When considering a move to Austin, Texas, it's crucial to thoroughly understand the differences between neighborhoods. Many stories circulate about people who hastily chose a location without considering the unique aspects of each area. In this post, we will delve into the similarities and differences between living in Southeast Austin and Southwest Austin. You'll be surprised to discover just how distinct these two regions are. So, stay tuned for an insightful comparison that will help you make an informed decision about where to live in Austin.
Location: To begin, let's define Southeast and Southwest Austin. Southeast Austin encompasses areas east of I-35 and south of the river, including ZIP codes 78741, 78744, and 78747. Meanwhile, Southwest Austin refers to the region southwest of downtown, particularly along or just west of Mopac (Loop 1). This area includes ZIP codes 78735, 78749, 78739, and the eastern part of 78736. While these definitions may vary, for this discussion, we will stick to these definitions.
Neighborhood Feel: Living in Southeast and Southwest Austin offers contrasting experiences. Southeast Austin boasts vast open land, rapid growth, and recent development. Here, you'll find a mix of older neighborhoods and new residential projects, including large communities and urban-style single-family or B-unit constructions. Additionally, there are numerous apartment complexes, both old and new.
On the other hand, Southwest Austin exudes a suburban feel with larger homes and well-established communities. The neighborhoods in this area are characterized by mature trees, including oak, cedar, crepe myrtles, and pecan trees. Green spaces, neighborhood parks, and a sense of tranquility are prevalent. Popular neighborhoods in Southwest Austin include Travis Country, Western Oaks, Legend Oaks, Circle C Ranch, Avana, Shady Hollow, Meridian, and Sendera.
Price Range: One significant difference between living in Southeast and Southwest Austin is the cost. Southwest Austin generally demands higher prices for housing. In 2022, the median sales price for single-family homes in the Southeast Austin ZIP codes mentioned was around $483,000. In contrast, the median sales price for the Southwest Austin ZIP codes listed was approximately $760,000.
Landscape and Development: Southeast Austin offers a mix of rural and urban landscapes. As you head further east, you'll find more open fields and land, indicating future development. It's worth noting that homes in this area, particularly those closer to the east side, may be prone to foundation issues due to the soil composition. Builders now utilize post-tension cable technology to counteract foundation movement, but it's crucial to exercise caution and consider foundation inspections for new construction in the east side.
Southwest Austin boasts a vastly different landscape, characterized by established neighborhoods, abundant greenery, and mature trees. You'll find a remarkable difference when driving through Southeast Austin compared to Southwest Austin. The latter showcases the beauty of nature with oak trees, green parks, and picturesque surroundings.
Amenities and Entertainment: Both Southeast and Southwest Austin offer various amenities and entertainment options. Southeast Austin benefits from its proximity to Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, making it convenient for frequent travelers. While still undergoing development, this area already provides a good range of shopping centers, entertainment options, and restaurants. McKinney Falls State Park is a great outdoor spot in Southeast Austin, offering scenic beauty and hiking trails. Meanwhile Brewing and Fierce Whiskers Distillery are notable establishments for drinks and good food.
In Southwest Austin, residents enjoy easy access to the Texas Hill Country, making it convenient for day trips to places like Dripping Springs and Driftwood. The area features numerous parks, nature preserves, and hiking trails. The Veloway, a bike-only trail, is perfect for outdoor enthusiasts. Southwest Austin is also home to the Arbor Trail Shopping Center, which houses a variety of stores, including Costco and Whole Foods. Moreover, the area boasts a vibrant bar scene, with Manchaca Road offering an array of bars and coffee shops.
Traffic: Traffic conditions in Southeast and Southwest Austin are relatively similar. Southeast Austin residents primarily deal with traffic on I-35, while Southwest Austin residents contend with congestion on Mopac (Loop 1). While traffic is an unavoidable aspect, some people find Mopac traffic more manageable compared to the often congested I-35, especially near downtown Austin.
Schools: When it comes to choosing between Southeast and Southwest Austin, schools play a significant role. All the mentioned ZIP codes in both areas fall under the Austin Independent School District (AISD). However, it's important to note that the school ratings within the district can vary considerably.
In Southeast Austin, high school students are typically zoned to Akins High School (rated 4 out of 10 on GreatSchools). Some areas also fall under Del Valle High School (rated 3 out of 10). Southeast Austin does provide a few options for charter or private schools, such as Harmony School of Excellence, KIPP Academy, and Wayside School.
Southwest Austin generally offers higher-rated schools within the AISD. High school students in this area are typically zoned to Bowie High School (rated 8 out of 10) or Austin High School (rated 6 out of 10). Additionally, Southwest Austin is home to private schools like Regents and the upcoming public charter school, Valor.
Conclusion: In conclusion, choosing between Southeast and Southwest Austin requires careful consideration of various factors. Southeast Austin offers a mix of rapid growth, new developments, and more affordable housing options. On the other hand, Southwest Austin provides a suburban feel, well-established neighborhoods, and higher-priced housing. The landscape, amenities, entertainment options, traffic conditions, and school ratings further differentiate these two areas.
Ultimately, the decision boils down to personal preferences, lifestyle, and budget. By understanding the unique aspects of each region, prospective residents can make an informed choice that aligns with their needs and desires. Whether you prefer the dynamic growth of Southeast Austin or the tranquil suburban charm of Southwest Austin, both areas offer their own distinctive allure within the vibrant city of Austin, Texas.