Avery Ranch (North…Austin?) vs. Circle C Ranch (SW Austin)

In response to my last post about Circle C being a hot area, a blog reader posted the following question:

Hi Steve!

Why is Area SW so hot? It just seems to me most of Austin has develop towards the northwest area toward the Cedar Park/Round Rock area. There seems to be more shopping, major employers, and roads here. Most of the new toll roads will be here as well as Texas 45, 183A, and the MoPac extension will all be done by the end of 2007.

I just bought a house in Avery Ranch a few months ago. Can you give me the same statistics for this subdivision? Thanks!


Leon makes some good points and asks a good question. Let me see if I can answer.

As to why we like South Austin better than the north? First and foremost are the stats. Let’s have a look.


Circle C vs. Avery Ranch Sales
January thru March 2005 and 2006
Circle C
Avery Ranch
# Sold
Avg Sales Price
Avg Price Per SqFt
Avg Days on Market
Avg Size in Square Feet
# Sold below $200,000


The average home in Avery Ranch doesn’t sell today for more than it would have a year ago. Nobody likes zero appreciation. The homes in South Austin’s areas 10 and SW, including Circle C, are selling for substantially more than a year ago.

Personally, I’ve lived in Austin since 1985 and Sylvia grew up here. Neither of us care much for North Austin or Round Rock, and wouldn’t want to live there, ironically, for the reasons listed by Leon above that many people would deem to be assets to an area. We’ve always lived in South Austin. We understand why other people like those north areas, but South Austin has always seemed more like the real Austin to me. Far North Austin, Cedar Park, Leander and Round Rock seem like different places – other towns – way out in the boonies, up in Williamson County. That’s not living in Austin, that’s living near Austin.

Let’s continue the comparison of stats.

• The average Sales Price in Circle C is up $47,000, or 19% from the first 3 months of 2005.
• The average Sales Price in Avery Ranch is essentially flat, up 0% from the first 3 months of 2005.

• The average Price per square foot in Circle C is up 12%, from $93 to $104
• The average Price per square foot in Avery Ranch is up 1.9%, from $102 to $104

• Days on market in Circle C is down 30% from 86 days in 2005 to 66 days in 2006
• Days on market in Avery Ranch is down 5% from 91 days in 2005 to 86 days in 2006

• The number of homes that sold for less than $200K in the first 3 months of 2005 in Circle C was 14, which was 20% of the total sold during the first three months.
• The number of homes that sold for less than $200K in the first 3 months of 2005 in Avery Ranch was 20, which was 35% of the total sold during the first three months.

• The number of homes that sold for less than $200K in the first 3 months of 2006 in Circle C was 2, which is 3% of the total sold during the first three months of 2006.
• The number of homes that sold for less than $200K in the first 3 months of 2006 in Avery Ranch was 23, which is 41% of the total sold during the first three months of 2006.

At present (May 9, 2006), there is only 1 home in Circle C listed for less than $250,000. Of the 49 Active listings, only 10 are listed below $300K.

At present (May 9, 2006), there are 23 homes in Avery Ranch listed for less than $250,000. Of the 64 Active listings, 32 (exactly half) are listed below $300K.

I’m not a professional statistician, but I look at these numbers and say that if I were buying investment property, or if I were a home owner wanting to live in an area that might provide better wealth growth for me via appreciation, I want to be in Circle C, not Avery Ranch.

And we haven’t even talked about the difference in tax load. A home in Circle C has a property tax rate of $2.75 per $100 valuation. A home in Avery Ranch, depending on the section, is $3.18 per $100 valuation. So the annual tax burden in Avery Ranch, on a $250,000 home is $1075 per year higher, or $90 per month more than South Austin.

Let’s look at how the leasing stats compare, something important to investors but that should matter to homeowners also, since as a home owner it’s a good idea to avoid areas over-populated with rental homes.

In the first 3 months of 2006 in Avery Ranch, 39 homes have leased (compared to 56 that have sold – a rent/sales ratio of 69%). The average lease amount is $1309 per month, which is $0.64 per square foot on average.

