Some visitors come for SXSW, leave as future home buyers


    Since SXSW started, Yoni Levin has periodically patrolled Rainey Street with a bright yellow sign reading, "Thinking of moving to Austin? Talk to me. I'm a local realtor." (CBS Austin)

    South by Southwest brings an economic boom to the City of Austin but when the festival is over many visitors leave with their eye on real estate.

    You've probably heard that saying, "Welcome to Austin... please don't move here," but one realtor says people are coming anyway and this week is a great time to drum up business.

    Since SXSW started, Yoni Levin has periodically patrolled Rainey Street with a bright yellow sign reading, "Thinking of moving to Austin? Talk to me. I'm a local realtor."

    "I realized there's thousands -- hundreds of thousands -- of people that come for South By and I just wanted to get in front of them," says Levin, a realtor with JB Goodwin Realtors.

    Levin says his bright yellow sign is part spectacle and part seizing an opportunity. "I meet people during South By that move here a week later," he says.

    An Austin transplant himself, Levin quit his job in 2008 when his employer tried to move him away. "I fell in love with Austin, myself. I love talking to people about how great the city is and seeing the love and brightness in peoples' eyes when they get here," Levin explains.

    According to new state data, Austin gains about new 35 residents every day. While the growth is slowing, it's still growing -- a truth many residents love to hate.

    "I think that the average person that says, 'Don't move here,' they get that this sign isn't going to get more people to move here. I'm just helping people who want to get here find a good landing," Levin says.

    "It's like its own little paradise," says Micah Russell, visiting from Oklahoma City. She says she'd love to move to Austin someday.

    "There's always something to do, always something to see, always something to experience," Russell adds.

    For others, the vibe is right but the price tag isn't as appealing.

    "Some people can afford it just depending on where you come from like, for me in Fort Worth, it's very cheap there compared to here, but if you come from Cali, you know what to expect," says visitor Roddie Flacco.

    Levin says Austin's affordability is all about perspective. While it may be one of the pricier places in Texas, the cost of living --including housing and food-- is lower than many other places in the nation.

    News In Photos

      Loading ...