Let’s face it folks, the desire to live in Austin won’t be dwindling anytime soon. Year after year, the city tops charts as one of the most hip, athletic and beautiful cities in the U.S. With all of the free (and to many Austinites unwanted) publicity surrounding the capital city, there has been a steady increase in population growth which in turn has led to an increase in home sales. In November 2012, the Multiple Listing Service reported a whopping 23% rise in Austin-area home sales from one year prior and statistics continue to show this percentage rising for years to come. As Austin continues to grow stretching farther north towards Cedar Park and farther south touching Kyle, there has been a shift in areas which are highly sought after to live.

So… say you are a hip, educated individual looking to move to the capital city or you’re the seasoned Austin renter looking to finally buy something you can call your own. Where should you live? What areas of town are the most sought after subdivisions and areas and what areas are the who’s who of Austin inhabiting. We’ve taken a look into the most sought after neighborhoods in Austin for 2013 (in no particular order).

Tarrytown

Location, location, location marks this highly sought after area boasting the zip code 78703. Just minutes away from downtown, this historic neighborhood houses some of Austin’s most expensive real estate and affluent individuals. With the price per square foot in many of these homes ranging from $255 – $344 based on data collected in 2012, Tarrytown may not be ideal for the new college graduate, but an ideal place for the successful and influential family who wants to be close to center city.

Steiner Ranch

Although Steiner Ranch isn’t nearly as close to downtown Austin as other areas on this list, there has been a long running joke (OK SO maybe the joke was in my head, but I thought it was funny) that Bravo’s Andy Cohen could easily franchise his Real Housewives (RH) empire using a few housewives from the Steiner Ranch area (you know, the ones who you can find sipping a martini at the bar at Steiner Ranch steakhouse on any given night of the week) and it would add a wonderful and realistic Texas twang to the other RH cities he’s currently running. What makes Steiner Ranch so desirable is the fact that you can find a home to fit most budgets out there while being in a beautiful community with great schools.

Hyde Park

For grad students and business professionals alike, Hyde Park is and will continue to be a prime living location for access to downtown, the University of Texas and some of the large local area hospitals. From folks riding down the street on unicycles to the large number of pedestrians you’ll find just keeping it green, the hipster vibe that Hyde Park offers also allows you to envelope yourself in the true nature of the city.

Lakeway

Does anyone remember way back in the day when Lakeway only had one street that ran through it (Lakeway Boulevard) and Austinites would take their families there for weekend vacations because it was a nice getaway not too far from home? I don’t, but it’s true. Amazing to think that this beautiful area of town with such great access to the Lake was anything else but the fancy houses and ritzy golf courses it now offers. For families with young children, Lakeway also offers great schools and fantastic neighborhoods to raise kids.

Barton Hills

It’s no secret of the rivalry between North Austinites and South Austinites on which area of town is better to live… and while they both have some hot spots, Barton Hills is a desirable area among many because of the great access you have to a corridor of entertainment. Just West of Austin’s “theater district,” and down the road from ZIlker Park and Barton Springs Pool, Barton Hills offers beautiful homes with great spunk and close access to many of the cities music festivals, plays, and outdoor fun.

Great Hills/Arboretum

This area should actually be on my dangerous list of places in Austin to live. For those familiar with the area, you know it’s not crime that pushes it onto the dangerous list. Why is it dangerous you may ask? Who could live so close to so much shopping AND the Domain and not be tempted to miss a mortgage? With a great golf course and traffic that won’t make you want to perma-cringe if you’re headed downtown, the Arboretum area is a great location to buy a house, raise a family and enjoy Austin life tucked away just enough from the hustle and bustle of the city.