Three Hollywood stars rebuild their lives in the heart of Texas


“Once you come here it’s hard to leave,” said Ms. Duff, whose movie roles include “Napoleon Dynamite” and “The Wedding Pact,” and who has spent time this year shooting a movie in Fort Wayne, Indiana. She noted that each of the friends booked concerts shortly after they closed their doors in Austin, which felt like a blink of an eye from the universe.

“I almost feel more connected to my craft and why I love playing,” said Ms. Sigler, who had just returned from a dialogue recording at a downtown Austin studio for an ABC pilot who ‘she filmed in Los Angeles. “When the calls come in, it’s a nice surprise. I’m still on things and I’m still a businesswoman and it’s still my career, but I don’t feel the pressure around as we took a stand for ourselves and made decisions for our families.

With its bohemian charms, natural splendours and absence of income taxes, Austin has for years courted the two economic engines of California, Hollywood and Silicon Valley, while trying to maintain his beloved “Keep Austin Weird” credibility. . According to the Kinder Institute for Urban Research at Rice University, an estimated 90,000 Californians moved to Texas in 2018 and 2019. The pandemic has only deepened the romance. Austin benefited from a public relations blitz of large-scale outsourcing and business expansions last year, with tech giant Oracle moving its headquarters there from Redwood Shores, Calif., And Mr Musk announced Tesla’s $ 1 billion gigafactory on the city’s southeastern outskirts.

The housing market, already in a development frenzy for a decade, has finally defied the pandemic and come back to life. In May 2021, the median selling price in the Austin metropolitan area hit an all-time high of $ 465,000, according to the Austin Board of Realtors. Prices for high-end homes have climbed 24%, according to Redfin, the highest number of any region in the country.

Still, anyone familiar with California prices considers Texas a good deal, said Scott Michaels, an Austin real estate agent at Compass, who described bitter, all-cash bidding wars that drew 40 to 60 bids. on a single property. “It’s a challenge because we are competing with people leaving the state, and there just isn’t a lot of inventory in the market,” he said.

For Ms. Sigler, a Long Island native, Austin’s square footage and outdoor space was telling. “There was a lot of like, ‘Oh my God, look what we can get for this. Look at the life we ​​can give ourselves, ”you know, versus what we can afford here in LA,” she said. “I just feel like we’ve been taking a big, deep breath since we’ve been here.”


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