Austinites moving to Lockhart are trading in big-city convenience for a cheaper cost of living. Rents in Lockhart cost significantly less a month, and a house can go for half of what you'd find in the less expensive parts of Austin. On the flip side, people who work in Lockhart make nearly $7,500 less on average than their Austin counterparts. And where Austin uses an expansive but much maligned bus system, Lockhart has no public transportation.
By all measures, Lockhart is a small town, but it's one that's growing at a steady pace. While yet to crack the 15,000 mark, the Caldwell County seat's population has slowly increased after taking a drastic dip in 2010. And Austinites making the trek some 34 miles south are bringing more traffic to Lockhart's downtown area, which has boosted the local economy.
"There's a whole lot more activity," said Lockhart's City Manager Vance Rodgers. "They're supporting our events."
The Austin exodus hasn't impacted Lockhart's rental market in any discernible way, Rodgers said. Real estate prices, though, have "unfortunately" started to climb over the last year, but the city manager said that can't be pinned on Austinites alone. After all, residents from other nearby counties are also moving to the Barbecue Capital of Texas. Rodgers said the city "welcome[s] anyone." Thinking about making the move? See how Lockhart stacks up.
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