Real Estate News for December 2019

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For data lovers out there, here are some numbers to know whether you are moving to Austin or within Austin. The Central Texas real estate market is headed for record-breaking sales this year. November home sales throughout the five-county Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) pushed the year-to-date total to 30,561 sales, which is approximately 300 homes shy of last year’s total sales volume.

From the Austin Board of Realtors – Each county experienced a double-digit increase in home sales; the city of Austin slightly rose 4.5% to 670 sales, according to the Austin Board of REALTORS® latest Central Texas Housing Market Report. Continue reading

Austin Home Sales Predictions for 2016

New yearsThe market is on the move with no signs of slowing down as we settle into 2016 and look at Austin home sales. The Fed did raise interest rates as expected. With the economy well on the mend, additional upticks are on the horizon as interest rates slowly drift to normal levels. The interest rate always affects the housing market because it taps into buying power. Interest is part of the monthly mortgage payment. Higher rates mean a higher payment, which affects debt-to-income ratio.

Austin Home Sales Predictions 2016 and Housing Demand

Historically, rising interest rates generally decrease home prices because buyers can afford less; but it can also create an immediate demand. Buyers want to lock into mortgages when they know rates will be increasing.

In Austin, the demand for housing was already high without the rate increase. I expect increasing rates will only create more motivation to buy a home. says Austin-Round Rock will be the fifth most sought out city for 25- to 34-year-olds looking to purchase a home.

As long as the demand is high and inventory is low, housing prices in Austin will continue to rise.  There is currently about 2.6 months of single-family home inventory in Austin for sale.

The Reality of Remodeling

remodel HGTV is powerful. I cannot even begin to tell you how many homeowners I speak to who got an idea to attempt a do-it-yourself project as a result of watching a home makeover show. If you are chuckling on the inside, it may be because you are one of them. I use the word ‘attempt’, because while these shows inspire and educate, they also tend to make projects seem simpler than they are.

Reality TV Shows vs. Remodeling in the Real World

Remember, it’s an 10 hour project shown in 30 minutes. TV shows have the power to edit and often have a team completing the handiwork behind the scenes. It’s a reality show, just like any other.  I laugh on the inside and try not to show my angst on the outside when I go on a listing appointment with those who lost their drive on a remodel. The results range from unfinished faux painted walls, tile put in place that was never grouted and crown molding that doesn’t completely go around the ceiling. All of these unfinished projects are going to affect the sales price of your home.

It is easier to sell a dated home that is fully functioning and completed, than a home that seems to stop mid sentence. To a buyer, the project needs to be finished. I often have to change the perception of the seller, to see these things with buyers’ eyes, because after a while the seller doesn’t see the projects anymore. They have been living with them for so long; they just tend to blend into the background.

Do-it-yourself Projects

Many home supply stores offer classes on do-it-yourself projects. I often recommend someone take one before making a decision to start a project. We are all good at something, but certainly not good at everything. Have a reality check with yourself when you are watching those reality shows. Get a real education on what’s involved with a do-it-yourself project, before you begin one.

711 E 50th Street, Austin TX 78751

711 E 50th Street

711 E 50th Street

Hyde Park duplex listing in Central Austin. It is conveniently located between The Triangle and Mueller, just 3 miles North of UT. The floor plan and location may appeal to owner occupant, mother-daughter or roommates.

Hyde Park Location

Both units feature hardwood floors, with separate utilities for gas and electric. Each unit has its own utility room washers and dryers. The property is set on a large lot and tree-lined street. Unit A is a 2 bedroom / 2 bath, unit B is a 1 bedroom 1 bath. The house was built in 1950. It is 1,789 square feet (appraiser).

  • Single Story
  • Space for multiple car parking
  • Storage sheds convey
  • Refrigerators, washers and dyers convey
  • List Price:  $415,000

What kind of a home are you?

bungalowThey say you are what you eat.  What kind of home you purchase can say something about you as well.  Austin is known for being weird.  The eclectic mix of politics, religion and style are as unique as the tastes in architecture, landscaping and design of Austinites who call this city home. There is quite a mix of homes for sale in Austin.

Homes for Sale in Austin offer a unique blend of vintage and modern designs

I have a client looking in South Central Austin right now, specifically in zip code 78704. We have discussed how you can just turn a corner and be in a different neighborhood with a completely different vibe.  I’ve had clients in the past who refer to master planned communities as ‘Disney Word’, because all of the homes conform to the same aesthetic tone. Other neighborhoods here look like something out of storybook with bungalow style homes and lemonade porches.

