uppers to fully renovated and updated homes, mostly all homes in this neighborhood have mature trees and large yards. Also a draw is Quail Creek Park, which consists of 16 acres of park which includes a hike and bike path.
Quail Creek schools include Guerrero-Thompson Elementary, Wooldridge Elementary, Cook Elementary, and McBee Elementary. Guerrero-Thompson Elementary is brand new, having just opened up in 2013. The resident middle school is Burnett Middle School, and Lanier High School is the high school in the area. While these schools are not the highest rated in Austin, there are also many private schools nearby for parents to choose from. The Austin International School and the Magellan International School are both excellent choices and offer globally minded academics. Search homes for sale in Quail Creek...Oak Lawn:
Oak Lawn is located on the northeast side of Austin and is an affordable option if you still need to be close to downtown. Located just outside the main part of downtown, near 183 and MLK Blvd., Oak Lawn is in the 78721 area code. Most of east Austin is in a transition period right now, and Oak Lawn is no exception. This means that neighborhoods will be mixed with remodeled homes, fixer uppers, and established 1960s – 70’s homes. This is a great opportunity to purchase a home that needs a little work and remodel it to your specifications!
Homes in Oak Lawn range from the high $100’s to the low $300’s, with the average listing price falling around $238,000. The average price per square foot in this area is $213, and the homes tend to be between 900 and 1500sqft. This area of town is all about location, location, location and is great for young professionals or people who prefer to be in a trendy up and coming area. There are two parks in this neighborhood, Givens District Park and Springdale Park, which are both kept up to date and clean. Also nearby is the Mueller Retail Center, which has just about every store you will ever need. Many new hip and swanky restaurants are always opening up on the east side, as well as boutiques and art collectives!
The elementary school in this zone is Sims Elementary School, whose test scores are average, but have been improving every year since 2012. Garcia Middle School is an excellent option for children in the area, with a rating of 10 of 10 on Greatschools.org for exceptional test scores. Reagan High School is the high school for this area, and while traditionally Reagan hasn’t received the highest scores, it’s showing improvement. The gentrification of the area is leading to better schools, better amenities, and rising home prices. Snag one in this area while you still can! Search homes for sale in Oak Lawn...Emerald Forest:
Emerald Forest is located in south Austin between Stassney Lane and 290. Much of the south side of this neighborhood backs up to Battle Bend Creek, with some homes even offering great views of the green area surrounding it. Like many of the more affordable neighborhoods in south/central Austin, most of the homes here are remodeled from the 1970’s. The neighborhood has an established feel, with mature trees lining the sidewalks.
Emerald Forest is in close proximity to many of Austin’s signature attractions. South 1st street is just minutes away, which is home to tons of restaurants, shops, and attractions. The South Congress shopping and dining area is also nearby, where residents can sample good food, shop, and people watch to their hearts content. Downtown is about 10 minutes away at most times except rush hour, and even during peak traffic is only about 30 minutes out.
Homes in this area range from the high $100’s to high $200’s, and will usually be between 1200 and 1700 square feet. The average price per square foot is $175. Nearby amenities include Garrison Park, which is complete with picnic tables, grills, pool, playground, and hike and bike trails. Since it’s a very safe neighborhood, it’s not uncommon to see children playing outside and enjoying the activities the area has to offer.
Schools in Emerald Forest are improving as prices in the neighborhood rise. St. Elmo Elementary is rated 8 out of 10 on Greatschools.org for high test scores and a nurturing environment. Bedicheck Middle School and Travis High School have traditionally received lower scores, but all reports point to major improvements in the past few years. GreatSchools.org is a great source for reviews from actual students, teachers and parents, and you can view the reviews for Travis High School here. Search for homes in Emerald Forest...
HomeCity ranked these neighborhoods on a 1 - 10 scale for several factors including school test scores, proximity to downtown, price and amenities. The higher the total score, the more desirable the neighborhood!