Living in Austin, Texas: Pros and Cons
As Austin, Texas, continues to rank as a fast-growing major metro in the country, it’s hard to resist the urge to pack your bags and see what all the fuss is about in the Lone Star State. Moving to Austin means exciting nightlife and live music and delicious food trucks with Tex-Mex, barbecue, and Southern-Asian fusion—but is it too good to be true?
If you’re trying to decide whether or not to move to Austin, you need a pros and cons list, so we’ve put together a comparison of the pros and cons of living in Austin, TX. Keep reading to decide whether the benefits of living in the “Live Music Capital of the World” outweigh the drawbacks:
Benefits of living in Austin, Texas
From the culture to the weather, there are many benefits of living in Austin, TX. Below, we’ve outlined some of the biggest pros:
Pro: The music and arts scene
It’s no secret that the music and arts scene is a major benefit to living in Austin, and a definite cause of excitement for residents settling in the city. It’s said that on any given night, over 100 venues will be showcasing live music. And, every single month, there’s at least one large music festival or arts fair going on in the city, too.
Here are some of the most popular music festivals in Austin, bringing in audiences and performers from around the world:
- Austin City Limits Music Festival in Zilker Park
- South by Southwest Conference and Festivals in Downtown Austin
- JMBLYA Austin at Circuit of the Americas
- Levitation Music Festival at Carson Creek Ranch
From the street art and murals in South Congress, to the Elisabet Ney Museum in Hyde Park, to the local handmade gems in South Lamar’s Austin Art Garage, there’s art everywhere in Austin. Whether you’re interested in fine art galleries, supporting local artists, or looking to create pieces of your own, there’s no better place to be than a city that’s known for “keeping things weird.”
Pro: The weather
If you live in a city that experiences all four seasons, it’s time to sell your snow gear and invest in an air conditioner. For all the solar power-enthusiasts out there, you’re looking at some serious savings.
Here’s what the weather typically looks like, by season:
- Winter: Low of 40 degrees and a high of 70 degrees
- Spring: Temperature stays in the high 60s
- Summer: Ranges from 70 degrees to high 90s
- Fall: Low of 50 degrees, ranging to high 80s
Boasting 300 sunny days and 35 inches of rain a year, it’s safe to say that weather in Austin can change at the drop of a hat. Most people love the weather, especially when it’s so easy to jump in a nearby lake to beat the heat. From the Barton Springs Pool in Zilker Park, to Lady Bird Lake in South Congress, or Lake Austin and Lake Travis on the Colorado River, you won’t need a pool to have family-friendly fun. In short, amazing weather and ample opportunities to take advantage of it make the Austin area a fantastic place to live.
Pro: Increasing diversity
The city of Austin has increasingly become a community where no ethnic or demographic group makes up the majority of the population. Specifically, the rate of Hispanic and Asian households witnessed a rapid increase in the past year. While the Hispanic share of the total population is more than the Asian share, the Hispanic rise has been steadily increasing since the 1990s, while the Asian share has more than doubled.
This trend of non-Texan natives moving to Austin is expected to continue, increasing the likelihood of more ethnic minorities being represented in the city. The beauty of increasing diversity is the blend of cultures that brings new perspectives and ideas that enrich the city.
Pro: Gas prices
While every Austinite will tell you a car is a necessity for staying in the city long-term (more on this later), there is one silver lining to having to haul yourself around everywhere: Gas is dirt cheap. Here’s a comparison between the cost of gas in Austin and Los Angeles, in April 2020 using GasBuddy:
- Austin, TX: Average gas price of $1.50 a gallon
- Los Angeles, CA: Average price of gas is nearly $3 a gallon
In fact, it’s not just Los Angeles—virtually anyone moving to Austin from a West Coast metro area like San Francisco or Seattle will reap the benefits of cheap gas. You don’t have to be a tech whiz living in The Domain to do that math—you’d save hundreds of dollars a year by living in Texas.
The drawbacks of living in Austin, Texas
If you like having fun, basking in the sunshine, cultivating inclusivity, and saving money, Austin is probably sounding just about perfect right now. Unfortunately, a lot of the cons of living in Austin are directly related to the pros.
While it’s great to consider the happy, eclectic energy of a place (especially if you have kids), there are two sides to every coin, especially when it comes to logistics.
Con: The housing market is complex
While a flourishing real estate market sounds much more like a pro than a con, it does create some problems for people looking to move to Austin. Essentially, the value of homes are increasing drastically—which does benefit homeowners—but considering most of the population can’t afford those prices and need housing, it’s a disadvantage to the majority.
Multi-family housing (like condos and apartment complexes) are needed, but with increased demand comes an increased cost of rent, especially since there aren’t enough multi-family options within the price range of many locals.
What’s the solution? Admittedly, by choosing one of Landing’s flexible lease policies, these housing market cons don’t really apply to you—you have the ability to rent a furnished apartment in Austin (fully stocked with amenities) and aren’t setting out with the goal of buying a property. On the upside, our furnished apartments feel just like home and are ready to move right into. Regardless, for the sake of an honest pros and cons list, here’s everything you need to know about the housing market:
Increasing value of single-family homes
Property value is at an all-time high in Austin, which is great for people who already own their home—and a potential problem for everyone else.
While the building of single-family homes is increasing, affordability is decreasing, meaning most people can’t buy those homes. Curbed Austin suggests that while renting does seem like a better option, low inventory of rental properties poses their own set of issues.
High demand for multi-family housing
According to Patch, rent in Austin has increased 3.3% over the past year, amounting to the sixth-fastest-growing rate among the largest cities in the country. While that may not seem like a lot, last year, the national rent only raised by 1.4%.
The year-over-year change isn’t consistent among all sources, either. Some statistics, like the rental market trend analysis from RentCafe, clocks Austin at a 5% increase compared to last year. And, while the average cost of renting an apartment in Austin is still below the national average, it’s only $29 less ($1,439 and $1,468 respectively).
From a short-term perspective, this doesn’t seem like a big deal. But if you’re considering making Austin your home for the rest of your life, the steep increase in rent might make you reconsider. For more information about neighborhoods and properties in Austin, read our guides on how to find an apartment in Austin, and the best Austin neighborhoods for young professionals.
Con: You’ll need a car, but hate the traffic
Driving in Austin is a zero-sum game. With no rail transit, your options for getting around town are the public bus system, a bike, scooter, or motorcycle, your two feet, or a car. Depending on where you need to go, and the hot, unpredictable weather, options besides a car aren’t always the best choice. If you can, you should get a car.
As luck would have it, one of the many things the Austin area is known for is traffic. While this is one of the only truly negative reputations of Austin, no amount of fun mottos will take away your frustration when it takes you half an hour to go five miles. With that being said, most major cities suffer from traffic congestion, so it’s important to compare your options before making a decision.
For more details about how to take advantage of Austin’s public transportation, head over to our Austin relocation guide.
Navigating the pros and cons
Since Landing will help you circumnavigate the complexities of the housing market, the pros and cons of living in Austin, TX, are really based on two things:
- Where you’re moving from
- How long you wish to stay
If you’re planning on a shorter stay, none of this should be cause for concern. But with the opportunity of such a flexible lease with Landing, take the time to make your decision—maybe you’ll stay awhile! Browse our furnished apartments in Austin to find your new fully furnished home!