We are all familiar with Austin’s traffic woes, particularly when it comes to our daily commutes to and from work. Housing proximity to the workplace has increasingly become a factor in deciding where to work or live for Austin’s residents. In fact, many of our clients have noticed how their office location can impact their existing workforce as well as their company’s ability to recruit and compete for new talent.
Using RealMassive’s GIS platform – Project Atlas – Avison Young was able to find the average drive times for commuters using the zip codes of where they live and work. In this example, we chose to find compare the drive times for employees working in Austin’s CBD (78701), South MoPac area (78746), and the Domain (78758). In order to analyze typical commutes, we chose several residential areas around Austin including Mueller (78723), Bee Cave (78738), Circle C (78739), Cedar Park (78613), Leander (78641) and Round Rock (78681).
With a vacancy rate of 5% and average asking rates exceeding $50 per sq. foot for class A office space, Austin’s CBD continues to see high demand from tenants in the market. As the cost of locating downtown is higher compared to Austin’s other submarkets, tenants should certainly analyze the impact this could have on their employees’ commute to work. Many Austinites who work downtown increasingly commute by bike, foot or other forms of transportation like the MetroRail, however, for those who aren’t able to do so the commutes can be some of the longest in the city.
From the zip codes that we sampled, the average commute to the CBD from those areas is 44.5 minutes – an average of morning and afternoon rush hour drive times. See the map above to find the average commute times from across the city.
By the end of the second quarter of this year the Domain’s vacancy rate was approximately 8%. Average class A rental rates of approximately $38 per sq. foot have continued to increase on a quarterly basis as the demand for office space at the Domain continues to fuel more construction in the surrounding area. The placement of high density multifamily and condominium complexes among expanding amounts of mixed use office and retail space has transformed the Domain into a walkable neighborhood with an increasingly urban feel.
Today the Domain offers an attractive live-work-play environment that mirrors the amenity base of downtown. For those that don’t live within or directly around the Domain the average commute times are significantly lower than those to and from Austin’s CBD. The average commute time for all of our sample areas to and from the Domain came out to only 35.5 minutes – a 20% decrease from the average CBD commute time. With the highest commute times being those for individuals living in south and southwest Austin, commute times for individuals living in central and north Austin were in the 20-30 minute range. Based on the areas we sampled, the Domain appears to offer some of the shortest commute times for many Austinites.
Austin’s Southwest submarket, which includes the South MoPac area, has seen construction and leasing activity levels similar to that of Austin’s CBD and Domain areas over recent years. The vacancy rate was 10.7% by the second quarter’s end where average rental rates were similar to those found in the Domain – approximately $35 per sq. foot.
Commute times to the South MoPac corridor were shortest for workers living in the Bee Cave and Circle C areas of town – the 78738 and 78739 zip codes. Unlike the Domain commute times, Austinites commuting to South Mopac from central Austin areas such as Mueller have commute times of around 46 minutes. Overall, from our sample base the average commute time to the South MoPac corridor came out to 45.7 minutes.
There are many factors to consider when deciding on the best location for your office. Proximity to clients, occupancy costs, or the surrounding amenity base and its impact on company culture may be some of your top concerns. As companies continue to compete for talent in the Austin marketplace, Avison Young sees commute times becoming another one of the critical factors in both company and employee decision making. Mapping employees’ home locations and taking commute times into consideration has become an important step in the process of finding the best location for our clients’ next office space.
Click here to see how the drive-time module of Project Atlas can help map employees’ home locations and commute times.