In the first 3 months of 2006 in Circle C, 17 homes have leased (compared to 58 that have sold – a more balanced rent/sales ratio of 29%). The average lease amount is $1806 per month, which is $0.72 per square foot on average.

Avery Ranch is loaded up with rental homes. Circle C has it’s share, but not nearly the ratio of Avery Ranch. Not only does Circle C have fewer renters, they are higher quality renters, paying well above the median rental rate for Austin.

So, is Circle C a better place to live and own a home and raise kids? That’s up to each family to decide, depending on things that are important to them, one of which may very well be commute times. Is Circle C a better place to invest in a rental home? In my opinion, yes, it’s not even a close call. Circle C beats the pants off of Avery Ranch and the numbers prove it.

22 thoughts on “Avery Ranch (North…Austin?) vs. Circle C Ranch (SW Austin)”

  1. Steve,

    I would have to agree with your conclusions. Our properties lease quicker and at a better price point in Circle C than the ones in Avery Ranch. However, I would say that both developments are attractive and are sought after by residents.


  2. Steve,

    Thank you for your comparisons of Circle C and Avery Ranch. Could you provide the same information for Belterra (vs. Circle C)?


  3. I’m wondering how other parts of S. Austin are doing. I just rec’d a postcard from a realtor that showed that in Bouldin Creek, the price per sq. ft. has gone up from $205 in December ’05 to $265 in March ’06 (!). If that’s correct, that’s some crazy appreciation in just a few months time.

  4. Hi Edward,
    I looked at Bouldin Creek, but the sample size is too small to be meaningful for that particular neighborhood. You have to look at a larger area and longer time span. This doesn’t mean the postcard you received might not be accurate, but we’d need to have more data to swear by it.

    But if we look at MLS area 6, within which the Bouldin and other popular south/central neighborhoods such as Travis Heights are located, and comparing Jan-Apr 2005 to Jan-Apr 2006, we see …

    Avg sales price increased from $243K to $301K = +24%
    Median sold price increase from $225K to $265K = +18%
    Avg sold per sqft increased from $182 to $206 = +13%

    This is from 67 sales in the Jan-Apr 2005 time span, and 103 sales in the Jan-Apr 2006 time span.

  5. Hi Steve

    I found your comments on the comparison of Avery and Circle C to be quite informative. I am considering a relocation from the North East to Austin and have been trying to determine if NW or SW Austin was where I’d prefer to settle. You briefly mentioned at the end the various priorities home owners may have such as commuting. Can you offer any insight in comparing commutes from these two areas? Assuming one was heading into downtown?
    Also, on brief visits it had seemed to me that the SW area offered larger properties than other areas and thus an increase in privacy. It did seem less developed in terms of shopping, roads, etc but it seemed to me this was the new growing area. Are these misconceptions?

    Any insight is MUCH appreciated.


  6. Hi Gina,

    Funny you should ask. Sylvia and I have been paying very close attention to Lost Creek lately. We have a current 8th grader in private school and would like her to attend Westlake High School next year, which may mean moving (if we don’t get an out-of-district transfer approval). If we do have to move into Eanes, we’d probably be looking hard at Lost Creek.

    The location is great. We timed it at 9 minutes to our Keller Williams office on Mopac. But many of the homes are outdated with boxy floorplans, which is ok in some cases, but we’ve seen floor plans that would be tough to modernize. That said, it’s Eanes Schools and I just don’t see how that area will ever go anywhere but up.

    But does that make it a good area for pure investment? I’m not sure. The rent/value gap will be bigger for sure, but area 8W is up 30% on average sold price and 14% on median sold price in 2006 over 2005. I haven’t run the numbers specifically on Lost Creek, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it’s not right in there on the median uptick.

    If I owned a home there and was moving up, I think I’d hang on and rent it for a year or two before selling if I could. Would I buy one there today as a pure investment? Still not sure, I’d have to analyze it closer.


  7. Great stats Steve.

    What are the source of your data points?

    Do you plan to publish this same data comparison for 2007 Q1? Circle C vs Avery Ranch?

