Possibly the three biggest factors that drive homes prices up in Austin are Spectacular Views, Outstanding Schools, and Proximity to the downtown area.
Views. Having a lake view, or even lake access, cost money. Better the view, and the closer the home is to the lake, the more the money. South side of the lake is more than the north side, due to its close proximity to downtown. Views of the city, green belts, trees...anything that is beautiful to wake up to--drives prices up. If you want a view, you will likely pay some premium for it.
Schools. Texas has some of the best schools in the nation. Ask anyone who is moving from other states, and you will find that our schools systems are one of the big reasons why families move to Austin, and stay in Austin. Our schools are great. Certain areas have better schools than others, and the very best school communities drive their own price premiums. It is very simple Real Estate supply and demand. More people want to live where the schools are great. So it costs more to live in the areas where the schools are better. On top of that--homes sell faster in these communities. Don't let anyone fool you--there are MANY communities in Austin that have outstanding schools. Not just one school district.
Downtown. The downtown area brings its own unique attraction to Austin. Jobs, music, lakes, parks, events, UT & wonderful restaurants. Our downtown has many attractive features, and they all drive the price of real estate up in the downtown area. The closer you are to downtown, the more expensive the dirt.
So, when you are ready to start thinking about your Austin home purchase, and where you want to invest in your Austin future, keep in mind what is most important to you and your family, and you will save a lot of time and headache in your home search process.