Bungalow Homes for Traditional Buyers in Austin

I have found, more often than not, that who you are, as a buyer, has a lot to do with what type of home you pick.  Buyers who like antiques, nostalgia or tend to like structure, tend to like colonial and bungalow style homes.  These buyers don’t care if the floors creek, have no finish and are original from the 1940’s.  To them, the floors as real wood and they appreciate the history and authenticity they represent.  These traditional buyers also like defined rooms. They like a formal dining room, separate from the kitchen and other rooms, because to them every room has a unique purpose and therefore should have a unique identity, which may simply mean a different paint color.

Dated homes ready for a remodel attract creative types in Austin

Unlike traditional, progressive buyers roll with the times.  In my experience these buyers tend to be creative, artist types who don’t always look at a house for what it is… but rather what it could be.  These buyers are deciding what walls they are knocking down and how they are going to expand the kitchen.  These are the dreamers who know very well they may never get to every project they envision, but see the potential and possibility.

Modern Austin homes for buyers who think out of the box

Lastly, modern buyers are similar to progressive type, but have a flare for drama.  These buyers are drawn to open floor plans and like mid-century, contemporary and modern design.  They feel boxed in with too many walls.  They like vaulted ceilings with a uniform tone between living areas.  To some people, these homes look like office buildings, but to modern home buyers, they are dramatic and unique – a work of art in their own right.

The funny thing is that you typically don’t like what you grew up with.  For example, I grew up in a mid-century modern single story home, but my brother, sister and I have always lived in 2-story traditional homes.  I find this to be the case with more of my buyers than not.  Maybe it’s the rebel in us or simply that we know deep down change is good.

Holiday Season Home Inventory in Austin


Once upon a time November and December were the months that home buyers slowed down and investors came out of hibernation. During the holiday season days are shorter, not only because of the amount of daylight hours, but because of the added tasks taken on this time of year. Shopping for presents, food, cleaning, parties and travel can add to the daily grind and often put the thought of buying a home on the back burner. Historically, with fewer buyers in the real estate market this time of year, inventory would tend to rise a bit because houses would tend to stay on the market longer than spring and summer. With a larger supply of homes available, prices would tend to fall and investors would enter the market to get a good deal or two.

Austin Home Sales

That was then, this is now. The Austin real estate inventory hasn’t really grown that much in the past month and in many select markets, it has only gone down which has pushed prices up. The home buyer that expected to be settled by now who had plans to host Thanksgiving dinner is still in the real estate market. Interest rates and home prices have gone up in the last 6 months, but inventory has not.

Inventory on Austin Investment Properties

The inventory of multiple family units, like duplexes, has not increased either. The buyer pool albeit is smaller, but the supply and demand is not any more level in that market which is leading to multiple offers, even for investors.

Keep the New Home Bug Alive during the Holidays

Do not cross that new home off your holiday wish list. Stay in the market at whatever level you can. It is a lot easier to find the time to see one or two houses a week you really might like, than to see 10 you really won’t, which is what happens when buyers start over. Buyers who bow out this time of year with too much to do will literally be starting from scratch in January along with a new crop of people with New Year’s resolutions to buy a new home.

Finding the perfect home is often about being in the right place, at the right time. If it’s meant to be while everyone else is at the mall, then so be it.

Just Sold in Barton Hills

1304 Robert E LeeJust sold, 1304 Robert E Lee Road in Barton Hills offers nearly 3,000 square feet of living space in this 2-story duplex.  Side A has 3 bedrooms, 2 1/2 baths and a loft space, with the master located on the main floor.  Side B features 3 bedrooms and 2 1/2 baths with the master on the second floor.  Each side of the duplex has it’s own private outdoor yard space, a wood burning fireplace, separate utility closets and carport space.

1304 Robert E Lee Road, Austin, TX 78704

1304 Robert E lee Road was an attractive investment property due to it’s hot 78704 location.  The zip code 78704 in Austin is the home of Zilker Park, Barton Springs Restaurant Row, South Congress Avenue in the SoCo District, the Town Lake Hike & Bike Trail, Lady Bird Lake, the SoLa District on South Lamar and the SoFi District on South First.

Barton Hills, Austin 78704

1304 Robert E Lee Road is very close to Barton Springs Pool, Zilker Park and the Umlauf Sculpture Garden.  This Luxury location is convenient when Austin’s local festivals like the Zilker Park Kite Festival, SXSW and the Austin City Limits Music Festival are taking place.