    We were told by a realtor that prices at Circle C are hyped?

    We plan to close on a home at Circle C and we got concened.

    Your thoughts are highly appreciated.

  8. Hi Kelly,

    Data source is MLS sales. I would not be concerned about buying in Circle C. It’s rock solid, and yes, prices have moved up a great deal over the past two years. Homes below $250K are becoming fewer and farter between in Circle C.

    I’ll try to run an updated comparison when I have time.


  9. I believe your analysis is flawed. The old saying is that you cannot compare apples to oranges holds true in this case. While the two neighborhoods have great houses, people, and amenities, they are on totally different strategies. Avery has, for the most part, built-out the most expensive homes first. They are now building less expensive and volume driven housing, like townhomes and garden homes, which brings in lower-averaged home prices. This has also been in line with the interest rate environment, where people are starting to be able to afford less house with higher interest rates.

    I challenge you to re-do your analysis that takes different strategies out of the equation, if you can find a way.

  10. Hi Randy. Thanks for your comments. The data in the original blog post is over a year old, but I don’t think there is anything flawed about it. The data reports on single family homes only. Garden homes or townhomes are not included, so it is in fact “apples-to-apples”.

    I might do an updated vesion though, with 2007 stats.

  11. Steve
    I am considering buying a house in Avery Ranch. Has the situation changed, or is it still the same? How do you see prices in Avery Ranch 4 years from now?

    — Sam

  12. Hi Sam,

    4 years from now is hard to predict. Avery Ranch is a solid neighborhood and should remain popular for years to come. The schools are good. The downside, unless you work North Austin or in Round Rock, is the location. But for people who need to be North, it’s a great neighborhood.


  13. Steve, we live in SW Austin and love the area. We actually lived in NW Austin before but after changing jobs, it made sense to move to SW Austin for both of us.

    “In the first 3 months of 2006 in Circle C, 17 homes have leased (compared to 58 that have sold – a more balanced rent/sales ratio of 29%). The average lease amount is $1806 per month, which is $0.72 per square foot on average.”

    Do you have the 2007 numbers on average lease amount for Circle C vs. Avery Ranch? Thanks!

  14. > Do you have the 2007 numbers on average lease amount for Circle C vs. Avery Ranch? Thanks!

    Hi Rich,

    I’m still working on year-end stats. It’s a LOT slower and more cumbersome with our new MLS system.


  15. Steve,

    We own a nice 4BR house in one of the more modest neighborhoods in Area 8E, Woodhaven, and currently have it rented for $2050 per month. Our tenant’s lease comes up for renewal May 15th. Do you think we would be better off to let the tenants renew for another year and then put it on the market next year? Or is this year’s market looking good enough to sell it this year for a good price?


  16. Hi David,

    “Sell now or keep” questions depend on several factors. If you’ve lived in the home 2 of the past 5 years, you have a capital gains exclusion that will expire once you’ve been out of the home 3 years, and that can be a factor.

    If your tenant wants to renew and everything is running smooth with the home and you don’t need your equity, you might want to hang on to it. In other words, if you take your money out of the home, where will you put it and will it grow better than it would if left in the home.

    If the tenant decides to move, and the home needs makeready repairs, paint, new carpet, etc., that can be a good time to go ahead and sell after you get the place looking nice, provided you intend to sell in the next year or two anyway.

    There are income tax factors along with the capital gains that you’d need to discuss with your accountant.

    I’d be happy to discuss it with you further if you email me direct or call.


  17. I read your May 2006 article comparing N Austin to SW Austin with great interest since I am contemplating a move from Portland Oregon, to Austin. Can you give me(us) an update on this comparison and your recommendation.


  18. Hi Venkay,

    Good idea. I have put it on my blogging short list. I’ll be interested to see how things look 3 years later as well. I think I know, but let’s see what the data says.


  19. Hi Steve – I am in process of relocating to Austin and having questions on selecting North vs South. This article gave me good perspective but wondering if the situation has changed now give the articled is dated? I heard commute from Avery ranch is better off than Steiner ranch due to proximity to Toll and highways?.

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