MARBLE FALLS, Texas — Boomtown 2040 is our effort to focus on the changes happening across Central Texas. 

One of the biggest concerns is affordability, and a new study shows some of the outer suburbs are starting to feel their own affordability pains.

Four Hill Country counties are more expensive than Travis County

The latest Housing Affordability Index shows Burnet, Blanco, Gillespie and Llano counties are all more expensive than Travis County.

Hard to believe?

“I was a little surprised at how close they were to prices in Travis County in terms of the median value,” Jonathan Stilley, who has been a realtor in Austin for 17 years, said.

“What you're looking at is that median value for Gillespie County and the median income for Gillespie County, so typically in Lllano, Burnet, Gillespie, people are making less, sometimes $20,000 less, than your typical person in Travis County,” Stilley added.

Higher salaries make it easier for people to afford homes, which is why this index makes Travis County appear cheaper than many of the suburban counties. 

But all the building in the suburbs is taking its toll.

“These new home developments, these bedroom communities are starting to push up the median values of these houses and so you're starting to see these outer counties becoming less and less affordable,” Stilley said.

The simplicity of life is what made Jenessa Tellez settle in Burnet County 19 years ago.

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“It's just a small town feel. Everybody knows everybody,” Tellez said. “It's just beautiful, and people just want to live here.

The index has the median home price in Travis County at $348,000.

In Burnet County, it's $283,200. In Blanco, it's $305,000. In Gillespie, it's $343,000 and in Llano, it's $315,000.

Overall, the median home price in those counties rose to more than $300,000 this past year.

Families are feeling the pinch

“People move here to Central Texas because they love the Hill Country and that is where you can get it for $350,000,” Stilley said.

The price of growth hitting home as families work to preserve the places where they want to live and play.

“Everybody is finding Marble Falls. No, stay where you are!” Tellez said, half-jokingly.

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