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Austin home prices: how they stack up against 6 major U.S. cities

Hello, Philly!

Everyone knows that Austin home prices are—well, let’s just say they’re not what they used to be. Complain about their seemingly meteoric rise to some from Manhattan, San Francisco, or Los Angeles, though, and be prepared to face mocking laughter.

A recent analysis from real estate research site NeighborhoodX pegged the average asking price for market-rate Austin homes not being sold as development sites at $345 per square foot.

How does this average compare with those in other major U.S. cities? (And yes, as the 11th largest city in the country, Austin should be considered “major,” though population isn’t necessarily the only criteria for that designation.)

It turns out that Austin falls between Los Angeles and Philadelphia in terms of housing prices at the start of August. The average asking price per square foot in L.A. is $417, while it’s $301 in Philadelphia. You can toggle over the chart below for more info on each city that NeighborhoodX covers.

A few key takeaways from the data, per NeighborhoodX research director Constantine Valhouli:

  • Austin is one of the least expensive of the cities that NeighborhoodX covers (only Philadelphia and New Orleans were more affordable).
  • Austin's pricing is almost identical to that of Philadelphia. The average prices and price range were almost identical in the two cities, which aren't usually mentioned in the same sentence: Philadelphia’s prices average $301 per square foot and range from $71 per square foot to $1,680 per square foot; Austin averages $345 per square foot, with a range of $109 per square foot to $1,640 per square foot.
  • The upper end of the two cities are also priced similarly. The most expensive property in Austin ($1,640 per square foot) is priced comparably to the most expensive in Philadelphia ($1,680 per square foot).
  • However, Austin's population density is much lower than that of Philadelphia. "Pricing reflects a mix of factors, including demand, employment, population trends, and zoning," said Valhouli. From the 2010 census, Austin's population density is just over 2,600 people per square mile, while Philadelphia has a population density of over 11,000 people per square mile—roughly four times that of Austin. This suggests that, if current trends continue, Austin's prices have considerable upside as density increases.