Dripping Springs used to be a hidden gem in the Texas Hill Country, but in the last 3 years it has been discovered by people all over America and has become a boomtown in one of the fastest growing counties in the nation. During the pandemic there were message boards of people moving to Texas and Dripping Springs was discussed and shared all over the internet.
The draw for the small town feel, proximity to Austin and highly rated schools were all must haves for the wishlist of many people migrating to Texas. Heck- my family was one of them!
This once rural town’s city limits are only 9.5 square miles and has a population in Dripping proper of only 5,000 people, but the Dripping Springs ETJ, the largest one in Texas, is 110 square miles and 40,000+ live within its limits. New developments are popping up everyday and it is causing traffic and water issues in the area. You can be bumper to bumper in the school traffic line with old pickup trucks and Ferraris all at once.
So with the immense growth that we are experiencing since Drip has been “discovered” come a mix of emotions from the long time locals who have enjoyed a slower pace of life and more elbow room. I wanted to share some of the pros and cons to moving to Dripping Springs so that you can get a better pulse for how this community is pressing forward in the midst of massive change.
Hybrid of rural and city living
Although Dripping is beginning to build more commercial development in the Belterra area, it is still mainly mom and pop businesses and restaurants closer to downtown. With the wide variety of larger lots and thousand acre ranches you are still able to be wowed by hilltop sunsets and sunrise views overlooking the beautiful hill country.
Texas is known for its friendly people and southern hospitality. It’s just the way of life here.
Need to borrow a cup of sugar? Just ask a neighbor!
It seems very 1950s, but in Texas it is pretty common to be invited to dinner, have a hand lent for free when needed and to be cared for as if you were family.
Nature lovers paradise
Dripping is surrounded by the great outdoors with access to hiking, swimming and mountain biking at places like Milton Reimer’s Ranch, Hamilton Pool, Westcave Preserve, Pedernales Falls State Park and more. It has also just been designated as an official “Bird City” that draws bird watching enthusiasts. Ranch Park and Charro Ranch Park both have great bird viewing areas if you want to bring your binoculars and enjoy some peace and quiet.
Proximity to Austin and the Hill Country
Dripping Springs is called “The Gateway to the Hill Country” and is just a short 30 minute drive to downtown Austin (without traffic), 25 minutes to Bee Cave, 25 minutes to Wimberley and 30 minutes to Johnson City.
Niche.com has rated Dripping Springs schools as the #3 best school in the Austin area. There are 8 schools with plans for a second high school in the works. Dripping Springs elementary schools implement the Leader in Me curriculum to help teach kids social and emotional skills for leadership. My three kids attend and really love it!
The high school is now 6A and there are plans to build a second high school as the middle schools and elementary schools are growing quickly. This will give high school students more opportunity and more breathing room once the bond package is passed and the new high school is built in the next 4 years.
Dripping Springs has so many fun festivals each year like Founder’s Day, Dripping Springs Songwriter’s Festival, Dripping Springs Pumpkin Festival, Christmas on Mercer and more that draw visitors and give the locals ways to come together and make memories. It’s a great way to meet new people and see the town come to life!
Master planned neighborhoods with resort style amenities
Headwaters, Caliterra, Belterra, Highpointe, and Driftwood Golf and Ranches are just a few of the master planned neighborhoods that have incredible amenities for their residents such as miles of hiking trails, pools, gyms, sports fields and community centers. Residents of these neighborhoods don’t need to go far for more than work and the grocery store since the communities are a hub for many events and activities.
Wedding Capital of Texas
Dripping Springs has been coined “The Wedding Capital of Texas” with over 35 wedding venues within a 15 mile radius (and counting!) and hosts more than 1,000 weddings per year.
Dripping Springs is also nicknamed “Drinking Springs” because of the expanding alcohol scene with over 9 wineries, 11 breweries, 10 distilleries and 6 tasting rooms in the area!
Need a designated driver? There aren’t a lot of Ubers out here, but we do have some professional drivers locally who can take you around to all of the different places to drink.
Dark Sky Community
If you’ve ever driven around Dripping at night you will notice how dark everything is. There are fewer street lights here and that is on purpose- it’s a city ordinance!
Dripping became the first International Dark Sky Community in Texas a few years ago. The purpose of having less light is so that you can enjoy the wonders of the Milky Way and to help the native (and migrating) birds, bats and bugs navigate the night sky with ease. I love taking my boys to the Founder’s Park fields and stargazing at night.
