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Thread: Thinking about relocating to Austin, a few questions?

  1. #1
    Aug 2005
    Richmond, VA
    Hello all, I am hoping to get some help with relocation questions. My fiancé is going into Pediatrics and is in the process of determining which programs to interview with. We’ve decided this would be a good opportunity to try someplace new for a few years- we’ve both only lived in or around the Richmond, VA area our whole life. I won’t waste your time with questions I can find the answers to anywhere on the net, but I am hoping the Austin residents and those familiar with the area can help with some specific inquiries.

    BTW, other places we are considering at this time are Denver, CO, Chapel Hill, NC, Charlottesville, VA, and Portland, OR. Don’t know much about any of them other than Charlottesville but I’m taking them 1 at a time. Ok, now for the questions:

    1) We’re both big nature lovers, and Austin seems to have a good park system and lots of outdoor activities. Would the residents/those familiar with consider Austin an ‘outdoors’ town like Boulder or Denver? Is there a good variety of nature trails/lakes/scenic points within city limits or close by?
    2) How is the market for IT professionals in Austin? I am not very high up the ladder so my current ‘level’ would be available in most towns, but I am hoping to jump up a rung or 2 in the next few years and it will take a town with a good IT market for that to happen. Can anyone tell me some medium to large companies with a presence in Austin? Denver for example has plenty of tech/telecommunications companies but they seem to be making a slow recovery from rough recent years.
    3) Biggest question: housing. My fiancé would be working at the Children’s Hospital of Austin on IH-35 (zip 78701). We’d be interested in finding something no more than a 30 minute commute from there and to wherever I’d be working, with a price range of 175-240k to work with. There seems to be plenty of good housing choices/prices in some areas of Austin, but I don’t know where those zip codes correlate, I can only guess they are a good ways from downtown and the college. I did a search on realtor.com for 78701 earlier today and it was all very expensive, for us at least. Can anyone recommend specific zip codes, cities, neighborhoods, whatever that fits the above and is also considered a nice, safe area?
    4) Can anyone comment on the reputation of the Children’s Hospital?
    5) I’m sure Austin has its congestion issues like most larger cities… is the average commute for most though an exercise in patience (LA, Denver) or is it more manageable than that? I get the impression that it is busy but more of a distance issue rather than congestions.
    6) If you were coming to Austin for 2 days to see if it was a place you’d like to live, where would you go and what would you do to get a feel for the city?

    Thanks in advance, this forum has been TERRIFIC for assisting me in this process (God bless forum search functions!!) 

    Anyone who was planning to respond to the housing question: can you also post your opinions on the area and your guesttimate median cost there, similar to what The One did so well here http://www.cyburbia.org/forums/showthread.php?t=19317
    Last edited by NHPlanner; 30 Aug 2005 at 1:38 PM.

  2. #2
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
    Jun 2003
    at the neighboring pub
    jread just recently bought a house in the Austin area, so you might try sending him a PM (he will probably post here soon).

    Austin and Silicone Valley were pretty much ground-zero when the tech bubble burst. However, Austin has recovered fairly well. As far as I know, the IT market is still very solid there. I would consider it a very 'outdoors' city that has some excellent parks and preserve areas. There are a couple of lakes within the city limits if you like rowing and that kind of thing. You can head up the Colorado a little further to Lake Travis and Lake LBJ for waterskiing. There are also several state parks that could easily be day trips. Most people are familiar with the strong nightlife in Austin.

    I don't know what style of living you are looking for, but I recently was told by another poster that you can find very affordable condos now in the near downtown area in your price range. 78703 and 78705 would be good options for you. to be relatively close to the hospital and university. 78705 will have a higher student presence though. I consider both of these areas decent and safe. If you are forced outside of the downtown area, DO NOT select a location that will require you to rely on I-35 to get to work. Austin's traffic is among the worst in the nation, especially considering its size.

    I don't live in Austin though--just visit it a lot, so there are plenty of other posters that I'm sure can give you a better feel for the City.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  3. #3
    Cyburbian jread's avatar
    Nov 2004
    Austin, TX
    I don't have a lot to add to what Suburb Repairman said except that you can easily find a nice place in the 175-240k range. I would give anything to have that much when I started looking! There are many older neighborhoods you could buy in, or there is a very nice newer neighborhood located decently within the city in that range: http://aus.drhorton.com/community.aspx?CommunityId=290

    I would highly recommend visiting the forums here as many of your questions have been answered multiple times: http://austin.about.com/mpboards.htm

    For what it's worth, I would definitely take Austin over any of the cities you've listed except maybe Portland, OR.

  4. #4
    Aug 2005
    Richmond, VA
    terrific, thanks to both of you! The about.com boards are new to me and I'm sure will help a lot.

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