The East Austin Renaissance - Blessing or Obstacle?

Posted by Diane Johnson on Thursday, June 4th, 2015 at 11:40am.

east austin renaissanceAustin has recently received a lot of buzz - it was named the best place to buy a home, a tech and counter-culture capital, and one of the friendliest cities in America just in this past year. Austin is increasingly being regarded as a futuristic city at the forefront of "smart" building and sustainable development. Just this month, an Austin home was awarded the prestigious title of best energy-smart home of the year.

Most of this adoration, however tends to focus on real estate at the core of the city. However, the complete realization of this trailblazing, hyper-advanced Austin has another side to it.

East Austin is a perfect example of a formerly low cost & low-income area of Austin that has been subject to a sharp increase in prices due to some of Austin's impressive but precarious revitaliziation undertakings. Many of the east side's oldest and most close-knit neighborhoods are falling apart due to the exponential appreciation rates of East Austin real estate. This rapid change in an area once known as one of the most affordable areas of Austin is strongly evident when assessing property taxes.

Take the case of a tiny 410 sq. ft East Austin home for sale which garnered local curiosity earlier this month. This particular property's value has increased from approximately $7,000 to approximately $270,000 between 1993 and today. With this comes the revelation that the University of Texas at Austin has plans to expand to East Austin - a project expected to cost over $166,000,000. If this follows through, university facilities and student housing will grow in the area and East Austin will receive a full reboot.

While there are well-founded concerns about affordability in East Austin, the region's development will also lead to many observable city-wide benefits.

What are your thoughts on East Austin's changing landscape? Let us know in the comments!

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