East Austin Homes: Old and New: Photos and Data

East Austin: Small Houses and Some Big New Ones

Three years ago we wrote our first article about this area in east Austin. Since then we’ve done too many real estate appraisals in the area to even count.

Last week, we went back just to take some more photos to share in this article (first in a series) about Small Houses in Austin.


Really Old Corner Store in East Austin

Visited East Austin lately?

We did this weekend, for fun and soaked up a little local flavor. We’ll give you some photos and some data today, so scroll down if you don’t want to miss anything.


Just to make sure we’re all on the same page, here is an outline of the area of Austin we’re talking about (at the bottom of this page, you’ll find an interactive Google Map, so you can scroll around).

Map of East Austin to correlate with sales data for the article
New home in East Austin - big boxy red
East Austin is East of I-35. The photos we’ll share with you today are of the area just East of downtown, turn on 7th and go south wherever possible, and wind around the blocks. Lots are small, and the streets are narrow and packed with parked cars.

Homes in this area range from tiny tiny tiny, as in 500 square feet of tiny all the way up to big a modern boxes.
Many are very vintage, with peeling paint, falling-down fences and sagging front porches. Others are very spiffed up and we saw quite a few in various stages of rehabilitation. Every once in a while you’ll see several tall, new homes in a row, as if someone bought a triple lot and built them as big as possible.

On those lots, I always wonder what used to be there, and if anyone in the neighborhood, or the city, or the area, took photos to document the past for the future. That is part of what drives us to go out and shoot the town, since it is different every single time we go out.

By the time houses in this area turn over, they frequently need major work.
Many, though, just keep on developing more character, like the one in the first photo.

If you’re thinking – why THAT photo? You’re not alone. Why? Because although this seems like a common sight across America, it’s becoming rarer. When homes degrade to this point, they frequently get torn down and replaced, instead of rehabilitated. When that happens, we lose some of our local flavor, some local history, and deep local stories like one told to me by a passer-by who noticed the camera.

Imagine how many long conversations happened on this front porch!
Soda in small glass bottles!

Rusty porch rocker on a front porch in East Austin

How many will we miss as we zip by, heads down, looking at our phones?

What is it Worth?

In the appraisal business, the question is “what is it worth”, dollar-wise, not “what is it worth”, history-wise, or character-wise. Some people see this as blight, others as opportunity, and others as home.

What do YOU see?

Photos of Homes in East Austin, South of 7th

(Note: these are not necessarily homes for sale, although some of them may be, or might have been when these photos were taken.)

Active Listings for East Austin, South of 7th

Some quick numbers:

  • 37 homes are currently listed for sale in the ABoR MLS (ACTRIS) for sale.
  • List prices range from $72,000 to $449,000, with a median price of $210,000.
  • Sizes range from 576 square feet up to 2,813 square feet, with a median size of 1,000 square feet.
  • Of these 37 homes, 19 are smaller than 1,000 square feet and only six are larger than 1,480 square feet. 7 of the 19 smallest ones are under 782 square feet!
  • The oldest home was built in 1910 and is adjacent to commercial property.
  • Of these 37 homes, 19 were built before 1939, 10 were built in the 40s and 50s, 3 were built in the 60s and 70s and 7 have been built since 1999.

Boiling those numbers for East Austin homes down into averages or medians really doesn’t give a good idea of the area at all, does it?

Particularly not when some of the houses are old, and some look like this:

Larger newer home in East Austin

2010 Real Estate Sales for East Austin, South of 7th

A few more numbers:

  • 53 homes sold in this area of East Austin in 2010, with prices ranging from $40,000 to $445,000.
  • The sizes of the homes that sold ranged from a mere 480 square feet to a gigantic (for the area!) 2,272 square feet.
  • Of those, only TWO (2) were listed in the MLS as foreclosures.

A Look Back: 2005 Real Estate Sales for East Austin, South of 7th

  • In 2005, 48 homes sold in this same market area.
  • Of these, the smallest was 564 square feet, and the largest was 4,000 square feet.
  • Sales prices ranged from $81,885 to $435,000.

Looking Back a Decade: 2000

  • In 2000, this area had 35 home sales recorded with the Austin Board of Realtors (ABoR).
  • Prices ranged from $20,000 to $149,000.
  • Sizes ranged from 572 square feet to 3,533 square feet.

What is in a Door?

I am a door freak. Total freak. LOVE them. The doors in East Austin certainly don’t disappoint.

If our eyes are the windows into our souls, then what are doors?

Check out the doors in this photo gallery – such incredible range of age, condition, color, character.
If only the sun hadn’t been going down so fast, we would have had a hundred more. But then, Orlando probably would have made me walk home, because he’s keen for about 20, probably because he’s photographed thousands already, but not, I protest, like these.

Google Map of East Austin – East of Downtown

View Larger Map


  1. Tom says

    Alison-Great post. It’s nice to see posts like this. They help convey the local flavor of an area. You have given me extra inspiration for my own blog, thanks!

  2. says

    Hi Nicki – some might have been, but most aren’t, or weren’t. We try not to get the signs in the photos. I added a note before the gallery to clarify – thanks for asking that!

  3. scraptag says

    Love the door photos. They have to be my favorite of all of them. Very interesting area. Hard to think that Austin could be that old, that they would have such a diversity of housing like this. Very cool.

  4. Brenda says

    The very first shot reminds me of homes in my grandmothers home town. I could just pictures my great-grandma sitting on that porch bench.

  5. says

    I looked up the oldest one currently for sale (1910) and from the outside, you’d never know it – looks like it has been re-clad and expanded a few times, and is quite wonky. Really wish we could see the original bones under the siding!

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Independent Real Estate Appraiser in Austin, Texas: Travis, Williamson, Hays, Bastrop and Caldwell Counties