Businessweek.com has named Wells Branch as the #1 Best Place to Raise Kids in Texas. While the entire Austin area is filled with great places to live and raise children, let’s take a moment to look at how Wells Branch rose to the top of the magazine’s list.
Businessweek.com looked at more than 4,100 places with populations between 1,000 and 5,000. Some input came from Bloomberg Rankings. The crime index had to be less than 10 percent over the national average, and the city or town’s median family income had to be within 20 percent of the state median income as reported by Onboard Informatics. With an emphasis on income, expenditures and school performance, the judges considered factors like crime, air quality, ethnic diversity and things to do. They threw all of the data into a blender and came up with the best places to raise kids in the country, and one specifically for each state. Wells Branch came in at #7 in the country, and #1 in the state. Blacksburg, Virginia took the title as #1 in the country.
Setting the magazine and statistics aside for a moment, let’s take a look at Wells Branch from the point of view of a local Austin area real estate agent and resident on why Wells Branch makes sense as a great place to raise kids in Texas. Not so much considered a town as perhaps a subdivision or a suburb of Austin, it does have its merits.
For those doing a home search in Austin or the surrounding area, it has a modest price point that’s attainable for first-time buyers. Many houses are in the $200,000 or below range, which makes sense for couples or families with children in the elementary to middle school age ranges. It has not been incorporated by the City of Austin, and therefore has a lower tax base.
Wells Branch is close to Round Rock and Central Austin, nestled between I-35 and the Mopac Expressway. It’s a convenient commute to many of the major employers in the Round Rock-Austin vicinity, including technology-based companies Dell and National Instruments. Wells Branch is an easy weekend ride to the regular string of events and festivals in Austin revolving around food, music, art and just plain family fun. (We coincidentally put the Spotlight on Round Rock in our last blog, if you’re not familiar with it.)
There is a strong sense of community here, with many unique local activities for kids and families, as well as good schools. A door-to-door composting project, for example, brings community recycling efforts to new levels. Wells Branch has some excellent parks for those who love to spend time outdoors. It also features convenient access to shopping. The Domain is, without a doubt, a state-of-the-art shopping experience. Be sure to check out the horse-and-carriage ride when you go there. The Arboretum shopping center is also just minutes away.
If you’re looking at homes to buy in Austin, but you don’t want to go out as far as Round Rock, you might consider Wells Branch. It is a family-friendly area that’s moderately priced. It has the convenience of Austin without the daily hubbub of the city.