Austin is one of the hottest housing markets in the country nowadays. In fact, the Austin metropolitan area rose a whopping 65 spots on Realtor.com's hotness rankings in just the last 12 months.
And in April? Austin's median sales price hit an all-time high of $460,000, and sales climbed a jaw-dropping 37% year over year.
Clearly, if you've already invested in the market, you're set to make a pretty penny when it's time to sell. If you haven't yet bought into Austin, though, you still have a chance -- especially if you look to the 'burbs.
Not familiar with the area? Here are five Austin suburbs that deserve a look.
Leander, situated just north of the city, is one of the hottest suburbs in the region. It has a great school district, relatively new housing stock, and many amenities -- including a historic district, a community college, tons of local parks and playgrounds, and a commuter train that runs from Leander straight into downtown Austin.
The market's great for long-term and rental investors alike. If you're willing to brave the red-hot market, you could see big returns a few years down the road. The median price in the area has climbed as much as 50% in just the last three years.
If you're on the hunt for new rentals, Leander won't disappoint. About 22% of households rent in the area, according to the Census Bureau. And what's even better? Rental prices are up 12% on some properties.
Pflugerville is another northern suburb investors may want to explore. The town has its own water park, a highly rated school district, and a BMX park. The city's also home to even more renters (over a quarter of all residents) than nearby Leander, and rents are up 4% to 10%, depending on the property size. The average price for a one-bedroom apartment is $1,098, but three bedrooms can go for $1,850.
Homes are gaining serious value here, too. In the last year, prices have increased by nearly 40 %. Though, at a median price of $425,000, they're still well below the region's average.
3. Round Rock
Round Rock has been one of the hottest suburbs in Austin for years now. The city boasts tons of activities and amenities. With a minor league ballpark (the Round Rock Express plays there), an outlet mall, and the Rock'N River Water Park, there's something for all ages in this bustling 'burb.
Rental prices in the area have also increased since last year. Two- and three-bedroom apartments are up 12%, while four-bedroom units have jumped a whopping 18% to $2,200 per month. With nearly 40% of the city's residents renting, Round Rock offers a prime opportunity for investors to make some cash.
For a suburban investment super close to downtown, Buda's your answer. A mere 15 miles south of the city, it takes only about 20 minutes to get to the heart of Austin -- at least outside of high-traffic times.
Buda's also a very renter-friendly town. About one-third of the city's households are renting, and rents are up in the area. One-bedroom units have seen rent prices jump 16% YOY, while four-bedroom apartments have increased 20%.
At a median price of $400,000, Buda homes come in quite a bit lower than in Austin proper but jumping almost 43% in just the last year.
5. Cedar Park
Finally, there's Cedar Park. This booming Austin suburb is just a quick drive north from downtown and is home to wineries, parks, trails, and even a steam train museum. In addition, the city boasts the HEB Center at Cedar Park, which hosts concerts and events; the Cedar Park Rodeo; the Texas Stars (an affiliate of the San Antonio Spurs); and more.
About 32% of area residents are renters. And local rent prices are on the rise: Two-bedroom units are up 7%, three-bedroom units are up 9%, and four-bedroom rentals are up a whopping 20%.
Buyer beware, though: You'll pay a pretty penny for homes in this area. The median price for a Cedar Park home clocks in at $525,000 -- much higher than the $460,000 seen in Austin.
The bottom line
If you're interested in the Austin market, there are plenty of suburbs deserving of a look. If you're investing from afar, though, make sure to connect with a local real estate agent who can give you the latest data from the ground and be your eyes and ears if you choose to buy a property remotely.