The Real Deal New York

Why Austin could beat New York in a fight for millennial home buyers

For millennials, weird is the new luxury
March 10, 2018 01:00PM

“Keep Austin Weird” is the city’s unofficial slogan. From left: a scene at South by Southwest (SXSW), 2009 Austin birthday party, Maria’s Taco Express, Austin, TX. (Credit: DieLaughing, Jack Newton, Larry D. Moore, State Farm)

Authentic, convenient and weird — that’s the magical triumvirate to attract millennials to a neighborhood. After all, who wants to be average?

Well, Austin’s got weirdness in spades, even by New York standards, which says a lot and it’s fueling real estate in the city, according to the Financial Times.

In the past five years, home values have risen more than 60 percent and, in 2017, homes selling at between $1.4 and $2.4 million would sell “instantaneously,” as broker and owner of Kuper Sotheby’s International Realty, J. Kuper told the Times.

The market is due to the increasing presence of major tech companies that started setting up shop in the Texas city around 2010 — the year Facebook moved in. Apple and Google have also got offices in the city and Amazon is considering Austin for its second headquarters. The tech jobs brought a wave of millennials to the city, but where they buy and how much they’ll fork over depends on the level of authentic weirdness in the neighborhood.

Case in point: the 1964 honky-tonk bar, the Broken Spoke, is one of the draws to the $60 million condo and retail complex that surrounds it.

“Keeping Austin Weird is still alive and well, I’d say,” Kuper told the Times by way of explanation of how the city’s unofficial slogan jives with new real estate development. “Maybe it’s just not as weird.” [FT]Erin Hudson