You can even view the planets at the Reimer’s Observatory in the summer and winter months.
Major League Pickle Ball
You won’t find bus stops and safe bike lanes throughout Dripping Springs. The traffic on the small 2 lane roads like RR 12 and RM 150 will also leave your commute to school or work longer than usual.
The “Y” in Oak Hill has chronically added 15-20 minutes to everyone’s commute to Austin during rush hour, but the highly anticipated $674 million construction for the Oakhill Parkway flyover is finally underway and will cut the congestion down on HWY 290 significantly once finished.
Housing prices have almost doubled since 2019 with the average home price in DSISD priced at $852,000 in July 2022 (source: Texas Realtors). With an average tax rate of 2.3% this would leave you with a property tax bill (without a homestead exemption) at $19,596/year.
The rising unaffordability of the area is leaving many service based businesses without employees who are able to live here or who don’t want to make the drive from other areas to work here for minimum wage. Local business owners have been desperate for employees to fill the demand with the growing population. Seeing “Help Wanted” signs is common in Dripping Springs.
The city is beginning to brainstorm new ways to bring in affordable housing to help the community after the area’s homes values shot up to more than double what the national average is.
*UPDATE! The average price of a home in Dripping Springs has dropped to $660,000 in November 2022! Skyrocketing interest rates have put tremendous downward pressure on those crazy home prices and they have started to slowly come down over the last several months. For every 1% of interest rate hike you can expect to lose about 10% of your purchasing power with lending. This means that once rates shot up from 3% to 6% financed buyers lost 30% of their purchasing power due solely to the FED hiking rates.*
Many homes and ranches are on well water and with the amount of people moving to this area there is great concern for impervious cover and sustainability of the natural water supply and aquifers.
Some well owners are having to drill deeper into the second aquifer to keep water flowing at their homes. Water sustainability is a very big concern for the locals who see the big developments and new rooftops coming in.
I keep hearing the locals say, “Where will the water come from to supply all of these homes?”.
Conservationists and city planners have a lot of work to do with this issue! If you are planning on building here and can add a rainwater collection system then definitely do your research to learn the personal and environmental benefits!
The summers are HOT and humid! This year we had 44 days of triple digit heat and the constant heat and lack of rain sparked several wildfires in this area that burned homes and hundreds of acres of land. To survive it, my family spends most of our summer days indoors, at Founders Park Pool, The YMCA pool or in the rivers and lakes around Austin. The mornings and evenings are glorious though if you can stand the humidity.
All of my friends who live in the country areas of Dripping are always finding snakes, tarantulas, scorpions and more wandering around (and sometimes IN) their homes. If you aren’t prepared for the country critters then maybe find a cottage style home in Big Sky Ranch with less places for the snakes and bugs to hide. Ants are also VERY common in the homes and you’ll need a good pest control company to come and spray in the warmer months.
Cedar and Oak pollen are brutal in this area. I’ve even driven down Hamilton Pool road and have seen clouds of thick pollen released from the Cedar trees. If you suffer from severe allergies then this area of Texas may not be for you!
During the snowpocalypse of 2021 there were many who lost power due to ERCOT being completely maxed out. Some families have bought generators or added solar power to their homes to prevent total power loss in the event that another catastrophic weather event takes out the power.
If you’re driving down one of the back roads you are most likely going to see a ton of deer! They aren’t much bigger than Great Danes, but will eat your flowers and vegetable gardens. You’ll want to drive with caution down the windy two lane roads like Fitzhugh or Creek Road because the deer can jump right out in front of you in the more rural areas and cause bad wrecks.
Emergency Health Services
Dripping has a few urgent care facilities, but the nearest ER and hospital are 25-30 minutes away. Ascension Seton-Southwest and Baylor Scott and White are the closest hospitals to Dripping Springs.
My family goes to Lewis Urgent Care instead of the ER when possible.
Although we are experiencing major growing pains from the inflow of new residents in the last several years, Dripping is still a wonderful place to live!
What do you think? Did I miss any pros or cons to living here? Just reach out to me and let me know! firstname.lastname@example.org
Want to move in (or out) of this area? Just contact me! I’m a local Dripping Springs resident and Realtor and can help serve all of your real estate related needs! 512-569-8480 or email@example.com