print’s Best Real Estate Blogs in Austin

Today we take a look at Austin real estate blogs.

Known as an artists’ enclave, Austin is a diverse mix of university professors, students, artists, musicians and high-tech workers. The University of Texas is located in the city, but that is not what Austin is best known for. The official slogan of the town is “The Live Music Capital of the World,” and it is a fitting title. The city hosts the wildly popular SXSW Festival. One of the largest music festivals in the United States, SXSW sports more than 1,400 performers playing in more than 80 venues in Austin during four days in March.

In recent years, many in Austin have also adopted the unofficial slogan “Keep Austin Weird,” which refers to the eclectic and liberal lifestyle of many residents, as well as the unofficial campaign to preserve local businesses and resist excessive corporatization. Despite, or maybe because of efforts to keep Austin’s small-town character, real estate is booming. Moving companies are busy in the city and you can see moving trucks trundling along the streets daily.

As with our past real estate blogs, we were looking for sites that allow visitors who are thinking about moving to the city to view real estate offerings and get great real estate advice, while also exploring neighborhoods through local information, such as restaurants listings, the price of utilities and even lists of the best doctors, dentists  and veterinarians in town.

So without further ado:

Realtor Eric Bramlett, owner and blogger on, gives those interested in the Austin market some real insight with lots of local real estate news, property listings, information on green building and a very lively comments section.

The website and blog are linked to Bramlett’s One Source Realty (he is co-owner). He has been licensed to sell real estate since 2003 and his experience has given him great knowledge of the city. Green building is huge in Austin and Bramlett is all over it, so if saving the planet is your passion, be sure to visit this blog.

The Sky Realty blog features posts from several of their agents, each explaining what properties they are working with and where they see the market going. You can get some really valuable advice from these veterans. covers almost everything that is going on in the city, not just real estate. Here, you can catch up on restaurant news, great shopping, art fairs, charity events, current affairs and of course, the latest real estate news. With the linked Twitter feed, this blog is really connected to the people of Austin.

Austin Real Estate Eye Blog is run by Ryan Kucera, who updates his readers on the real estate market and the local happenings in the neighborhoods of Austin Balconies and Spicewood. During a visit to this blog you can learn where to get free mulch (seriously), perform a home search and get hard numbers on exactly how much the two neighborhoods have grown in the last couple of years.

The Real Deal, run by local newspaper The Statesman, gives real buzz on private and public real estate deals from all over town. This is the place to go if you are looking to buy a home, or see what shop is opening in that vacant spot downtown. The site specializes in business, commercial, restaurant, hotel and downtown real estate news.

Austin Real Estate Guy blog publishes information on current real estate market conditions in the Austin area, and developments that will affect the market in the future. Blogger Sam Chapman is also a real estate agent with Private Label Reality and posts real estate stories heard around town, personal observations and opinions.

In addition to real estate listings, Discovery Austin offers valuable information to visitors and those new to town. Lists of restaurants, watering holes, places to shop and even who is playing SXSW this year are all at your fingertips.

Austin Texas Real Estate Blog is run by Roselind Hejl, a realtor with Coldwell Banker United. The “About Austin” tab, located on the homepage, has great information for those of you who are looking for more information on the city. Spend some time going through details on neighborhoods, schools, Austin lifestyle and government services, just to name a few.

If you have any Austin real estate blogs that you love, send them to us so we can take a look and possibly include them in a future post.

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Finding Your Dream Work

NEW YORK, December 2, 2009 – They’re called “jobbies” — a blend of job and hobby — and the people who pursue them are “hobbers.” They allow us to do what we love with a paycheck (albeit it modest) attached. Many individuals who have found themselves without a “regular” job thanks to the sour economy are taking a fresh look at their professional lives and challenging themselves to pursue work that is more aligned with their passion and curiosity. This kind of soul searching brings with it a number of practical questions, including where to put a stake in the ground to launch this new chapter.

According to’s founder Sharon Sharon Asher, people who are starting fresh often narrow the field of possible locations by considering what resources a community offers that sync with their own interests. “Affordable living costs, a vibrant learning community and a solid foundation of small businesses and entrepreneurial enterprises are attributes that ‘hobbers’ may find most attractive,” says Asher.

Here are a few highlights of several “jobby”-friendly communities:

Athens, Georgia: Known for its beautiful, historical neighborhoods, warm Southern hospitality and, thanks to University of Georgia, a rich intellectual life, Athens provides an invigorating blend of college town, artist community and vibrant music scene to those seeking to set down new roots in a place with broad possibilities.

