The 360 Condonimiums in downtown Austin is completely sold out of all 430 units and has a waiting list of over 200 people. New residents start moving in next week. Today’s Austin Statesman has an article about the project and downtown condos in general (link below). The outlook among those quoted in the article remains about the same as it has been for the past year or more.
Some say there can’t possibly be enough demand to absorb the new condos and apartments coming on line in downtown Austin. Others say that demand is underestimated and that many of the projects will be placed on hold (as has already happened with some) and that a balance between supply and demand will be maintained. I’d venture to say that those are two sides of a coin that have been discussed in many metro areas before Austin, from Miami to Las Vegas to Denver, and that the outcome is not always easy to predict. But as we like to believe, “Austin is different”, and so it may be that.
No doubt, it takes a different mindset and set of needs to buy into downtown Austin living. From a strictly dollars and cents perspective, it’s hard to justify the high cost of being downtown compared to what your money will but in Circle C, for example. From a lifestyle and situational standpoint, for some people, it’s a no-brainier decision to live in the heart of downtown Austin.
When I’m downtown in Austin, I like being downtown. Sylvia and I occasionally eat at the Roaring Fork on Congress Ave, then go for desert at the Hideout down the street, then take a walk down 6th street and back. It’s a routine we’ve repeated many times That’s about a 3 hour night out, for about $100, and it provides taste of downtown living.
Each time we venture into the downtown Austin area, I definitely feel a vibe and energy that simply is not present when, for example, driving through suburban Austin. Nothing wrong with the suburbs, but there is a certain indescribable sense of “being” when I’m in downtown Austin. We would love to live there, but …
With school age kids, it’s not practical. Paying $500K+ for 1200 sqft of living space doesn’t fit into our financial, retirement, or space requirements. Paying $0.35 per square foot in monthly HOA fees doesn’t pass my frugality test either. And I like that, at present, I have no parking issues at my home for me or guests. It’s just never an issue but it would be downtown.
But for a young couple, single people, empty nesters, or urban oriented families, I think it would be wonderful to live in a compact urban environment where, theoretically, one might get by with a single vehicle and you have the hike and bike trails, restaurants, shopping, Whole Foods, etc. outside your front door.
From an investment standpoint, I’ll pass. Investing in or flipping a downtown condo isn’t something I would even consider. I did for a brief period a couple of years ago, but the reality of the risk vs. reward equation quickly became plain. I prefer slow boring ways of building wealth and I prefer single family homes in good neighborhoods that attend good schools. Downtown condos are too exotic and risky for me.
Nevertheless, the nagging attraction, the thought of “someday maybe”, never seems to go away, right there with my wish to own a vintage Corvette or a Harley. Both would be wonderful but not practical. Not yet. So for now it remains a distant and unlikely move.
You can read today’s Statesman article here.
DOWNTOWN AUSTIN CONDOMINIUM MARKET