Hollywood stars

Three Hollywood stars are rebuilding their lives in the heart of Texas

‘Once you’ve come here, it’s hard to leave,’ said Ms Duff, whose film roles include ‘Napoleon Dynamite’ and ‘The Wedding Pact’, and who spent time this year shooting a film in Fort Wayne, Ind. She noted that each of the friends booked gigs shortly after their Austin homes closed, which felt like a nod from the universe.

“I almost feel more connected to my craft and why I love acting,” said Ms. Sigler, who had just returned from recording dialogue at a studio in downtown Austin for a pilot. ABC which she shot 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 because we’ve taken a stand for ourselves and we’ve made decisions for our families.

With its bohemian charms, natural splendors and zero income taxes, Austin has been courting California’s twin economic engines, Hollywood and Silicon Valley, for years, while trying to maintain its prized credibility “Keep Austin Weird “. According to Rice University’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research, about 90,000 Californians moved to Texas in 2018 and 2019. The pandemic only deepened the romance. Austin has seen a PR campaign of high-profile corporate relocations and expansions last year, with tech giant Oracle moving its headquarters there from Redwood Shores, Calif., and Mr. Musk announcing the Tesla’s $1 billion “gigafactory” on the southeast outskirts of town.

The housing market, already in a decade-long development frenzy, eventually defied the pandemic and came back to life. In May 2021, the median sale price in the Austin metro area hit an all-time high of $465,000, according to the Austin Board of Realtors. High-end home prices soared 24%, according to Redfin, most of all regions in the country.

Still, anyone used to California prices considers Texas a bargain, said Scott Michaels, an Austin realtor at Compass, who described fierce, all-cash bidding wars that drew 40 to 60 bids. on one property. “It’s a challenge because we’re competing with people from out of state, and there just isn’t a lot of inventory in the market,” he said.

For Ms. Sigler, who is from Long Island, Austin’s square footage and outdoor space were 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 got here.”