Movers and shakers are
flocking to rising tech hubs

Movers and shakers
are flocking to rising
tech hubs

Cities like Austin are drawing young opportunity-seekers
and inspiring entrepreneurial spirit.

Cities like Austin are drawing young opportunity-seekers and inspiring entrepreneurial spirit.

Photo credit: Caroline Ghetes

Trend6

Rising tech hub

As a teenager, Isaac Rowe washed dishes in a cafeteria for $5.15 an hour and brought leftover food home to feed his two younger brothers.

Isaac’s father was out of the picture, so he took on that role in his household. He opened credit cards with no means of paying the bills in order to buy food and clothes for his family.

Growing up, the idea of owning a home and providing for his own kids one day seemed like an impossible dream for Isaac, but he was determined. He eventually graduated from Texas State College in Waco and today, the 34-year-old designs electrical systems for the substations that keep the juice flowing to tech firms that power Austin’s thriving dotcom economy.

After living in other Texas cities while he started his career, Isaac came back to Austin, attracted by the career opportunities and progressive atmosphere created by that growing tech sector.

Google, Apple, Amazon, Dropbox and Oracle have all recently either built new facilities or significantly expanded existing ones in or near Austin, prompting dozens of smaller internet companies and start-ups to follow.

photo

The tech industry makes the tone of the city expectant of something new and fresh.— Amber Rowe

Growing up, the idea of owning a home and providing for his own kids one day seemed like an impossible dream for Isaac, but he was determined. He eventually graduated from Texas State College in Waco and today, the 34-year-old designs electrical systems for the substations that keep the juice flowing to tech firms that power Austin’s thriving dotcom economy.

After living in other Texas cities while he started his career, Isaac came back to Austin, attracted by the career opportunities and progressive atmosphere created by that growing tech sector.

Google, Apple, Amazon, Dropbox and Oracle have all recently either built new facilities or significantly expanded existing ones in or near Austin, prompting dozens of smaller internet companies and start-ups to follow.

photo
photo

Austin's deep pool of highly-educated, skilled workers—thanks largely to the University of Texas, the country’s seventh-largest university—are fueling the growth. The city remains affordable, as well, with a favorable cost of living compared to dozens of other major cities in North America.

All of these factors appeal to young people like Isaac and his wife, Amber, who is 37. Amber Rowe moved from Seattle to Austin to pursue a career as a massage therapist, and immediately fell in love with its tech culture.

“The tech industry makes the tone of the city expectant of something new and fresh,” Amber said. “We always want to go downtown and check out the new things. Austin has cool, interactive festivals that give you a hands-on experience with technology. Here, tech is not just for people inside office buildings; Austin makes it available to partake in.”

image
image
image
image
image
image

Austin’s vibrant music and culinary scenes add allure, as does the city’s entrepreneurial spirit. “People here are really passionate about start-ups,” Isaac said. “Everybody is open to starting new things.”

Through his own non-profit organization, which helps local men overcome obstacles so they can be more present in their children’s lives, Isaac met volunteer Edie Phillips, who is also a real estate agent and Realtor®—a member of the National Association of Realtors®. The couple decided to look into buying a home and contacted Edie after Amber became pregnant with their first child in late 2015.

“Oh my gosh, Edie opened our eyes to a whole new world of real estate,” Amber said. “She got us every perk possible. She knew we could get more options for our loan by buying in certain areas. That woman knows her stuff.”

In early 2016, Isaac and Amber leapt into Austin’s red-hot real estate market. By then, their daughter Amila had been born. Anticipating more children, the couple sought an open, one-story ranch-style layout—no stairs for infants to navigate—and four bedrooms.

photo
photo

Edie had Isaac and Amber look at a model home for a new development in Manor, a half-hour drive from downtown Austin.

“I make it a point to two or three times a week visit new-construction communities,” Edie said, explaining that her relationships with developers often prove beneficial to her clients.

Oh my gosh, our Realtor® opened our eyes to a whole new world of real estate…She got us every perk possible.— Amber Rowe

Edie had Isaac and Amber look at a model home for a new development in Manor, a half-hour drive from downtown Austin.

“I make it a point to two or three times a week visit new-construction communities,” Edie said, explaining that her relationships with developers often prove beneficial to her clients.

When they walked into a model they loved, it was ultimately the kitchen that made the house seem like a home.

“The kitchen had an island and it was a big focal point,” Isaac said. “I could just see it as a communal space, me sitting at that island working with my laptop, kids running around, everybody going through the kitchen.”

The Rowes made a solid offer and, a few months later, Isaac’s vision became a reality.

When they walked into a model they loved, it was ultimately the kitchen that made the house seem like a home.

“The kitchen had an island and it was a big focal point,” Isaac said. “I could just see it as a communal space, me sitting at that island working with my laptop, kids running around, everybody going through the kitchen.”

The Rowes made a solid offer and, a few months later, Isaac’s vision became a reality.

Read about more home-buying trends

Surban is the new suburban

Rise of the 18-hour city

Moving Midwest

Going green

A shiny and new Rust Belt