Once a gateway for home ownership, North Austin faces affordability issues

A house in North Austin undergoes renovations.
As property investors have bought heavily in North Austin's 78758 ZIP code, the price of housing has more than doubled in the past decade. Iain Oldman/Community Impact Newspaper

As property investors have bought heavily in North Austin's 78758 ZIP code, the price of housing has more than doubled in the past decade. Iain Oldman/Community Impact Newspaper

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During her search for her “forever home,” new homeowner Jennifer Martinez said she scoured all corners of Austin to find an affordable house.

Over the past three years, Martinez looked at houses as far north as Round Rock, although she said she turned that house down due to the potential drive time to her job in East Austin.

In September, Martinez closed on a house in the North Austin Civic Association near Rundberg Lane and North Lamar Boulevard.

“I wanted to be close to the city. I wanted it to be an old neighborhood, so I feel very lucky to have found this house,” Martinez said. “It is the last affordable area.”

She paid around $300,000 for her house, a price that would fall in the lower half of all home sale prices across the Austin-Round Rock metropolitan area, according to September figures from the Austin Board of Realtors.


While Martinez’s house is affordable compared to the statistical majority of homes in the metro area, the price represents a sharp increase in an Austin neighborhood that, less than a decade ago, regularly posted houses for little more than $100,000, according to ABoR numbers. The 78758 ZIP code, once viewed as accessible to ownership for lower- and middle-income families, is now facing a cultural shift.

“We’ve seen people who have been long-term owners moving out of [78758] and moving into the suburbs,” ABoR President-elect Romeo Manzanilla said. “[The area] is continuing to grow, and you’re see