Location, Location, Location: Local Realtors give the inside scoop on housing and commuting

It’s no mystery to those searching for a home in Austin that car commutes can be a slog in our growing city. Sure, there are proposed road projects, but that’s not exactly appealing to residents who need to get out and about on a daily basis.

That’s why more and more Realtors are using factors like walkability, access to transit and short (or nonexistent) commutes to help showcase properties. More and more buyers are looking for those things, too, when they search homes. Movability Staff chatted with a few realtors to dig into this new trend.

Jude Galligan

Jude is the founder of the well-read Downtown Austin Blog and of REATX (Real Estate in Austin, Texas).  He lives in downtown Austin and is active in the community, serving on the board of directors of the Downtown Austin Alliance, Downtown Austin Neighborhood Association, and is an appointee to the City of Austin Downtown Commission.

REATX 2012

What role do commuting and alternative transportation play in residential real estate?

“Here in Austin if you don’t acknowledge that short commutes are desirable, you’re missing the boat. Here’s what I see happening: a lot of suburban buyers from Westlake, Lake Travis, and Lakeway feel completely disconnected from Austin because every trip requires them to get in a car. When you have to get in a car, you’re missing things like casual encounters with friends on the street, or the fact that you can get on your bike or use car2go to get around.”

 

What are some of the best places to live in Austin for commuting?

“The most genuinely walkable neighborhoods are fairly limited, but also well defined: West Campus, Clarksville, Hyde Park, Downtown, close-in parts of East Austin and South Congress. I will look up a listing’s Walkscore and use that.”

 

What trends are you seeing when it comes to commuting options?

“I expect bike share is going to be massive. I think now that we’ve had car2go for a few years people are starting to trust it and understand it, that will pick up.”

 

In your dream scenario, what would Austin’s transportation infrastructure look like?

“It would include more dedicated bike lanes, and a predictable, robust circulator system, and slowing down traffic speeds in the middle of downtown.”

 

Sam Archer

Sam is an Austin Realtor with a background as eclectic as Austin’s. He served in the Peace Corps in Guatemala and has worked for the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission and Capital Metro. He is a former board member of Austin CarShare, chairman of the Waller Creek Citizen Advisory Committee, and a founding member of the Board Invitational 100 Miler cycling event benefiting the Ronald McDonald House of Austin. 

 SamArcherWhat role do commuting and alternative transportation play in residential real estate?

“A lot of my buyers choose to spend more on housing to allow them to avoid transportation costs, and the time costs of transportation. Walkability is a big deal for me, and I direct people to consider that. I market that quite a bit, the ability to have proximity to things you want to be near, and not having to use the car for every trip.

 

What are some of the best places to live in Austin for commuting?

“Bouldin, Travis Heights, Hyde Park, North University, even up to Crestview, Brentwood and Rosedale – those are all areas where there’s a substantial amount of interest in commuting alternatives, and part of it has to do with the extent of transportation options other than a single occupancy vehicle.

 

What trends are you seeing when it comes to commuting options?

“I’d say proximity to transit options is a trend. With the RedLine there’s been more interest in that. With MetroRapid, people have expressed a curiosity about that. My experience has been increasing interest in options other than having to get in a car by yourself.

 

In your dream scenario, what would Austin’s transportation infrastructure look like?

“There would be a super wide array of transportation options for people to choose from, and it would include the things we have currently, but that we don’t have in enough density. More bike lanes, better limited bus service, light rail.”

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