Wednesday, July 14, 2010

South Austin Neighborhood Profile: Southwood

I am working on a series of  Austin neighborhood profiles. Those of you who know me, know that South Austin is where I live and often work---so it seemed like the best place to start!

Do you like to avoid IH 35? Do you like Sno Cones? Do you like to go to a corner store that is not corporate owned? Would you like to have a couple of chickens? Do you value space over status? If so, Southwood could be the neighborhood for you!

Geographically, Southwood is defined by Ben White Boulevard to the North, Manchaca Road to the west, W. Stassney Lane to the west (to the RR tracks) and to the east, South First Street including the greenbelt surrounded by Williamson Creek east of the intersection of South First Street and Emerald Wood Street .

You see a lot of bumper stickers around town promoting the virtues of South Austin and their corresponding zip codes and there is an undeniable sense of neighborhood pride that exists south of the river. South Austin represents a lack of pretense and harmony for many of it’s residents and I am really proud to count myself among them.

In recent years,  home values in the Travis Heights, Bouldin Creek, Zilker and SOCO neighborhoods have increased greatly, pricing out many first time home buyers. In my experience, those buyers are heading south of Ben White and it’s easy to see why.

In Travis Heights a 2 bedroom / 1 bath house under 1000 sqft can cost $350,000 and up. It will probably be really awesome and charming. It will be within walking distance to all kinds of cool stuff. Don’t get me wrong, I love Travis Heights and the surrounding neighborhoods, but for many folks this is not a viable financial option.

In the Southwood area you can find a 3 bedroom / 2 bath house, 1200 sqft + with some good yard space for under $225,000! A majority of the houses were built in the 60’s and 70’s. These eras  don’t always conjure up charm and style for many folks (much like the 30’s and 40’s era houses do), but these properties have great potential and many creative folks are making great design choices and are realizing that you don’t have to sacrifice style for space.

This neighborhood is also shaping up to be a good place to invest. We have seen very healthy appreciation in this area in the last 5-7 years and there is no indication that it won’t continue.

People who want to buy in the Travis Heights, Bouldin Creek, Zilker and SOCO neighborhoods, but can’t--don’t want to go north, so south of Ben White is where they are choosing to live. It's easy to get to downtown and avoid IH35, Central Market and a Newflower Market are nearby, there are many parks and public pools around, and lots of taco stands and sno-cone trucks.

Contact me if you would like to know more about Southwood or other South Austin neighborhoods.