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Neighborhood Market Watch: What It Costs to Buy a Home in Travis Heights Right Now

As with most central-city areas, prices frequently reflect building potential on large lots

For our ongoing series Homes in the Range, real-estate analytics site NeighborhoodX is taking a close look at sales prices ranges in different Austin neighborhoods.

Today's price comparison is for Travis Heights, a long-established South Austin neighborhood that over the years has gone from a collection of mostly smallish pre-war houses with ridiculously low rent and sales prices to a tonier—but still quirky—mix of those same houses with upscale renovations (at much higher prices) and newer, larger single-family infill. That's no doubt because of its gorgeous canopy of oaks and other mature foliage, its still-friendly vibe, and its prime location.

Travis Heights is bordered on the north by Lady Bird Lake and on the south by East Oltorf Street, with South Congress Avenue and I-35 making up its western and eastern borders, respectively.

NeighborhoodX finds that the average listing price in Travis Heights is $386/square foot. However, the individual listings that make up this average range from $239/square foot (1304 Mariposa Dr. #142) to $524/square foot (1909 Kenwood Avenue).

To put these numbers in context, at the lower end of the range, the properties in Travis Heights (as low as $239/square foot) were comparable to asking prices at the bottom of the range for Hyde Park ($230/square foot in April), West University ($237/square foot in the same month), and West Lake Hills ($244/square foot, also in April).

On the high end, the most expensive properties in Travis Heights on a per square foot basis ($524) compare to Bouldin ($602) and Holly ($491).

Several of the most expensive listings on a per square foot basis were for properties where the existing building was ancillary to the value of the land (thus skewing the price/square foot higher, as it was basing value on buildable potential rather than the existing building)

These include 210 Academy Drive (listed for $4.5M for 2,930 square feet, but on a large lot; excluding land—which is a considerable asset in that it's on a hill overlooking the neighborhood and South Congress Avenue—it looks like it's asking $1,535/square foot; it has also been on the market for what seems like an eternity) and 1500 Newning Avenue (at first glance, asking $714/square foot, but in reality the small building sits on a huge lot zoned for up to three single-family units, which drives the value).

Additionally, what at first glance looks like the most expensive property on a per-square-foot basis currently listed in the neighborhood was 1001 East Riverside Drive ($1.75M for a 2,797-square-foot house, or $625/square foot). However, the listing excludes the square footage of the spacious guest house: 1,058 square feet in all. When the square footage is adjusted for the guest house, the price/square foot drops from $625/square foot to $454/square foot (The fact that it faces the extremely busy Riverside Drive, though it's on a corner and can be accessed via Travis Heights Boulevard, might also have something to do with that price.)

You can view NeighborhoodX's full, interactive chart here.