Just six miles from downtown, West Lake Hills is one of the most exclusive areas in all of Austin, Texas. Incorporated as a village in 1953, homes there are now prized as much for their location along winding, hilly roads as for their proximity to both downtown and Lake Austin.
“Buyers are attracted to the Westlake area for many reasons,” said Jen Templeton of Engel & Völkers Austin. “Among them are its excellent schools and proximity to downtown for jobs and entertainment.” West Lake Hills is a suburb to the west of Austin, although “when people refer to ‘Westlake’ they are commonly referring to the larger area served by the Eanes School District,” Ms. Templeton explained.
Offering beautiful views and filled with sumptuous homes, West Lake Hills is one of the most in-demand areas of the Texas capital.
West Lake Hills extends approximately 10 miles from the western edge of Austin proper. It is naturally bounded to the east by Lake Austin, Wild Basin Ledge and Westlake Drive to the north, Rollingwood Drive and Westbank Drive to the south, and the Capital of Texas Highway to the west.
Homes in West Lake Hills can start at $600,000, but at that price, buyers should expect a very basic home under 2,000 square feet and in need of updating, said Joanie Capalupo of Moreland Properties.
The majority of homes are listed between $1.2 million and $1.5 million, although many are listed for much higher prices. Kumara Wilcoxon of Kuper Sotheby’s International gave the example of the Peter Gluck-designed “Floating Box House” in Westlake, which was listed at $14.9 million and sold in late December for just under $11 million. Prices can even reach as high as $30 million, and lakefront properties and homes closer to Austin are particularly sought after, according to Ms. Templeton.
Larger homes, particularly those in Westlake’s gated communities, such as Stratford Place, Stratford Hills and The Ravine, can fetch asking prices between $1 million and $3 million.
“There is a very diverse inventory of homes, in terms of size, age and style, but the trend is towards more contemporary, modern homes,” Ms. Templeton said.
Most homes in West Lake Hills were built between the 1960s and the 1990s, Ms. Capalupo explained. Although single-family homes make up the majority of the neighborhood’s housing stock, there are some luxury condos, primarily located on Lake Austin.
“Many homes have large lots, and estate-size lots are available,” she added, noting that “while there are several gated communities in the Westlake area, lots of all sizes are available outside of gated communities, as well.”Interior of a Mediterranean-styled, hilltop estate in West Lake Hills. The six-bedroom home is currently listed for $3.49 million.
What makes it unique
Homes with large lots along clean, tree-lined streets give West Lake Hills the feel of a small town, even while being within a large city.
Ms. Templeton noted the natural beauty of the rolling hills that gave West Lake Hills its name, while her business partner Cheryl Albanese pointed to the exceptional views that buyers can expect to find. “The terrain is beautiful,” Ms. Templeton said.An outdoor living area of a five-bedroom, $7.795 million home in West Lake Hills. The property also features walls of windows showcasing views of the city skyline, UT tower & Capitol.
KUPER SOTHEBY’S INTERNATIONAL REALTY
Ms. Capalupo noted that buyers are also attracted “first and foremost to Westlake’s proximity to downtown Austin” —some neighborhoods are as close as a five-minute drive away.
But above all, buyers are attracted to the area’s schools. Westlake is the only suburb of Austin located entirely within the coveted Eanes Independent School District, which counts six elementary schools, two middle schools and Westlake High School.
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Nearby Barton Creek Greenbelt has over 12 miles of some of the best hiking and biking trails in Texas, as well as rock climbing, swimming and kayaking.
The Austin Country Club, located in the Westlake neighborhood of Davenport Ranch, offers a 180-acre, 18-hole golf course designed by renowned architect Pete Dye, 10 lighted tennis courts (of which two are clay), a heated, 50-meter pool, a 57-slip marina and boat club, and a clubhouse with dining and meeting rooms and a large ballroom.
Westlake’s proximity to downtown Austin makes fine dining and entertainment easily accessible, but the neighborhood does have offerings of its own, including shopping and dining at the Village at Westlake shopping center. as well as the Forum shopping mall.
Restaurants in the area include barbecue spot Country Line on the Hill, Southwestern restaurant and bar Jack Allen’s Kitchen and The Grove Wine Bar.
Sway, an upscale Thai spot, is currently under construction and expected to open in West Lake Hills by the end of the year.
Who lives there
Many families, and professionals of all types, are attracted to West Lake Hills because of the aforementioned school district and the close proximity to downtown Austin.
Austin, according to the Chamber of Commerce, is home to industries that include clean energy, technology and healthcare. The Westlake business community more specifically, includes companies like management consulting firm Accenture and tech giant Intel. The Hospital at Westlake Medical Center and Arise Austin Medical Center are both in the area, too, so medical professionals abound.
Ms. Templeton pointed out that the excellent schools make the area’s homes good investments, even for families without school-aged children. And as such, Ms. Capalupo said the area attracts some buyers looking for second homes and investors, too.
Both Drew Brees, quarterback for the New Orleans Saints, and Nick Foles, a quarterback for the Philadephia Eagles, grew up in the neighborhood.
“In general,” Ms. Templeton said, “we’ve seen a seller’s market recently, and we expect that to continue.” She noted a trend of buyers who have relocated from the east and west coasts, attributing their interest to quality of life.
Ms. Capalupo agreed that it is a seller’s market, saying that pending sales are down from this time last year simply because there is less inventory available. “Properties that are coming on the market that look nice and are priced well are selling quickly, often with multiple offers,” she said.
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