More About Texas (Houses)

>> 2.07.2011

Remember when I mentioned crazy Texas weather last week? Well, IN ONE WEEK it went from 78 degrees (Monday) to this on Friday:

Yes, my dogs wear boots and coats...

Yeah, that's crazy. Well, you might also remember me bringing up our yearly property taxes (2.3%) in that same post. A couple of people mentioned the lower housing prices as a nice trade off and it made me begin to wonder how different our housing prices are from those lower taxed areas. To compare, I've rounded up a few examples of homes in the Austin area. I stole borrowed all of the images below from here and based my selections off of "pending" sales only (because there are quite a few dreamers out there overpricing their homes). 

Here's a selection of what you can buy in Austin from most central (most desirable) to farthest away: 

Affordable Central Austin House

Pending at $275,000
2/1.5 with 950 square feet

built in 1937
This home is was perfectly redone! Too bad it's so small!

Central Austin Family House

Pending at $529,000
4/2 with 2,322 square feet
built in 1960
If you want size in a nice central neighborhood, you're looking at $400,000+

Almost Central Austin House

Pending at $349,900
3/2 with 1,651 square feet
built in 1962
Bigger lots, great schools, and <15 minutes from downtown.

Far Southwest Austin House

Pending at $272,250
4/2.5 with 2,563 square feet
built in 2005
Same price as "Affordable Central Austin House" but twice the size... and five times the commute.

Round Rock House

Pending at $154,900
4/2.5 with 2,062 square feet
built in 2000
This house is in a suburb north of Austin called Round Rock. The prices up there are amazing (when compared to Austin), but, in my opinion, the proximity to the city isn't worth it.

How do the home prices match up in your area?


Jenna Scott February 7, 2011 at 11:50 AM  

Home prices here don't match any of it! (Las Vegas, NV)

I got my home just last year, brand new... $140,000 for 1400 square feet. Most of the older homes we were looking at (around 1000-1400 sq. ft.) were under 150,000. It's pretty cheap in Vegas right now. If I move to the Austin area, which I'm planning on, I'm going to have to go to the outskirts. I love the history in Georgetown, so that's a possibility, and I also love Cedar park, or hill... I never remember the name of it. Thanks for posting this! I keep telling my husband how expensive inner austin is compared to where we are now, and he just doesn't believe me!

Jill February 7, 2011 at 11:58 AM  

i have family in round rock! but we're looking to move to san antonio where my hubby's fam lives.

i live in chicagoland. not the city, but the surrounding area. the average home prices in the southern burbs is cheaper than the western/northern area. in my hometown the average 3 bed house costs $250,000... the more expensive areas an average size 3/4 house can be $400,000 easily.

in the horrible town i live in now (on the FAR south eastern side of chicagoland) ..the house across the street went for $30,000 2 years ago. it's a VERY NICE 2 bed. the owner (my brother in law) is reselling it for 80,000 after redoing the bathroom and installing carpet...fixing it up a little.

our house is a duplex. it would go for $100,000 if we're VERY lucky. it'll probably sell for $85/90,000

my hubby's father owns an apartment building just blocks away. 3 apartment units + 1 store AND a seperate building for a small store. the apartments are two 3 bedroom apartments + one 2 bedroom apartment. he's looking to sell it (both buildings) for $130,000. we'd be lucky to get $120,000. they're pretty nice apartments. very clean and quiet. we lived there a couple years ago.

we live in a bad area. that's why the houses are so cheap.

Mrs. Chic February 7, 2011 at 11:58 AM  

Right now in N. Cali prices are all over the map some areas are down and some areas are up its crazy! Within 10 miles homes vary from 100k to 800k

Kasey at Thrifty Little Blog February 7, 2011 at 12:07 PM  

@Jenna Scott~ A lot of people think that Texas = cheap... really, it's more like "some of Texas" = cheap. I'm with ya, Central Austin is not cheap!

@Jill~ I've heard that San Antonio has some great deals! Good Luck :)

@Mrs. Chic~ From what I've heard, California is probably the craziest housing market!

Kim @ NewlyWoodwards February 7, 2011 at 12:20 PM  

It's probably more like comparing apples to oranges - you are in a major metro area, and I'm... not. ;) It's very easy to find a very nice home (or sell one) in my area for $150K and less. There are certainly huge homes/new area/more land that go up to $500K and more. Since we buy houses that don't qualify as nice by any standards, our max is $40K.

I would live in that little house in a second. Love it. So much charm.

katiekathleen February 7, 2011 at 12:26 PM  

Unrelated to housing prices, but what kind of boots do your dogs wear? I'm in Illinois (currently enjoying 6+ inches of snow, blegh!) and I'm considering buying a pair for my 40 lb pup. Thoughts?

Amanda @ Little House on the Corner February 7, 2011 at 12:50 PM  

Interesting!! Those are some really neat houses. But $275,000 for 950 square feet?!?! Holy moly.

