Navigating Downtown Austin

Central Library

Last week I spent a bit of time downtown for work and play. For work, I showed some condos in the Posada Del Rey condominium community at 505 W 7th Street. If you haven’t heard of this community, that is partially due to its small size and has units available for lease more frequently than for purchase. While searching for parking, I circumnavigated the old Extended Stay Hotel, which will be the home of the new 6 X Guadalupe tower at 400 W 6th Street. This will be a mixed-use tower comprised of office spaces, 349 residences and ground floor retail. After driving around in a circle for a bit, realizing my parking karma wasn’t with me that day – I settled on a parking garage. Continue reading

Austin Real Estate Market Sizzles

Recently Sold Home In Kyle

The summer home selling season is sizzling in Austin real estate news. Market activity set an all-time sales volume in May reaching $1.2 billion, according to the May 2017 Central Texas Housing Market Report released by the Austin Board of REALTORS®.  By the numbers, May 2017 single-family housing market statistics in the Austin-Round Rock Metropolitan Statistical Area showed 3,170 Single-family homes sold, which was 9% more than May 2016.  The median price for single-family homes was $310,000, an 8% increase over May 2016.  The average time on the market was 43 days homes, which was one day less than May 2016.

Austin is Weird

The key to this market for a buyer is flexibility in terms of location and a solid understanding of budget. Austin is weird and the beauty of that is having a wide variety of home styles to choose from, in a unique mix of neighborhoods.

With low inventory, Buyers are searching for a home in a larger area then they once were.

The key to this Austin real estate market for sellers is also understanding that their home is also unique right now. In some neighborhoods, there may be only one house for sale in a particular price point. This creates a sellers’ market and an opportunity.  The Austin housing market has buyers searching within a larger map area these days because of the lack of inventory and will keep looking elsewhere if the home does not show well.

Sellers are representing the neighborhood.

Keeping the house clean and cool in the summer are two of the easiest ways to welcome a buyer, show pride of ownership, and now-a-days represent the neighborhood.

Interest Rates Impact Housing Market Trends

Austin Texas Home Sales February 2017

 Austin, TX … The water cooler topic these days is all about mortgage interest rates. Everyone is anticipating rates to go up, but it is not clear when that change will happen or even by how much. Interest rates factor into real estate because they help determine buying power. Lower interest rates increase buying power. Lenders look at the debt to income ratio when deciding to approve a buyer for a loan. Debt includes existing data like student loans and car payments, but the principle and interest on your proposed mortgage will also be a factor. The more you spend on interest the lower your principle payment on the house will need to be to meet the qualifying debt to income ratio.

People always ask me if selling next year means selling for more than this year. I can’t predict the future. When I list a house, and even when I represent a buyer, I look at trends in the market. Market trends vary about every 3 months based on how fast inventory is moving, what houses have sold for and what houses entering the market are being listed for. Austin housing prices are a reflection of both national and global economic factors that affect interest rates, the stock market, the bond market and employment rates to name a few. The volatility of market conditions makes it impossible to predict what your house will sell for a year from now. Sometimes I review sales over the past year, but it’s not to price a house – it’s to look at the trend.

Austin Texas Real Estate Markets are Local

Markets are local which can be scaled down to a particular subdivision or specific condo community. Markets can be defined as a school district, zip code, etc. Looking back in time longer than 3 months helps me see the trend of that particular market because – although the list price can’t be predicted a year from now, how hot a specific market is generally can. Price, on the other hand, is a moment in time.

Price is a Moment in Time

Interest rates go up and down constantly.  A consistent steady decline or rise in interest rates does ultimately affect home values. Time will tell what this year will bring in Austin. Sales seem to have flattened a bit, but Spring is in the air.  

Back to School Starts Austin Real Estate Fall Season

PoolMother Nature offers two options in Central Texas – either extreme heat or extreme rain. Heat indexes got as high as 108 degrees in Austin before breaking a record for rain totals in August. Working with extreme weather can be a daunting task for a home buyer. Only those with an immediate need or searching for a lakefront property were stepping out to buy a home in Austin.

Lakefront Properties in Austin

There is always a consistent desire to live close to Lake Austin and Lady Bird Lake, but sales dropped along Lake Travis during the drought. Many homes that were once lakefront, were no longer as desirable without water present. Things have changed quite a bit. In fact, Lake Travis has reached full status for the second time this year.

Austin Lake Homes for Sale

The consistent water levels turned the lakefront property market around quite a bit this summer. Austin lake view homes for sale and lakefront properties in Austin, West Lake Hills and Lake Travis certainly saw saw an increase in sales activity.

Austin Goes Back to School

With summer vacations winding down and everyone back into school – commuting times need some adjustment. The market may soften just a bit more as everyone takes a bit of a breather as we settle into our fall schedules.

Central Texas Real Estate Market Statistics

Central Texas experienced a bit of a decline in July compared to July 2015. According to the July 2016 Central Texas Housing Report released by the Austin Board of REALTORS(R), 4,230 single-family homes were sold which was a 3.1% decline in July compared to July 2015.

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.

Realtor.com 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.

Beyond Austin’s City Limits

490 W Overlook Mountain RoadI held an open house in Elliott Ranch last week, which is located in the City of Buda. About 25 people toured the home which was a pretty strong showing for a 2-hour open house right in the middle of Sunday football.

Buda borders Austin on its southern end, so some visitors were not even aware they had left the city limits. The mindset of many people who live in Central Texas is that Buda is a suburb in South Austin.

Austin Real Estate and Beyond

From a market perspective, Buda is considered part of the greater Austin area and has been experiencing the same growth challenges and low inventory of homes for sale. Buda is an area I reference, along with Kyle, Dripping Springs, Manor and Cedar Park when I talk about how Austin is growing up and growing out. Buda offers buyers a little more for their money when compared to Austin. The dollar goes further in Buda, offering a larger home, maybe a newer home and/or larger lot size for buyers when compared to the City of Austin.

Featured Home: 490 W Overlook Mountain Road, Buda Texas

  • 3 bedrooms
  • 2.5 baths
  • 2,566 square feet (tax record)
  • 2.269 acres
  • in-ground pool
  • fire pit
  • 3-car garage

Located in the gated community of Elliott Ranch

Austin City Limits Music Festival Real Estate Recap

Austin City Limits Music FestivalThe Austin City Limits Music Festival has come and gone for 2014 leaving a large boost for Austin’s economy in its wake. Headliners including Outcast, Eminem and Pearl Jam contributed to both 3-day weekends selling out to roughly 75,000 visitors per day. The estimated total in revenue was $175 million for Austin in 2013.

Much of the economic contribution is from out of town guests visiting and staying in Austin for the festival. Roughly sixty-six percent of ACL festival attendees are from out of town and spend an average of nearly $900 per day on food, lodging and retail.

For attendees curious to know what homes are worth near the Austin City Limits Music Festival, below lists up-to-date market data specific to real estate for sale located within 1 mile of Zilker Park:

Austin Condominiums for Sale near Zilker Park:

  • Current Number of Active Homes: 23
  • Total Number of Pending and Active homes: 31
  • Average List Price: $487,884

Austin Single Family Houses for Sale near Zilker Park:

  • Current Number of Active Homes: 14
  • Total Number of Pending and Active homes: 25
  • Average List Price: $1,465,393

Other Zilker Park events include the Zilker Kite Festival, Blues on the Green and the Zilker Trail of Lights lending it to be a source of  consistent entertainment year round.  Homes located near Zilker Park are considered prime real estate and are consistently low in supply and high in demand.