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One of the Best Cities for Relocating Families

Austin-Round Rock MSA ranks No. 5

The Austin-Round Rock metro area is ranked No. 5 in the United States among the Best Cities for Relocating Families, according to a national study (PDF).

Best Cities for Relocating Families, conducted by Primacy and Worldwide ERC®, focuses on the ease with which a family can move to a new city and settle into a new life. Utilizing current data on the 150 most populous metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) and encompassing nearly 50 factors important to relocating families, the report provides businesses, families, and the national media with one convenient resource for detailed information. The study is conducted in collaboration with Bert Sperling’s BestPlaces.

This year’s report puts increased emphasis on the real estate market, which is currently one of the most significant issues in relocation.

Key criteria include:
• Home prices
• Indexed home affordability
• Appreciation rates
• Property taxes
• Rent costs

At the same time, Primacy and Worldwide ERC® have continued to enhance and expand analysis of economic, educational, quality of life, and climate factors. New categories for 2007 include recreation and leisure, arts and culture, air quality, watershed quality, sales tax, unemployment rates, job growth, area educational levels, school expenditures per student, students in public school, SAT/ACT percentile, and population growth.

The final rankings represent one of the most sophisticated comparative research studies available on how location affects a family’s relocation success.



Region: Hill Country

In 1839, five mounted scouts ranged over a broad area of wilderness seeking a site for a new capital city for the Republic of Texas. Location on north bank of Colorado River was chosen where rich blacklands meet scenic hills. Site occupied at the time by a four-family settlement called Waterloo. Name honors Stephen F. Austin, the "Father of Texas." In early Sept. 1839, archives and furniture of Texas government were transported from Houston to Austin by 50 ox-drawn wagons.

Institutions of higher learning include Austin Community College, Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, Concordia Univ. at Austin, Episcopal Theological Seminary of the Southwest, Huston-Tillotson College, St. Edward's Univ., and The Univ. of Texas at Austin.

Major annual events include South by Southwest Music, Film and Interactive conferences in March, and the Austin City Limits Music Festival in Sept.

Austin is starting point for the Presidential Corridor via U.S. 290, Texas 21 to Texas 6 in Bryan/College Station connecting the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum with the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum in Austin.

The city bills itself as the "Live Music Capital of the World." Austin has it all - blues, country, reggae, jazz, conjunto, Tejano, swing and rock. Performed in various clubs around city and at nightspots along Sixth Street.

High tech and upbeat, that's Silicon Hills. Austin is home to many computer chip makers and other computer industries. The city is home to nation's largest urban bat colony found under the Congress Ave. bridge during the summer. A kiosk on north shore of Town Lake's hike-and-bike trail near Four Seasons Hotel and one on the south shore inform visitors when and where to watch for the nocturnal mammals.

The Greater Austin Area offers more than 25 bed and breakfast and more than 140 hotel establishments. For information, contact the Austin Visitor Center at 866/GO-AUSTIN.


City of Round Rock Profile

Round Rock, Texas, with a population of 88,826, is located 15 miles north of Austin in the Central Texas hill country. Major employers include Dell, Farmers Insurance Group and Cypress Semiconductor. Its combined property tax and utility rates are the lowest in the region. It has an award-winning park system, school district and is the 13th Safest City in the United States.

Round Rock is one of the fastest growing and best managed cities in Texas. The city has maintained high quality of life while becoming a major center for economic development in Central Texas. The City of Round Rock is known for its award-winning master plan, park system and school district as well as for having some of the lowest crime, property tax and utility rates in Texas.

Planning: As the winner of the prestigious Comprehensive Planning Award from the Texas Chapter of the American Planning Association in 1999, the City prides itself on its long-term vision.

Crime: Round Rock is ranked the 13th Safest City in the United States by a national survey, and has the fourth lowest crime rate among Texas cities with populations of 50,000 to 100,000. Round Rock has the lowest crime rate for cities in that size category – nearly half that of the city with the next lowest crime rate – in Central Texas. In a year 2006 survey of city residents, 89 percent of respondents said they felt safe walking alone in their neighborhood at night.

Cost of living: The City of Round Rock’s property tax rate is one of the lowest in the region (37.1 cents per $100 of valuation). Also, residents pay the lowest combined average monthly utility and tax costs in Central Texas, while achieving an 82 percent satisfaction rating from its customers. Round Rock has the lowest ACCRA composite cost of living index rating among the three largest cities in the metro area.

Public Utilities: Over the last three quarters, 89 percent of the city’s water customers have rated the city as good or excellent. Sewer customers gave an 87 percent rating (keep in mind the customers that respond to the survey have had a work order on their service recently). Round Rock has not had mandatory water rationing during the past 21 years.

Traffic: The Round Rock City Council approved a Transportation Master Plan in January 1999. The City’s Transportation Capital Improvement Plan contains $415 million worth of projects. The City’s half-cent sales tax levy for transportation will pay for $125 million of that total.

Dell Diamond: The City of Round Rock’s stadium and conference center has drawn record crowds since opening in 2000. The ballpark is home to the Round Rock Express, the Triple A affiliate of the Houston Astros. The Dell Diamond is the No. 1 ballpark in the country out of more than 200 parks according to the Fifth Annual Minor League News rankings. It was named top Double A stadium by Baseball America in 2004. (The Express moved to Triple A in the 2005 season.) Construction of the $25 million facility was financed by $8.4 million in revenue bonds backed by the City of Round Rock’s hotel-motel tax revenues and cash from RSR Sports, owner of the Express.

Sales tax rate: 8.25 percent (6.25 percent state, 2.0 percent local)

Sales tax impact: The City of Round Rock ranks seventh among cities in the state of Texas for sales tax collections through November 2006, due in large part to the impact of Dell’s Texas sales. Round Rock is the 34th largest City in Texas, according to 2004 U.S. Census Bureau data.