If you’ve read our blog, you know we are not native Texans. We relocated to Austin from San Francisco about five years ago and couldn’t be happier. Many of you who are reading our blog might be contemplating the same type of move. I’m sure you’ve read all the articles naming cities like Raleigh, Austin, Nashville, Dallas, Orlando and Houston being names “top cities to live” in certain categories. We read all of those lists too and decided on Austin. Here are the top 10 reasons we relocated to Austin over all of our other choices.
Quality of Life
Austinites know you must have a work-life balance. Employers don’t expect their employees to work 16 hour days and weekends like they do in some big cities. Most are able to live comfortably off their salaries and even put away some money as well. And, because housing is not 60% of your gross income like it is in some of the bigger cities, families have some extra money to enjoy the fun things Austin has to offer during their down time.
No State Income Tax
As California’s income tax rose to over 10% (now 13% from what I understand), we got tired of paying more and more to a state that was bankrupt and doing nothing to correct the insane spending. We decided we wanted to keep more of our hard earned money and focused on the states with no income tax (Alaska, Florida, Texas, Tennessee, Wyoming, Nevada, South Dakota, Washington, New Hampshire), which basically left Florida, Texas and Tennessee. Austin’s sales tax is also not outrageous, like it is in some of the other no income tax states, which was another draw.
Small Business Friendly
Austinites love their small businesses. You’ll see many more local chains and local businesses that residents love to support. Local coffee shops are often much busier than Starbucks and local chefs dominate the restaurant industry, not chains. Spend a few days in Austin and you’ll see even our dominant grocery store (H-E-B) is a Texas company based in San Antonio. Being small business owners ourselves, we were looking for an area that would embrace and support local.
Lower Cost of Living
Everything from the cost of groceries, gas and government fees are all considerably less than what we were paying in San Francisco. Gas is usually around $1 less per gallon (compared to San Francisco). Registering our cars in San Francisco was costing us $450-$500/year. In Austin we pay $60/year. Everyday items we were spending $2.75 for in the grocery store we buy here for 89 cents. Virtually everywhere you pull out your wallet in Austin, you spend less.
Small Town Feel, Big City Amenities
Though the Austin metro area has over 1 million people, it still has a small town feel. Many of the neighborhoods and suburbs have their own “Downtown” where residents meet for coffee, lunch and to shop at local businesses. Though Austin has the small town feel, we don’t sacrifice in the amenities a big city has like an international airport, booming job market, highly rated restaurants, ample shopping and vibrant nightlife.
Austin is a Welcoming Place
Even though the South would never claim any city in Texas, Austin has a quasi-Southern feel. Very few people are native Austinites and most are from somewhere else. Drawing from that experience of coming to a new city without a support system, people are extremely friendly and welcoming to other new people. The other day while showing a house, there was a group of mom’s and kids having a playdate on their street. They invited us in for pizza and introduced us to the neighbors. I showed a lot of houses in San Francisco before moving to Austin and not one time did a neighbor even look up to wave, let alone strike up a conversation and invite you into their home. I have many stories just like this one, proving meeting new people in Austin is extremely easy. You’ll have a support system in no time, even if you move here not knowing a soul.
Austin is a very kid friendly city. Most neighborhoods have playgrounds, community pools and HOA’s geared to activities that kids and parents can enjoy. We also have a small zoo, children’s museum, water park, kids camps, sports leagues and endless other activities that parents and kids can enjoy together. In Austin kids are included in many daily activities, while in San Francisco kids were an after thought at best.
Highly Rated Public Schools
You hear about some cities where private schools are the only option if you want your kids to have a good education. Not in Austin. Many of the Austin public schools are very highly rated. Highly rated schools are found in all price ranges, not just the in the most expensive neighborhoods, making Austin a go to area for people with children.
Potential for Growth
They estimate 170 people move to Austin per day and even with record numbers relocating, Austin has a booming job market in many industries. I hear story after story about people who move here without a job and days later they are employed in the industry they are most qualified. We recently helped a nurse relocate to Austin and not only did she find a job before she moved, they even helped pay her moving expenses. Every week we hear about a new tech company who has decided to open up an office in Austin and that hasn’t slowed in all the time we’ve lived here. Austin is poised to grow and thrive for many more years to come.
Austin’s a Young and Vibrant City
Austin is a young and vibrant city. Many students who attend UT make Austin their permanent home. Austin also attracts a lot of retirees, but they are generally very active and “young at heart” making the city very energetic and vibrant. You’ll see hike and bike trails full on the weekend, as well as many people kayaking and boating or attending one of our many festivals. Austin was also named one of the Best Cities for Young Adults.
Considering Relocating to Austin?
What is most important to you in your new city? With a little bit more info about what you’re looking for in a new city, we can help you determine whether or not Austin would be a good fit. Send us an email at info@11OaksRealty.com, fill out our Relocation Survey, or give us a call at (512) 827-8323 to schedule a no obligation consultation. We’ll give you honest advice about Austin that you can use to help make your relocation decision. In the meantime, check out our Guide to Relocating to Austin.