Allandale vs. Northwest Hills
We work with a lot of buyers looking in central and north central Austin who want a decent yard, 2-car garage and good schools. If these buyers are north-of-the-river focused, over $300k and definitely if over $400k, then our focus quite often falls on Allandale and/or Northwest Hills. A sometimes typical buyer in either of these neighborhoods is a couple who has been living in their small first home, quite often in Crestview, and they now need more space (children & stuff) and desire a 2-car garage (more stuff). This same buyer may also be considering a move out to the burbs (more house for the money and better school options) but if they want to stay urban, then that translates into south of 360 & 183.
In running through this assessment, we use a generally accepted public boundary definition of these neighborhoods vs. actual legal subdivision; for example, the public perception of NWHills includes the sections of Great Hills that are on the south side of 360 (we don’t expect you to know the legal subdivisions but we study it all the time). Here are the boundary outlines for this project:
Allandale – north of 2222/Koenig, south of Anderson, west of Burnet, east of Mopac (yes, some of Allandale is east of Burnet but for this analysis we are using the westerly sector)
Northwest Hills – south of 360, west of Mopac, south to Far West (not including Highland Hills, not including Cat Mountain)
Northwest Hills is Allandale with hills, limestone, better schools & higher property values. Grade schools are attractive for both neighborhoods but most folks lose confidence with Lamar Middle School which serves Allandale. Murchison Middle School, serving west of Mopac, is highly rated. High schools: Anderson for NWHills and McCallum (fine arts magnet) for Allandale.
As for pricing, if you want to be in the $300’s, then we’re looking at Allandale; $400’s, Northwest Hills. Yes, there are exceptions worthy of consideration but the average price for these two sectors is $100k apart.
How are these neighborhoods doing right now? For the most part they are holding their value and are only down about 3-5% from 2008 to 2009. Days on the market (DOM) are down a bit in Allandale and up almost 14% in Northwest Hills … notice they both are holding at 30-40 days for 2009 and that is solid. The best homes priced right in both of these neighborhoods are selling quickly sometimes in less than two weeks. Low DOM is a solid reflection of the stability and investment outlook for these neighborhoods. Here is a side-by-side comparison of the two areas for the past 2 years:
|2009||2008||% Diff||2009||2008||% Diff|
|Avg $ SQFT||$180||$185||-3%||$173||$183||-5%|
If you are interested in homes in the area, here are a couple search links:
78759 (Northwest Hills plus): http://www.thenelsonproject.com/atj/user/AdditionalGetAction.do?pageId=124743
78757 (Allandale, all of area 2): http://www.thenelsonproject.com/atj/user/AdditionalGetAction.do?pageId=124745
Also, if you want to follow ongoing sales data for these (or any particular area), you can set that up for a monthly report at www.TNPmarket.com (you get a monthly report from your financial advisor, why wouldn’t you want the same for your real estate?).
On the softer side of assessing these neighborhoods, both have excellent commuter travel access to Mopac, downtown, UT and all points north (if you work north, your commute will be against traffic) and you have decent access to the new tollways. Commute to the airport is about 30 minutes unless you run into traffic then allocate 45.
Both neighborhoods are attractive to the cycling community … Shoal Creek & Great Northern run north-south through Allandale and Mesa and the 360 corridor are NW favorite bike routes. We have a client who is buying in Allandale right now so he can commute via bike to IBM … nice.
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