Gainesville, Florida: Home to the Florida Gators (and yes, also the real deal: Florida ‘gators), Gainesville nurtures a host of small startup companies surrounding the venerable University of Florida at Gainesville. Lovely older neighborhoods, affordable home prices and an easy Southern graciousness make Gainesville a worthy place to find or invent a “jobby.”

Austin, Texas: Selected as the No. 2 Best Big City in “Best Places to Live” by Money magazine, Austin’s vibrant music culture, strong ties to its universities and entrepreneurial setting (its nickname is Silicon Hills) make the city one of the top candidate for hobbers. In addition, in 2009, Forbes designated Austin as one of the least stressful large metro areas (it’s relaxing just reading that sentence). “Keep Austin Weird” is the unofficial slogan for the city.

San Diego, California: Although not an inexpensive place to live, San Diego entices new comers with its mild climate, burgeoning life sciences industry, well respected universities and overall mahalo beach-focused way of life.


WSJ's 'Hot Cities for Youth' Misses One Key Element: Risk


Isn’t youth all about taking risks?

Not if you’re the Wall Street Journal.

It recently consulted a group of demographic and relocation experts and compiled its list of magnet cities for youth, and most of the obvious candidates are there: New York, Washington, D.C., Austin and the rainy redoubts of Seattle and Portland.

‘Post-Recession Boomtowns,’ is how the Journal described them.

But it had a glaring oversight: ‘stretch’ cities. Most of the list are the obvious and safe, with large populations and solid economies.

That probably helped exclude a lot of cities that might have qualified, like, for example, ANY city in the South, and just a couple in the Southwest.

The article notes that Naples, Florida had been listed as a popular relocation destination for youth earlier this decade, but that its pummeling in the economic crisis helped keep it off the list.

Same probably goes for any city in Florida, as well as most large cities in California.

However, isn’t the very pummeling of a city a reason for youths in particular to take a look, particularly as a ‘post-recession boomtown’? The Journal’s list seems to focus on cities that are doing well now, not that might do well in the future.

For example, Portland probably wouldn’t have made this list a decade ago — it was dirty, gritty and didn’t offer much economic opportunity.

But you might say that very reason it’s on the list now is that it attracted youth. That youth helped revitalize the downtown and made it a much more inviting place to live. Inevitably, that helped attracted businesses that wanted to tap into what’s now an enviable lifestyle for people of all ages.

So when you’re looking to move, also take a look at the cities that are in the dumps. You’ll find cheaper housing and a cheaper overall standard of living, and perhaps less competition for entry level jobs as your peers flock to the more popular cities.

And if you’re intent on being an entrepreneur, you’ll probably find local government that would love to give you some financial assistance.

Make your decision for moving based not entirely on how things look now, but how they might look in the future.

Here’s the top 10 (er, 11 – there were some ties that apparently couldn’t be decided by a coin flip).

1. Washington, D.C.: Thank God for the stimulus — what happens when that ends?

1. Seattle (tie): I hear it rains there.

3. New York City: Financial industry not as hard-hit as expected, but let’s wait to see what greater government regulation (or more accurately, enforcement) does to it.

4. Portland, Ore.: See Seattle

5. Austin, Texas: I imagine even Austin is getting tired of making everyone’s top 10 list (including our own Best Places for a Fresh Start).

6. San Jose, Calif.

7. Denver: If you can’t work, you can at least ski (if you can afford to ski).

8. Raleigh-Durham, N.C.: Another fave on the top cities lists.

9: Dallas: Buoyed by oil, it will continue to do well.

10: Chicago: You don’t see this on many lists, and I don’t know why — great econ and Olympics tie should help.

10: Boston: Also not a city you see much on these lists.


Housing Bubble Popped, Western Cities Face Long Road Back

I wrote a few months about Richard Florida’s assertion that Western cities that in the past have enjoyed huge influxes of folks from the ‘Rust Belt’ face significant challenges in this recession.

We’re starting to see just how significant.

An article in the New York Times points out some startling statistics for 2001-2007.

“About 20 percent of private industry growth in the United States was tied to real estate and construction. In the Phoenix area, almost 36 percent of growth in the private economy during that period — more than $34 billion worth — came from real estate and construction.”

I’m sure these areas have always had higher proportions of their economy tied to construction and real estate. However, it shows the danger in that overreliance, and it shows that these areas, more than most, will have a hard time digging out from the aftermath of this recession.


'Reloville' – Social Study, or History Book?

Take Me Away to ReloVille If you’re like me these days, you’re reading more book reviews than actual books — it’s cheaper and much, much quicker.

