Realty Pros of Austin

ATX Vantage Point

Lease Listings Expirations Spike

The leasing market can be difficult to manage for both the owners and leasers. Graphs such as the one above help to put the Austin market into perspective and hopefully help people to understand conditions in the Austin Real Estate Leasing Market. The data above illustrates the link between the number or new listings that go up and the number of listings that expire before they can be leased.

Here are a few things that this graph can show us:

  • The amount of listings have consistently gone up over the last 2 years due to both an increase in the population of Austin and the influx in investors entering the Austin market.
    • As more investors move into any given market, they both drive up the rental rates and make it more difficult for first time home buyers to purchase to a home.
  •  In 8 of the 24 months (actually 8 of 18), more properties expired than were listed in that month.
    • Begs the question, how strong is the leasing market and how do I make sure that my property stays leased?
  • When you look at these listings closely, the ones that expire are typically due to owners setting unrealistic prices for their properties and being inflexible with the market conditions.
  • Many properties are listed late in the summer(just as the market is cooling off), which is why you see a huge spike in expired listings in December.
  • September, October, and November show a lot of expired listings with a huge spike in December showing that Fall is the worst time try and lease your property

Realty Pros of Austin and Austin Manage are both experts in their respective fields and can clearly communicate to our owners and leasees the following:

  • Providing prospective tenants with realtors who can find them the best possible place.
  • Providing our properties with the most exposure through Realty Pros of Austin, allowing them to be leased faster and more efficiently.
  • Providing our leasees with an efficient tenant portal, completing their maintenance requests in a timely manner, collecting rent and much much more!
  • Realty Pros of Austin keeps it eye on the market and provides owners sensible solutions to all of their problems.

Austin Market Sees Increased Listing Expirations Near End of Year

 

One simple graph can tell you a lot about what is happening in any given market place. The graph above represents the correlation between new listings in Austin and expired listings. Expired listings are fairly consistent throughout the year and take a sharp spike at the end of the year.

Here are some of the things that we can pull from this data:

  • Expired listings indicate that a property was most likely overpriced.
  • Listing your property does not guarantee that it will sell.
  • Setting your price at an unrealistic level is something that guarantees your property will not sell.
  • A lot of Realtors will do anything to get a listing including pricing a property well above its true value in order to get the listing.
  • Getting a Realtor who takes the time to give sellers a realistic valuation on their property helps ensure that the property will actually sell and not just be another expiration statistic.

At Realty Pros of Austin, We are experts in the Austin Real Estate Market and can clearly communicate to our sellers the following:

  • Sellers need to be prepared to sell their home and need to be ready to move when it does.
  • Testing the market aka putting your house on the market with unrealistic expectations almost guarantees that the house will not sell.
  • Preparing your house to sell requires a lot of hard work. Decluttering, taking professional photographs, keeping the house clean for showings, leaving the house at odd times for showings are just a few of the things you’ll have to prepare for.
  • At Realty Pros of Austin we have real estate experts who price your home right and get it sold in a reasonable time frame.

Properties are Popping up Everywhere on Rainey Street!

According to the Austin Business Journal the Rainey Street district is about to see another apartment high-rise! The project is stated to cost an estimated $60 million and the company in charge, Lee Development, is still looking for investors to fund this massive project. The CEO of the real estate developer Robert Lee has stated that the apartment complex will have 244 units and each unit will possibly be available to rent out or sold as condos.  This is great news for any future investors and real estate professionals, especially with the growing popularity of the Rainey Street area. Other great real estate opportunities coming to the area include a 34-story condo tower and 2 new apartment towers that will be replacing the Villas on Town Lake! This is a very exciting real estate deal that offers a lot to any up and coming real estate professionals and tenants looking to enjoy the area and many experiences that Austin has to offer!

Source: Austin Business Journal https://www.bizjournals.com/austin/news/2017/07/24/another-multifamily-tower-to-rise-on-rainey-street.html

April 2016 Monthly Real Estate Stats

April 2016 Newsletter

Market update: 2,552 Austin-area single-family homes were sold in March 2016, up 9.3%. Over the same time frame, median home price increased by 7.8% year-over-year to $278,000.
MLS Market Report
Important stats from this past month.

March 2016 Statistics

austin real estate stats

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2,552 – Single-family homes sold, 9.3 percent more than March 2015.

$278,000 – Median price for single-family homes, 7.8 percent more than March 2015.
$347,734 – Average price for single-family homes, 4.5 percent more than March 2015.
54 – Average number of days single-family homes spent on the market, unchanged compared to March 2015.
3,633 – New single-family home listings on the market, 12.2 percent more than March 2015.
4,669 – Active single-family home listings on the market, 1.5 percent more than March 2015.
2,811 – Pending sales for single-family homes, 7.2 percent more than March 2015.
2.0 – Months of inventory* of single-family homes, 0.2 months less than March 2015.
$887,419,074 – Total dollar volume of single-family properties sold, 14.1 percent more than March 2015.
More information from ABOR

__________________________________________

HOT TOPIC

ABoR calls attention to housing diversity issues in Central Texas amidst rising home prices
“Home sales continue to rise throughout the region, but for many Austin-area residents, homeownership is just not a feasible option,” said Aaron Farmer, 2016 President of the Austin Board of REALTORS­®. “Longtime Austin residents are being priced out of their homes and many are unable to live close to their work or school. As a city, we have to start being mindful of how our property development, appraisal and code enforcement decisions impact not only housing affordability, but also the diversity of our neighborhoods and communities.”

