Austin, Texas is a popular place to relocate for a lot of reasons, starting with the weather. Austin has more sunny days on average than the rest of the country and mild winters with no snow. The city of Austin has developed a reputation as an artsy, funky kind of town with a musical bent; you're never far from a festival or musical performance taking place in the area. The cost of living is low, and the rate of employment is high. The natural beauty of Austin and surrounding areas is also a big draw. Springs, caves and rivers abound in this beautiful spot in Central Texas, and there are a number of nature preserves in and around the city.
The cost of housing is slightly on the high side when compared to the rest of Texas, but there are some affordable housing options in Austin if you know where to look. Some neighborhoods do offer more affordable housing that still provides all the benefits of living in Austin. Here are the median home prices in those neighborhoods we consider to be the top five most affordable places to buy a home in Austin.
- 1. Heritage Hills
Median Home Price: $98,400
For affordable housing, Austin's Heritage Hills is a great place to start looking. A small neighborhood with lots of mature trees, Heritage Hills is only twenty minutes from downtown Austin. Some of the homes in this neighborhood are older, and they are being bought and fixed up one by one. The neighborhood is close to the Capital Metro bus and rail lines, so you can travel to other parts of the city even without access to a car. Heritage Hills is a vital and diverse community, and the city has plans for upcoming improvements. The City of Austin Master Plan, approved this year, calls for expanding the existing green space in the area and installing bike routes. Young families can find affordable homes here, and there is shopping nearby and access to major roads. Garcia Park is a large recreation area situated in Heritage Hills; the center includes a basketball gym, fitness room, climbing wall and computer area. Learn more about Heritage Hills housing.
- 2. Franklin Park
Median Home Price: $101,000
This neighborhood is close to downtown and the University of Texas at Austin, with a community college campus nearby. There are plenty of houses to be found in Franklin Park going for around $100,000, and the community is close to I-35, making it easy to reach the sights of downtown Austin. Franklin Park is a predominantly Hispanic neighborhood with a diverse mix of other ethnicities. Bus transportation is available, and the elementary school is located in the middle of the neighborhood. McKinney Falls State Park, a 700-acre nature preserve, is nearby. From Franklin Park, there is easy access to hiking, camping, fishing and swimming. The neighborhood park includes a playground, barbecue areas, basketball court, softball field and other amenities. There are also several pocket parks within the neighborhood boundaries, and residents report that Franklin Park is a quiet place to live. Learn more about Franklin Park housing.
- 3. Montopolis
Median Home Price: $114,200
Located next to the Austin Community College Riverside Campus, Montopolis is on a high, wooded bluff southeast of the city. It's also across from the Riverside Golf Course, and the tip of the triangular-shaped neighborhood abuts the Colorado River Wildlife Sanctuary. There's a mix of older and newer modest homes in the neighborhood and, like Franklin Park, this area has many Hispanic homeowners. It's a neighborhood on the cusp of gentrification, with room still available to build new homes. Franklin Park is bounded by Texas State Highway 71 and U.S. Route 183, for easy access to downtown Austin. Like the other neighborhoods, Montopolis has its parks and playgrounds. The Montopolis Recreation Center includes a gymnasium, playground and swimming pool, and it offers sports programs and senior citizen activities. There's also an after-school program that provides free hot meals for the children who attend, and the neighborhood is home to the Daniel Ruiz Branch of the Austin Public Library. The historic Montopolis Bridge spans the Colorado River nearby, and it's one of the principal routes to the international airport. Learn more about Montopolis housing.
- 4. Johnston Terrace
Median Home Price: $289,782
Across the Colorado River from Montopolis is Johnston Terrace, a neighborhood that encompasses a creek and two large natural areas surrounding it. There's easy access to the airport via State Road 183, and Johnston Terrace is just five miles from downtown Austin. An open-enrollment charter school, East Austin College Prep, is just north of the neighborhood. Many of the ranch-style single family homes are close enough to walk to Eastside Memorial High School. Inside the neighborhood, Govalle Park is a 26-acre green space that features a baseball field, basketball and volleyball courts, a swimming pool and picnic areas. Near Johnston Terrace, warehouses have been converted into theaters, and an aspiring arts community has started to thrive. This year the Fusebox Art Festival will take place just two miles from the neighborhood. The ThinkEast initiative is a public-private partnership that is focused on the area. It awards development grants, and "puts residents, artists, local businesses and other non-profits at the center of neighborhood planning. Learn more about Johnston Terrace housing.
- 5. North Lamar
Median Home Price: $117,900
North Lamar, adjacent to I-35, is about fifteen minutes from downtown Austin. It's a suburban neighborhood with easy access to Austin's festivals and green belts. Although North Lamar is a quiet residential area of apartments and affordable homes, it has all the amenities of a larger city. This neighborhood is convenient for commuting to many of the major employers in the area, there are plenty of places to shop nearby, and the elementary school is within walking distance. Just to the north of this neighborhood is Walnut Creek Metropolitan Park. The nearly 1,200-acre nature preserve includes picnic shelters, walking and biking trails and five municipal pools. The park also boasts six basketball courts and twenty-six playgrounds. Learn more about North Lamar Housing.
See even more information about the best Austin, TX neighborhoods as well as a neighborhood map.