Northwest Hills vs. Great Hills
This article is a natural extension of our Northwest Hills vs. Allandale comparison (http://wp.me/pbeor-d8). This review will run through thoughts, observations, and stats concerning these two neighborhoods separated by Capital of TX Hwy 360. To some, north of 360 is “out” and south of 360 is inside the loop.
If we go strictly by legal subdivision names, Great Hills covers both sides of 360 between Spicewood & 183 but most folks do not know that. There are legal descriptions and then there is the public perception of neighborhood name & boundaries. For example, the area known as Crestview (2222 to Anderson, Burnet to Lamar) actually contains 11 different subdivisions. Great Hills section 01 and 02 are south of 360 and the rest, the bulk of Great Hills, is north of 360 and west of the Arboretum. This article is the smackdown between the north of 360 (Great Hills) and south of 360 (Northwest Hills) neighborhoods. Please note that for every comment or highlighted characteristic, there is an exception so if you are considering a move to either of these neighborhoods, some good hands-on time is always recommended.
WHAT THEY HAVE IN COMMON
The 78759 zip code, Bull Creek and the Bull Creek Greenbelt, highway access, hills, views and greenspace, the Arboretum and the Domain shopping areas, connected by Spicewood Springs.
The south of 360 Northwest Hills homes were built mostly in the mid to late 70’s; north, or Great Hills more in the 80’s & early 90’s.
Both neighborhoods are hilly, as the name suggests, and are more or less built on limestone … no caliche soil shifting over here. Lots of big rocks, cliffs, makes for some difficult gardening (you think you want to plant that tree in that specific spot until you start working it with a shovel, then pick-ax then you move to another spot). It also makes for some beautiful landscape design opportunity. If you are a big vegetable gardener, you may be challenged for ample full sun (the neighborhoods have enormous oaks) and you’ll be restricted to the fenced portion of your yard because of the deer.
Views. Did I mention views? There are some fabulous views, ample green space and Great Hills north sports Great Hills Golf & Country Club. No golf course south of 360 but Steck Valley Park (which very few people know of) and Bull Creek greenbelt offer an unequaled hiking opportunity complete with miles of trails, swimming holes and waterfalls. Oh, one other note on views & trade-offs … sometimes the homes with the best views also lack a usable backyard.
To some, this is a big difference. South of 360 and north of 360 up to a jagged line near Tributary Ridge is Austin ISD, north of that line is Round Rock ISD. If your goal is to live in Austin but send your kids to Round Rock schools, this portion of Great Hills would be the southern most address to accomplish that. The RR high school served by this area is Westwood and is a high-performing school. I have heard stories that some parents do not want their kids to go to Westwood because it is so difficult to be in the top 10% of the class and that may hinder their ability to get into UT.
If multi-level, Brady-Bunch-like architecture is a big turn-off, then stay north of 360. There are plenty of ranch-style on both sides but Great Hills is a bit more traditional, larger homes, lots of stone. Northwest Hills is older, more wood, cedar siding, some contemporary. Both neighborhoods will have their share of original homeowners and yet-to-be-updated kitchens, a little wallpaper.
North of 360 is a bit more expensive than south because the homes are larger; hence, higher $/sqft south than north. Prices have held in both neighborhoods from 2008 through 2009 with average sales price down just a hair and median up a bit. The best homes priced right in both of these neighborhoods are selling quickly sometimes in less than two weeks. Low days on market (DOM) is a 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:
|Great Hills (n of 360)||Great Hills (s of 360)|
|2009||2008||% Diff||2009||2008||% Diff|
|Avg $ SQFT||$146||$157||-7%||$168||$169||-1%|
If you are interested in homes in the area, here is a search link that covers all of 78759: http://www.thenelsonproject.com/atj/user/AdditionalGetAction.do?pageId=124743
If you want to follow ongoing sales data for these or any particular area or your existing home, you can set that up at www.SearchATown.com or for a monthly market analysis report www.TNPmarket.com (you get a monthly report from your financial advisor, why wouldn’t you want the same for your real estate?).
MISC, COMMUTING, BIKING
Both Northwest Hills and Great Hills have excellent commuter travel access to Mopac, 360, 183, 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. 183 can get backed up so if you work in town and travel north to get home, you get to exit right about where it stands still. Commute to the airport is about 30 minutes on a good day.
Both neighborhoods are attractive to the cycling community … the 360 corridor is a popular (and hilly) serious bike route and Mesa south towards town is well-traveled on 2 wheels.
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