I can certainly wax as lyrically as the next TREC licensed real estate agent about the boons of a large university presence, the burgeoning ecomony and the major employers and the low costs of living here in Austin, TX. But it’s June and my lyrical wax is about to melt, and I thought I’d blow off some steam. Here are some reasons that some don’t move to Austin:

Austin is hot. Not just a little toasty. Resolve-breaking hot. If you look at average temperatures in Austin, the moderate sounding 84 degrees in July and August might not seem too bad. If you look at the average high for August though, it’s 96 degrees, and the sun is pretty fierce – we’re at the same latitude as Cairo. Really.

Good news for sun-lovers, solar-power lovers, and cold blooded animals who like complaining about the weather. Bad news for pale English people like me who scurry between air-conditioned spaces and large bodies of water. Luckily Austin is replete with lakes, pools, rivers and swimming holes, and large shade trees.

Property tax is relatively high. Of course the flip side of their being no state income tax in Texas is that the property tax is a little higher than in other states. For example, my property tax rate in 2009 was around 2.2% of appraised value.

The good thing about homes in Austin are that the prices are lower than in other large US cities. If the median house price in Greater Austin in 2009 was under $190,000 it was still only around $300,000 within the city limits (equating to around $6,600 in annual property taxes before exemptions)

Pollen Sometimes referred to as the self-proclaimed Live Music Capital of the World, there’s another long-winded phrase I sometimes use: The Fall Allergy Capital of the US. While I’m in whining and griping mode, I’ll spit out that I never suffered from allergies until I moved to Austin, and then after about three years I got snookered by them. All it took was a minor change in diet and a bit of education and I don’t even notice them any more.

Too many top ten lists. OK, I’m scraping the bottom of the top of the barrel here, but Austin does get a lot of “greenest city”, “best City to get a job”, “best city for meeting smart, attractive people who will gladly lend you ten dollars” and other accolades. If you don’t believe me, check out the Austin wikipedia page.

The glorious TedXAustin unveiled its 2011 theme last night – “Right Now”, with a mention of Austin’s crowning as City of the Next Decade. Which means that there’s going to be alot going on here, and alot of other people moving here too.

If you think you can handle the pollen, greatness, property tax and heat, then you could consider a move to Austin. Lots of people do – the population doubles every 20 years.

Garreth Wilcock is an ex-patriate Austin Realtor ®. You can search Austin homes for sale at his website, and get in touch to take the heat and pollen test to relocate here. Heck, if you’ve had enough of all the new people, heat and property tax, he can even sell your home so you can leave.


6 Comments

Lisa Lyons · June 22, 2010 at 2:47 pm

Garreth, this is a very humorous article, a bit risky, but you took a chance and hopefully your readers will get your Brit humor. It was the snookered that gave you away. Maybe John Terry will need a place to lay low after FIFA…

Karen Higland · June 23, 2010 at 9:33 am

Austin sounds lovely, I understand why the population doubles every 20 years. You should wax lyrical more often, Garreth:)

Garreth Wilcock · June 24, 2010 at 1:03 pm

Thanks Lisa – I think that people are going to find out about the heat one way or another, and I’d rather they be prepared. Maybe even visit in July before relocating. Seriously – I first came in February, it snowed, and I thought it was ideal. All this soccer, snooker and Wimbledon don’t make me want to leave the sticky heat though.

Garreth Wilcock · June 24, 2010 at 1:05 pm

Austin is pretty awesome. A friend of mine calls it the Velvet Rut – it’s so comfortable and interesting that he’s never left. (a rut for him maybe as he has retired) There’s a great deal of economic activity and growth so I’m not quite sure about the "rut" personally.

Jim Gallion · June 28, 2010 at 7:48 am

Garreth, I lived in Austin from 1981-1999, and am now about to return. Thanks for reminding me of the things I knew that I wouldn’t miss when I left! I too have an Austin friend who called it the Velvet Rut…think it’s the same guy, or is that a common phrase?

    Sharon · August 3, 2018 at 9:37 pm

    common phrase for Austin

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