Austin City Guide

By Victoria Fellows


Everything you need to know about relocating to Austin, Texas

If you’re considering relocating to Austin, Texas then you’re not alone. Home to Apple, 3M, Facebook, Google, a foodie’s paradise and 300 days of sunshine a year - it’s no surprise Austin is a magnet for anyone looking to live and work in a Stateside technology hub.

Austin is the capital of Texas. It spans three counties and has a population of 964,000 people with a very unique culture of music, food, and cool that places Austin as the best place to live on the US News’ Best Places to Live in the USA list.

Housing in Austin, Texas  

The cost of living in Austin is high compared to life elsewhere in Texas, but it’s still around 2% lower than the national average cost of living in the States. Having said that, the actual cost of housing is around 2% higher than the national average. Austin has seen a growth in house prices over recent years, and its status as a major tech city is making the city attractive to young home-buyers.

The average cost of a home in Austin is around $378,300 – that’s higher than the average cost of a house in Texas which is a more moderate $200,400. However, this is offset by the average wage paid in Austin being much higher than elsewhere in Texas.

For those wanting to rent in Austin, the average cost of renting is not far off the average national rental cost. In some of the more up-market areas of Austin like Market District and West End, the luxury homes and high-rise apartments can demand rents of more than $2,500, but head north and you’ll get better value for money with rental costs of around $1,000.  More popular neighbourhoods such as Travis Heights, Hyde Park, South Congress and East Riverside tend to have much more sensible rental rates that hover around that national average of $1431.

Becoming a homeowner in Austin is much more attainable than buying somewhere like San Francisco or New York, with a typical house price of $454,896. Cedar Park, Pflugerville and Round Rock are worth taking a look at. Also, if you are buying a property in Texas, you’ll need to set aside around 2.06% for property tax.

Visa requirements for working in Austin

If you’re staying in Texas for less than 90 days, you may be exempt from needing a visa. This is dependent on you being from one of the 38 countries on the Visa Waiver Program. You’ll need a full US working visa if you’re looking to live and work in Austin, Texas. However, If you’re not, you’ll need a non-immigrant work visa.

If you do need a long-term visa, the visa you need will be dependent on your own situation. Where you’re from, how long you are staying, the type of work you will be doing and more will all have their part to play in the type of visa you need.

The cost of living in Austin

In Austin, a meal for two at a mid-range restaurant will cost around $60, but a Mcdonalds or equivalent fast-food meal will only set you back around $8. You can enjoy a draught beer for around $5 for 500cl, whereas a 330cl imported bottle will cost around $7. And you can expect to pay around $2.62 for a loaf of bread and just a little more for a dozen eggs.

Salaries in Austin

According to salary expert the average salary in Austin, Texas is $60,670 per year. However, this is an average and salaries can go much higher – particularly in tech with so many Fortune 500 companies clamouring for technology skills and expertise. For example, a Dev+ Engineer can expect to command a cool $129,910 whilst a UX Design manager can expect a salary of $108,000. For those with experience in data and analytics, a typical salary would be around $105,000.

Commuting and Public Transport in and around Austin 

With 1,600 bus stops and 82 different bus routes, the Capital Metro Bus System will not leave you stranded. Central Texas itself is served by local MetroRapid limited-stop, MetroFlyer, MetroExpress, and University of Texas Shuttle Routes. Day passes start at just $2.50, making it a cost-effective and environmentally friendly way to get around town.  However, a bus isn’t your only option. There’s the MetroRail train which operates 6 days a week, taxis, bikes and scooter rentals that can be collected from more than 40 different stations and even pedicabs which are pulled by licensed cyclists who work solely on tips.

The Education system in Austin

The Texan state provides a public school system (like the British state school system) which is free for all children in Texas. These schools are self-governing with their own leadership but are accountable to the state. The system is made up of elementary schools which feed into middle schools that then feed into high schools. After which, students can choose to go on to college or University.  

There are private school options too, which typically cost around $10,119 per year. But some private schools do advertise fees as low as 2,000.  

Global technology companies in Austin

The list of global tech firms that have found a home in Austin Texas is immense. AMD, Adobe, Amazon, Apple, Arm Holdings, AT&T, Atlassian, and that’s just the As. Other notable companies include Hewlett-Packard, Facebook (now Meta), Dropbox, eBay, Nokia, IBM … the list goes on.

Dell Technologies is the 4th largest employer in the region with more than 14,030 employees and Samsung Austin Semiconductor employs just under 9,000 people.

It isn’t just global tech giants that you’ll find in Silicon Hill, there are numerous start-ups too. Some of those you might have heard of include Babylon, BigCommerce, Aristocrat and Bestow. In fact, with such a diverse range of companies, all offering a diverse range of packages, you can find the role that best suits your lifestyle in Austin. There are some companies offering tuition support, those offering flexible working, a few that advertise unlimited vacation days and some that actively promote diversity.

Things to do in Austin in your spare time 

Austin’s sun-baked days are filled with opportunity. It’s no wonder that stars like Owen Wilson, Sandra Bullock, Matthew McConaughey, Nelly, Andy Roddick, Elijah Wood and Renee Zellwegger have chosen to set up home in Austin.

If you get bored of star-spotting you can always head to some of the city’s green spaces. There’s Zilker park where you can rent a canoe or cool off in the pool or for a spot of history you can check out Lyndon B. Johnson Library and Museum and browse everything from the former president’s recorded phone conversations to an impressive collection of historical artefacts.

You can hook yourself up with some genuine Texan boots at Allen’s Boots or enjoy something delectable at Sandra Bullock’s restaurant on Sixth Street, ‘Walton’s Fancy and Staple’.

If you’re itching to get active, you can hike a ten-mile trail around Lady Bird Lake. And don’t be thinking that by moving to the city you’re giving up on nature – every evening from late March through to early autumn, 1.5million bats swarm beneath Congress Avenue Bridge and Texans gather to watch the creatures come out to feed. There’s even a Bat Fest each August which, alongside the bats, features an impressive list of musicians.

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