People are descending upon Austin and pretty much everywhere else in Texas in droves. In fact, more people have moved to Texas than any other state in the past few years! It’s no wonder — with growing job markets, abundant housing, and a thriving tech startup scene Austin is the pace to be! Here are a few reasons everyone is moving to Austin:
1. JOBS EVERYWHERE
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of April 2016 Austin has a low unemployment rate of about 2.9% (the first time unemployment dropped below 3% since November 2000), compared to the national average of 5%. Texas ranked high on Forbes’ Best Cities for Jobs 2016 with Austin-Round Rock at number 6 with an impressive job growth of 23.81% over the last five years, and an almost 5% growth last year alone. As the Austin-American Statesman says, right now “it is a candidate’s market.” Austin came in at number 6 on Forbes’ annual list of “Best Big Cities for Jobs,” and earned the top spot on NerdWallet’s list of “Best Cities for Young Entrepreneurs.”
2. PLENTY OF HOUSING
There are two things that drive population growth — jobs and affordable housing. Austin has both (although less and less each year), and although housing prices and property values in the city proper continue to rise, cheap land and little regulations in surrounding areas make it easy for developers to build large scale projects quickly. For the past few years, Austin’s home sales hit a record high according to the Austin Board of Realtors, with little signs of stopping. In an interview with the Austin-American Statesman, Louisiana-based mortgage lender Assurance Financial’s recruiting manager, Paul Peters says “We view the area as one of the strongest diversified economies and residential housing markets in the country. We believe that Austin will continue to see robust appreciation in home values and that more affordable housing will surface in the area as more lot development takes place in the market.”
3. THRIVING STARTUPS
Part of Austin’s low unemployment rate is due to booming tech companies that ramped up hiring. Austin is home to several startup incubators like Capital Factory and Techstars that help launch startups to the next level. Notable Austin startups include, Cratejoy, Favor, Main Street Hub, RetailMeNot, SpareFoot, Spredfast and others. Those are just a few of the many, many successful startups launched out of Austin incubators! Career building companies, like Indeed.com, help boost the local job market, while helping job seekers by making the job search easier. While tech companies make a big splash, Austin also boasts consumer brands like Yeti, Dell, and Whole Foods Market.
4. HIGH QUALITY OF LIFE
Have you heard of Island Time? Well here we have Austin Time! Things in Austin move a bit slower than other large metropolises, and thanks to our hippie roots, the pace of life encourages everyone to relax, spend time outdoors, and connect with friends and family. We’ve got “big-city amenities at a small-town pace.” In a recent interview with Metropolis Magazine, Mayor Steve Adler said, “Austin is a magical city…There’s something that is wonderful about the creativity that exists here: it’s an entrepreneurial place, it’s a city where it’s ok to fail, and a lot of cities aren’t that way.” That forgiving atmosphere in favorable to small businesses, startups, and artist alike. An annual average of over 200 sunny days in Austin promotes an active outdoor lifestyle and provides the perfect setting for the city’s abundant music and art festivals like Austin City Limits and Pecan Street Festival. Austin is also home to one of the top 10 bar scenes in the U.S., coming in at number 8 on the U.S. News & World Report “Best Nightlife Scenes in the USA” list. The same list ranked our infamous 6th Street as the number one thing to do in Austin. In Austin we like to work hard and play hard!
5. FOOD & BEER
In recent years, Austin has become a mecca for foodies and craft breweries. Austin is home to 18 licensed breweries, with more on the way. Several of the microbreweries has achieved national recognition without expanding distribution beyond Central Texas, and all produce amazing, high-quality products. Out-of-state brewery Oskar Blues recognized the changing tastes of knowledgeable beer consumers, and has opened a 50,000 square foot brewery, tap room, and music venue in the heart of what is becoming Austin’s beer district in North Austin.
In 2006, Driskill chef David Bull competed on Iron Chef America, boosting Austin’s image as a food destination. Another boost came in 2008 when Tyson Cole and his team from Uchi also competed on Iron Chef America. However, it was Paul Qui, trained under Tyson Cole, who put Austin on the map as a truly great foodie city when he won Top Chef in 2012. Later that year, Qui launched his wildly popular East Side King’s Asian fusion food trucks, gaining a fanatical devotion before opening a permanent location on South Lamar in 2013. He has since returned to his sushi roots with Otoko, a boutique, semi-private restaurant in South Congress Hotel. As much as we love our trend setting city chefs, nothing says Texas more than great barbecue. In 2009, Aaron Franklin opened his now-famous Franklin’s BBQ in a trailer off I-35. News of this new, amazing barbecue joint spread like wildfire, and the line started wrapping around the block. Eventually, he moved to a brick-and-mortar location off East 11th street where the line for Franklin’s has become legendary with people waiting 4 or more hours for brisket, ribs, and more.
With the buzz about good food, and the nomadic nature of a festival city, Austin is now home to 1,400+ food trailers that are pushing the envelope with everything from regular burgers and fries to experimental fusion dishes. Some of our favorite food trailers include: The Peached Tortilla, Chi’lantro, East Side King, Cow Tipping Creamery, Picnik, The Mighty Cone, Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ, Torchy’s Tacos, and Gourdough’s. There are so many amazing food trucks and restaurants in Austin, we can’t begin to list them all! Let us know your favorite places to grab a bite in the comments!
With all these amazing reasons to love Austin, we aren’t surprised that everyone wants to move here!