University of Texas/ UT Area
- Date Established: 1956
- Location: MLS area UT, or zip code 78705
- Number of Homes for Sale: 138
- Population: 26,000+
- Median Home Size: Houses – 2400 square feet, Condos – 980 square feet
- Median Price: Houses - $599,000 , Condos - $262,000
- Schools: Lee Elementary, Bryker Elementary, Kealing Middle School, Martin Middle Schools, McCallum High School
- Neighboring Communities: Hyde Park, French Place, Delwood, Cherrywood, East Side, Judge’s Hill, Brykerwoods, Pemberton Heights
The University of Texas at Austin, the country’s largest public university, just garnered its own Multiple Listing Service (MLS) area code as of 2006 (aptly called “UT”). Loosely bordered by I-35 to the east, downtown/Martin Luther King Blvd to the south, Lamar Boulevard to the west and 38th street to the north, this thriving community of new condos, stately homes and college rentals continues to be one of Central Austin’s most quickly appreciating areas.
The UT area also borders other campus-adjacent neighborhoods that are often considered university hoods; Hyde Park to the north, French Place, Cherrywood and Delwood on the east side of I-35, and the established Judge’s Hill area to the south.
The 350-acre university campus itself is massive, serving over 50,000 students, not to mention the city’s largest employer including well over 20,000 faculty and staff, and is responsible for creating more than 80,000 jobs, according to the school’s web site. The University of Texas at Austin prides itself in hosting one of the most diverse student populations in the nation, an annual research budget of over $400 million, a consistent ranking as one of the best values in higher education, and in 2004 enjoyed a ranking of 15th Best University in the World by the Times of London.
With its size, over 900 student groups emerge from the school, and then there’s the athletic program. Since the Big 12 League began operation in 1996, the Texas Longhorns have claimed more titles in both men and women’s sports than any other school, and graduating athletes have gone on to claim 88 Olympic Medals. “Hook’em Horns,” the Longhorn cry has been the credo since designating Bevo, a Texas Longhorn, the school mascot in 1915.
In addition to grad and undergrad students, the university is home to 300,000 continuing education students annually, keeping a direct link with the non-traditional student community.
West Campus, spans from The Drag (Guadalupe Street from MLK north to W 29th Street) west to Lamar and its border on Shoal Creek. The Drag is a campus strip slightly more upscale than your traditional school, home to the Dobie mall and its arthouse cinema. The Guadalupe corridor also houses Urban Outfitters, the campus staple Trudy’s (famous for its Mexican Martinis), and Wheatsville, a healthy-approach grocery/cooperative.
West of the drag is a combination of varied condo complex sizes and older homes. North campus, from Dean Keaton north to 38th also hosts a collection of condo buildings, especially along Speedway, and boasts some of the city’s more stately estates in Aldridge Place/ Hemphill Park, as well as along Duval Street.
Among the renters that make up a large chunk of the University of Texas’ student body, the UT area is a desirable location given its proximity to downtown. Whereas condo owners may have generally been made up of students enjoying 4+ years of property ownership from investor-parents, prices have escalated to a point where professionals and families are coexisting with the collegiate set.
Houses for sale tip $599,000 at the median price and range greatly in area from 960 to over 5300 square feet, from one to 8 bedrooms, and from $193 to $465+ a square foot. Generally older and architecturally significant, only one of the current 23 homes offered for sale is less than 50 years old, with the median year built being 1928.
Historically significant, these houses have witnessed the rise of the nation’s largest university and offer several pockets of subdivisions with their own distinct character. These smaller subdivisions that are home to the historic abodes are: Beau Site, Harpers, Smyth, Oakwood, Sunny Ridge, Gypsy Grove, Carrington, Grooms, Aldridge Place, Sparks & Moore, Lakeview and Speedway Heights.
Condos are a different story with 115 currently listed for sale, with about half built since the year 2000. Median price for these condos hover at around $262,000 with the average layout being 2 bedrooms/ 2 bathrooms, and filling out a median of just under 1,000 square feet. The most recently built condos leave fewer choices under $300,000 and the newer luxury units on Grandview start at $599,000 and cap out at $1,000,000 for a 3 bedroom/ 3 bath.
Recently, financing incentives have been created for parents wishing to purchase homes for college students called the Family Opportunity Mortgage.
This mortgage program enables families to purchase homes for college students (as well as elderly parents and disabled adult children). Otherwise, purchases of homes for students to inhabit would be considered investment properties, and subject to typically higher interest rates and closing costs.
Rules state that the student must be currently enrolled in school, be close to the college/university and a “reasonable distance” from the parent’s home, and the parents cannot own another second/vacation home in the same area as the student’s. Property cannot be rented for at least a year to maintain the qualification, and the parents qualify for the loan instead of the student. Regulations are somewhat loosened for the elderly and disabled, and mortgage programs are created in the inhabitant’s name.
Despite the area’s transient nature due to the university’s proximity, the UT area remains a thriving neighborhood for those working on campus or enjoying the energy of campus life. School-age neighbors attend Austin ISD schools, with Recognized* Lee and Bryker hosting the elementary school students, Academically Acceptable Kealing and Academically Unacceptable Martin for Middle Schools, and arts-accolade-heavy, Academically Acceptable McCallum High for grades 9-12.
There are several, smaller private education opportunities within close proximity to campus.
*In addition to completion and drop out rates, the Texas Education Agency rates area schools in part based on results from the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills Tests. When the standard student score is 65% or above (45% or above in Math and Science) they gain Academically Acceptable status, 70-75% or above Recognized status, and 90% or above, Exemplary status.