The pandemic and stay-at-home orders caused many people to move, whether it’s a new job or wanting a lower cost of living as everyone continues to work remotely. The report from the “Emerging Trends in Real Estate® 2022” reports that “almost two-thirds of real estate professionals believe that fewer than 75% of workers will come to the office at least three days a week in 2022.” And a recent McKinsey survey found that nine out of 10 companies will keep their remote work arrangements even after the pandemic. Real Simple found the five best cities for a low cost of living without sacrificing lifestyle, and here’s why Austin is on the list.
Best City for Employers
Austin has a large number of companies, ranging from industries like tech with Facebook, IBM, Dell, and Google to big retailers like Whole Foods and Amazon, and there’s more to come! Big companies moving to Austin or making their stay more permanent in the past year or so are Tesla, Google, Amazon, SpaceX, Apple, Facebook, Canva, and Oracle. Plus many tech companies moved their headquarters to Austin in the past year. In just 2021 alone, over 150 companies expanded or moved to Austin. In 2020, the number was around 130.
More employers mean more job opportunities. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found that the Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos area had a 3.8% unemployment rate in August 2021. The national unemployment rate for September 2021 was 4.8%. According to the Austin Chamber of Commerce, more than 22,000 jobs were added to Austin from companies expanding or moving to the city in 2020. This is almost a 10,000 difference compared to 2019’s 13,562 jobs in 2019.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the median household income in Austin was $71,576 in 2019. The Austin Chamber quotes the median household income in the Austin MSA as $80,954 in 2019. This is almost a $15,000 increase compared to the state’s median household income of $64,034 and the national median of $65,712. According to the same data, the largest household by income at 31.1% have an income range between $75,000 and $149,000. The main point: the average salary for a household is at least $70,000.
Best City for Outdoor Activities
With Austin’s moderate temperature year-round, the locals take advantage of it by embracing the great outdoors! Hiking, walking, and running are some of the more popular activities. This is made possible by the Lady Bird Lake Hike and Bike Trail and the Greenbelt. Plus, the several State Parks within an hour’s drive of Austin!
The next most popular activity would be swimming, especially during the summer months when temperatures can get over 100 degrees. Popular local locations are Barton Springs with its 68-degree water all year round, Deep Eddy, and Barton Creek Greenbelt. If you’re okay with a little drive, less than an hour, these are some great day trips for a swim: Hamilton Pool, McKinney Falls, Krause Springs, and Wimberley Blue Hole.
Tying in with the water theme, water activities are extremely popular in Austin. A big part of this is thanks to Lady Bird Lake going through the downtown area. Along Lady Bird, you’ll find several rental companies for paddle boarding or kayaking.