First, no such thing as good property value in Austin. Everything is either unreasonable or decrepit.
CC locations won't be an issue as ACC has campuses all over the city including Round Rock. Here's a more comprehensive list of locations.
Right now the east side is be "revitalized", but that's just code speak for gentrification.
There is a bit of resentment happening because of it, but you rarely see it.
Each part of town has a different dynamic so depending on what part you fall into you may be better suited for North (middle income, family) South (weird, low to middle) West (better be rich) East ( already explained) and Central, which is an odd mix of all of it. I've lived most every where except west.
If you don't mind driving Round Rock, Cedar Park, are going to provide you with the best value on your dollar. If you are looking to buy, I would suggest looking into HUD grants as a lot of property off the IH 35 corridor falls into urban development and they are looking to occupy houses.
One of the things I think a lot of out-of-towners don't understand is everything is spread out.
If you go anywhere you can pretty much guarantee you are driving. So location is really about how much you like driving as opposed to how close you want to be.
In way of shopping both San Marcos and Round Rock have outlet stores and vibrant communities.