But I recently came across a book that might get me to reading, and it might interest those in the relocation/moving industry as well: “Next Stop Reloville” by Peter Kilborn.

Kilborn documents (lionizes?) a community of workers in the country for whom relocation is just another part of the job — here today, Detroit tomorrow.

They follow the job opportunities where they are, using the relocations to command a premium for their efforts, and often moving up steadily on the corporate ladder.

What’s so interesting to me about the book is its topicality, but not for the reasons you might suspect. It seems more history book than current social commentary. The way of the relocation specialist might be going the way of the dodo bird (and eventually Twitter, one might hope).

Companies are really backing out of the relo game — it’s expensive to relocate someone, even though many companies have moved away from handling all the aspects of the relocation themselves and instead just give the employees the lump sums to move themselves.

Even so, by all appearances, fewer employees are being relocated, for the obvious reasons –why would you need to relocate a skilled employee when there might so many eligible candidates in your own community?

People will still need to keep moving, but it’s doubtful that this class of road warrior will be the prominent variety, and those who are overly dependent on them should plan accordingly.


Grapes of Wrath Redux? Relo Survey Finds Long-Distance Moves the New Norm

When helping put together a press release for our recent survey, I grappled with comparisons to the Great Depression — making historical comparisons is fraught with peril.

But I did it anyway. Why?


Well, compared to a study we performed in 2008, we found that more people nowadays are moving a long distance (we define a long move as one over 1,000 miles). In our 2008 survey, 36% said they were moving that distance; in our 2009 survey, 70% said they were.

When I heard this, visions of John Steinbeck’s ‘Grapes of Wrath’ leapt to mind — legions of the down-on-their-luck trekking halfway across the country in search of a better life.

Granted, there’s a significant factor behind our findings: people aren’t “trading up” anymore. This became sport during the housing bubble — take the big gain in your current house and leverage that into a bigger and more expensive house across town, or even in your own neighborhood.

That worked until housing prices crashed. People are much less able to tap the gain in their home (if they have one) and apply that to a bigger house.

But there’s something else afoot here — fewer people are moving, of course, but those who are, are moving longer distances.

Load Up the Jalopy

First, if you don’t have a job, you’re going to move to where your employment prospects are brighter. If that’s 1,000 miles away, you’re going to do that.

Second, our survey also found that more people are citing “family” as a reason they move — in 2008, 18% said they were moving for family reasons; in 2009, 28% said they were doing so.

Unfortunately, we didn’t dig into this stat very deeply (kick to self…), but we can make a few obvious assumptions.

First, maybe they were just moving to be closer to their family for personal reasons to be closer to them.

Or maybe reflecting harder economic times, people are moving in with relatives to save on housing costs. And if they aren’t moving IN with family, maybe they want to be closer to them for a support system to help with child care, etc.

After digesting all this, I start thinking about it historically.

Looking for a Better Life

And historically, periods of economic distress cause shifts in population. In the 30s, the economy exacerbated an already horrific econological disaster — the Dust Bowl. Millions fled.

The ‘Great Migration’ of African Americans from the South to Northern cities in the early 20th century was the result of several factors, including festering racism, but a primary factor was also the economy — again, migration over great distances for greater opportunities.

Finally, the recession in the late 70s/early ’80s helped spark an exodus of sorts from northern states to the South and Southwest.

So I think it’s inevitable that this recession will produce people who are moving longer distances for economic opportunities. We’re already seeing some of that — the migration from Detroit. Our own own data shows a pretty stunning outflow of people moving from Detroit and some other hard-pressed cities, and states like California are showing outflows of population, again backed up both by our own data and Census data.

As this recession unfolds, it will be interesting to see which other areas of the country see more migration out than in (Texas is pretty clearly attracting new residents). But it’s much less clear about other states and cities.

The question for those in the relocation biz — real estate agents, moving companies — is figuring out what this means for their business.

Does this change the way you market for your clients?

It should. And if not, it will.

— Tim Johnson,


Montana Continues to Attract Movers

Montana is likely to continue attracting newcomers to the state if it sticks to recent trends, our statistics have found. analyzed nearly 500,000 requests for moving services in 2008 and found that 59% of all interstate move requests for Montana involved people wanting to move to Montana; 41% of moving requests involved people looking to move out of the state.

So for every 100 people looking to move out of Montana, 145 were looking to move to Montana. The number is consistent with 2007 data, when 62% of moving requests for Montana involved people wanting to move there, while 38% were looking to leave the state. Our statistics cover roughly 3% of moves made anually in the U.S.

Click here for more information on the survey and which states continue to attract residents.