Austin has gotten pretty used to landing on top 10 and "best" lists. For at least the past 20 years, seemingly on a daily basis, it has been declared one of the best US cities for millennials, dog-lovers, fitness and outdoorsy types, techies, entrepreneurs, workers in general, single people, married people, parents, musicians (ha), affordability (also ha), and more. That's when it wasn't being declared simply the best city in the United States.
Most of the time, the city shares these lists with other growing-but-not-quite-huge-yet, outdoorsy spots that until recently were thought of as slow-paced but funky—some of them not infrequently referred to as "the next Austin."
So it's no surprise that Austin was shortlisted in a recent Today show report that’s creating an internet stir. The focus of the report, however, might give one pause. It seems Austin is now on the list of “Top 10 cities to live in after the pandemic."
NBC’s Today show, beamed out to an estimated 5 million morning viewers, noted on Tuesday that Pew Research has shown about 22 percent of US adults have either moved during the COVID-19 pandemic or know someone who has.
The stolid morning show tapped Stefani Berkin, president of R New York, that city's fifth-largest real estate company, for intel on where Americans might want to buy a home when the pandemic eases but many workers will still be untethered.
Austin is neither the largest nor the most expensive place to buy a home on the unranked list—those would be Phoenix, Arizona, and Boulder, Colorado, respectively—but it's near the top in both respects.
The list is heavy on Sunbelt cities (Nashville, Tennessee; Charleston, South Carolina; Tampa, Florida; Atlanta, Georgia; the aforementioned Phoenix), a category that Austin certainly falls into. Its populace also shares a penchant for outdoor recreation and what could be described as a creative, college-town vibe with cities such as Boulder, Colorado; Portland, Oregon; and Raleigh, North Carolina.
In spite of a Zillow-determined February median sale home price of $454,896—and let's not even get into the scarcity of inventory—the segment lauds Austin ("Silicon Hills," if you prefer) as "home to affordable housing options, lots of job opportunities and a bustling art scene." It notes the continuing influx of big tech companies that are expanding their footprints or moving their headquarters to the city (or both), namechecking Telsa and Apple, and attributes a confidence in the local economy to that growing sector. It makes mention of the lack of state income tax and the whole "Live Music Capital of the World" thing. Finally, according to the report, the city still has a "fun and friendly culture."
You can find the full list of the cities in the story linked below.