I'd say the far southwest Austin house or the Round Rock house are a little more comparable to the prices where I live here in KS. The cost of living is pretty affordable here for what you get.

Kasey at Thrifty Little Blog February 7, 2011 at 1:02 PM  

@katiekathleen~ My one thought on dog boots is to go as cheap as possible! We're already down a boot and Hugo has only worn his twice. I'm okay with it only because I paid $1 for the set at a garage sale :).

We have two different brands, but I think that one pair of boot is Outward Hound. It is made of a canvas-like material and seems to say on better than the fleece and rubber set. My dogs hated them for about 30 seconds... but got over it once they realized we were going on a walk.

Anonymous,  February 7, 2011 at 3:50 PM  

Round Rock is not a suburb of Austin. =D
Some folks don't mind the commute but personally I would hate driving I-35. Yikes!

Gorgeous weather again on Saturday & Sunday. I'm so over winter. *sigh*


LizzieBeth February 7, 2011 at 3:50 PM  

It really varies in my area. You could easily find a 12oo sq ft fixer upper in Norristown for $150K, however, if you go towards the Main Line (Ardmore, Devon, Bryn Mawr, etc) you will be hard pressed first off to find anything that small, and if you do, it won't be under $300K.

I have to say I was slightly surprised by some of the prices around Austin. I guess it's maybe around Houston where it is a little cheaper??


Kasey at Thrifty Little Blog February 7, 2011 at 4:15 PM  

@LizzieBeth~ Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio are all less expensive than Austin overall (more supply, more neighborhoods). Austin has been growing like crazy and there's just more demand for central housing. My parents sold a house in "near central" in 1996 that would sell for over double the price today.

Hilary @ My So-Called Home February 7, 2011 at 5:21 PM  

I didn't realize Austin was so expensive. I'm from central Jersey and it's pretty bad over here, price-wise. You can't get into a nice house for less than $250 unless it's a condo or townhouse, or you plan to do a lot of renovating. But to even get a fixer-upper in a nice neighborhood could run you $300 or more! Not cool when you're a young, first-time buyer.

Kate@TwentySixToLife February 7, 2011 at 8:30 PM  

Housing prices are INSANE around here. Those are all easily $500k+ houses if they were in my area. Unfortunately there's not really cheaper area around here either :( At least we have a good job market (which drives up the price of housing...).

I love that photo of the four of you (yes, I include the dogs!) - you guys are a great looking family :)

Sara @ Russet Street Reno February 7, 2011 at 9:31 PM  

Those prices are pretty high. While we have 2.3% property tax, the prices of the houses are all under 200k for nice-sized 3 bedroom 2 bath homes. Most are under 160k. Plus, we have Lake Michigan less than a 10 minute drive away. I love it here! Even with the crazy amounts of snow :)

Cindy @The Flipping Couple February 9, 2011 at 12:59 PM  

I'm a fellow city-proper dweller, so those prices seem about right to me. Some of the "suburb" prices you listed are quite low compared to what they'd be around here, though. Well, depending on the suburb, obviously. That first house is a total charmer. So beautiful!

Anonymous,  February 10, 2011 at 12:09 PM  

Take those prices and double them (or add 3/4) = Seattle

Anonymous,  March 12, 2011 at 3:01 PM  

Around Arlington VA you can buy a condo that's 1/2 the squarefootage for the same price. There's this remodeled home I have a crush on - built in 1902, no garage, completelty awesome location 1/2 mile to metro, about 2400 sqft - listed for a cool million... *sigh*

I bought in 2008 and snapped up a great deal on 40 year old 1600 sqft townhouse 50 mintues west in a immigrant heavy neighborhood with bad schools. I'm an agent and most buyers wouldnt have found the deal or seen the potential.

Total cost for my home plus closing costs/ windows/ roof/ floors/ misc repair costs was about $175,000.

Go 30 minutes straight south and you can buy a really awful townhouse in an unsafe neighborhood for 45k.

sharpelook April 27, 2011 at 12:51 PM  

Kasey, it wasn't until I got down to this post that I realized you lived in Texas. The couch from PB Outlet hinted a little because I think there are only five. We bought a house in Cedar Park (just north of Austin) and probably got double the house, for what a small bungalo in Austin would have cost.
I love that you have such a dedicated monthly budget, but still admit that there are things you aren't willing to skimp on (ice cream + shoes)! I'll look forward to reading much more of your budget tips and revelations.

Kasey at Thrifty Little Blog April 28, 2011 at 2:18 PM  

@sharpelook~ Hey, neighbor! Aren't we lucky to live so close to two great outlets?!

Allison @ House of Hepworths August 17, 2012 at 11:02 AM  

We live in a very nice neighborhood in far NW Austin. Our house is about 3800 sq ft and we paid about $300k as a foreclosure, so it could probably sell for more like $330 or so. You can get houses this size for $100k less than ours, but again, we bought in a nicer neighborhood with great schools and a strict HOA.

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