Austin, TX living - Enlighten me! Info/opinions


Sep 11, 2001
Western Massachusetts
Hello all from the nice cold (2 degrees right now), snowy (4+ feet since Dec 1st) Northeast!

I am currently living in Western massachusetts, and looking to relocate. One of the places on my radar is Austin, TX. Hoping people can give me opinions, info, etc!

It seems like a desireable place to live from what I have read (I have not visited yet). I am a 29 year old, single, working professional and a home owner. so it will be a little bit of a change for me. I have lived my whole life in the Northeast (MA and Vermont).

Money magazine rated it number 2 for 'green' living. Bicycling magazine rates it high for cycling and quality of living. (I am an avid road cyclist still,but my mountain riding has tapered off) There is a huge live music scene (is it a diversity of music, or mainly around country/western type)?

Few things people can help me out with

Real estate - it seems DIRT CHEAP. But then this is compared to up here which it isnt. Browsing realtor.com, it seems you can get a decent 1500 SQ 3 bed home with garage for sub $150K with a lawn, etc. Is this common, or are they bad neighborhoods (obviously, I cant tell the areas from realtor.com).

are all houses built on slab? or do they have full basements? Are they normally built around full electric (heat, AC, cooking)?

As a comparison, my 1200 SQ colonial with a 2 car garage in Western MA is appraised at over $200K, and to get a 1200 sq condo with a parking spot in Boston (which I am considering moving back to if I stay in the NE) is about $300-$450K

Work/jobs - I know there is a heavy tech influence in Austin. What are other businesses that are strong? (or should I assume since it is such a large city, anything is available). I currently work as a business/finance manager at an auto dealership. i wouldnt be staying with this job, but would be going into management/sales/finance/banking of some sort. Also, do salaries seem to be on an even keel with other parts of the country (I know I will be taking a pay cut, but dont want it to be a 75% cut. haha)

cost of living - real estate seems inexpensive enough. How about other factors. Food, fuel, electric, cable, internet, etc.

entertainment - besides obviously live music. But what about bars, clubs, and other activities. cycling clubs, auto organizations, etc.

i think that is all I can think of. if anyone can chime in, give me more info, it would be great!
And feel free to ask any questions about me if you need in relation to this.

thanks in advance!


edit: also (and this should get some good responses). availability of sports packages for cable tv/satellite? Basically, with I be able to get celtics/red sox/patriots/bruins games down in texas to watch!

Austin Bike

Turbo Monkey
Jan 26, 2003
Duh, Austin
OK, cost of living will be cheaper, no state income tax either. Real estate is a lot cheaper, but you will find that housing can be sketchy. The funny part is that the "bad neighborhoods" in austin are pretty wimpy compared to where I used to live in chicago.

Lots of tech, also government (state capitol), education (UT) and creative (art, design, agency, etc.)

No basements. Reasonable weather. No snow. After 28 years in chicago, I will die in austin. Hopefully not soon.

For riding, check out http://www.austinbike.com

We ride 52 weeks a year.


ass rainbow
Jul 12, 2005
Here's a bit of good news for you also. I believe this was written this week.

Hill Country Home Starts Down

AUSTIN (Austin American-Statesman) – New home starts in the Hill Country declined by 19.7 percent in the fourth quarter, while the number of closings fell by 14.1 percent, according to a recent analysis from Residential Strategies Inc.

The drop brought new home starts for the year to 13,748, a nearly 20 percent decrease from 2006.

The number of closings in the fourth quarter fell from 3,701 to 3,180.

The housing slowdown is causing sellers and builders to cut prices and offer incentives, said Mark Sprague of Residential Strategies. It is also causing developers to rethink planned developments.

Centex Homes canceled its contract to purchase a portion of the Pearson family ranch and transform it into Pearson Place, one of the largest master-planned communities in Central Texas.


Jan 19, 2008
If you like the Boston lifestyle, you'll like Austin. It's a college town, not nearly as cosmopolitan as any of the Northeastern cities, but has it's own funky flair. If you want to be a Bimmer and big house man, you can be, but it's just as cool to have a small urban house and a pickup truck or a vintage house and a prius. Come as you are. Plenty of entertainment (again college town feel) downtown, loads of stuff to do outdoors. People in Austin are a lot more active than say Fat Antonio, but nothing like the NE. It never gets too cold, people here freak out if its less than 40 degrees. Housing costs will be WAY cheaper than Boston, no basements here loads of limestone making basements impractical. What will be a surprise is real estate tax, some of the most expensive in the country, but again you can find a nice house in Austin for $200-250k in a good hood. Plenty of Auto dealerships in the area, but no you're not going to make what you made in MA. I came from DC/VA/MD area and took about a 30% pay cut (telecom industry), but my house here, in DC would be close to $1Mil so I never could have lived like I'm living here there.

There are things to be concerned about. It's hot down here, and not the hot muggy humid hot that you're used to. It's dry hot and the sun is brutal. I've been here about 2 years and I'm still not used to the heat and burning sun.

Riding here is strong (year round hardly ever need winter gear), but motorists are pricks (think redneck pickup drivers). Plenty of MTB, but way different then what you're used to up there. Here we don't have big log crossings and wicked roots. We have rocks, ledges, and nasty plants that like to stick you. On the upshot, in 2 years of riding here I have yet to get poison ivy, oak, sumac however I have been stuck by yucca, cactus, and the junipers here are nasty.

Check out www.austinbike.com for loads of pix of TX riding, and bikemojo.com for people to ride with in the area. Visit in Feb or Mar and you won't want to go back to bean town.