Ready the full story here>>

Ready to buy or sell a property?
Contact us here.

See what RPA has been up to!

Check out our new redesigned and SEO optimized website! As an owner this important because it means more visibility on your properties, more tenants, more buyers, and more interest overall! We are already conquering search results for major searches.
www.realtyprosaustin.com

This month’s highlighted articles from our friends at ABJ.
Downtown Austin condos sales detailed; one sold for $142K but don’t get your hopes up
Read More – Austin Business Journal
Austin software maker to grow cybersecurity business with new funding
Read More – Austin Business Journal
Austin mixed-use development divides residents in Shoal Creek neighborhood
Read More – Austin Business Journal
Austin tequila billionaire puts Dripping Springs ranch up for sale
Read More – Austin Business Journal
St. Edward’s University set to build $40M student housing project
Read More – Austin Business Journal
Infill builders push back over Austin’s proposed garage placement rule
Read More – Austin Business Journal
Alcoa puts massive tract east of Austin on market for $250M
Read More – Austin Business Journal
Meet the man tasked with selling Austin to the world
Read More – Austin Business Journal

Earth Day Tips for Your Home in 2016

Each year on Earth Day, the same thoughts enter the consumer’s mind: I would love to help the earth, but I don’t think I can make any major changes to my home right now. This thought is all too common as the everyday consumer assumes environmentally impactful changes have to be something as large-scale as installing solar panels on the roof. In actuality, the changes can be quite simple and wind up saving the consumer a decent amount on their electric bill each month.

Below are a few simple household tips that can both help the earth and reduce the monthly electric bill:

Ceiling Fans
Switching the direction of your ceiling fan depending on the season can save big when it comes to heating and cooling costs – in the summer, ceiling fan blades should rotate in a counterclockwise to create cool downward airflow. In the winter, fan blades should rotate in a clockwise direction to redistribute warm air, which naturally rises to the top of the ceiling.

Motion Sensors
If you intend to install some lights purely for security purposes, motion sensors are a great option. Most of the time they remain off, adding nothing to your electricity bill but if someone approaches your back door or driveway (or wherever else you choose to install the motion sensor light,) the fixture comes to life and illuminates the intruder.

LED Bulbs
LED lights are praised for their low energy consumption, impressive durability and high performance in cold environments. These bulbs can be used within the home to create a modern look as well as in exposed fixtures without fearing problems with rain and snow. LED bulbs are also known to last drastically longer than traditional bulbs requiring less maintenance on the consumer’s part.

Dimming Capabilities
Installing dimming capabilities allows the consumer to place outdoor lighting above a seating area at the precise brightness you need sparing the need to use unnecessary electricity. When relaxing with a glass of wine, dim the lights for a more private, romantic setting. When you have friends over for a game of cards, brighten the lights so everyone can see well.

Updating Appliances
Often, when a consumer buys a new refrigerator, they will take the old working fridge and move it to the basement or garage. Keeping old, outdated appliances will not only increase a consumer’s carbon footprint but will also strain their electricity bill. It will also act as a large waste of energy as older appliances use more energy than newer, Energy Star appliances. If your appliance was made before 1990, it is recommended that it be replaced with an EnergyStar model that will use far less energy on a daily basis.

Unplugging
More often than not, the best energy-saving tips are the simplest, like unplugging the phone after it’s finished charging. It is not enough to simply turn off devices with power adaptors as they will enter standby mode and continue to consume power. A great way to ensure that the devices are off when not in use is to use a power strip that has an on/off switch for a quick manual shutdown. Items that are known culprits of consuming energy when not in use are: battery chargers, computers, game consoles, TVs, DVRs, printers and high-end sound systems.

 


 

Realty Pros of Austin

If you’re thinking about buy or selling your home in Austin, Texas reach out to our team of experts and we will guide you each step of the way.

April Monthly Newsletter

Events, Real Estate, Giveaways, Oh My!

Realty Pros of Austin – April 2016 Newsletter
View this email in your browser

April 2016 Newsletter

Quick Market Update: Austin-area single-family home sales rose 3% year-over-year in February 2016. Over the same time frame, median price increased 8% to $269,900. Austin homeowners are quickly seeing an increase of value in their homes.

THINGS TO DO IN AUSTIN

This month’s top events: April 2016

Euphoria Fest April 7 – 10 (Concert)
Throwback Thursdays at Icenhauer’s April 7 (Rainey)
Keep Austin Beautiful 2016 April 9 (FREE)
29th Old Settler’s Music Festival April 16 -17 (Salt Lick)
Willie Nelson & Merle Haggard (RIP Merle!) April 16 (Whitewater)
MotoGP at Circuit of the Americas April 8 to 10 (COTA)

Check out more events at do512.com

Monthly Spotlight: March Madness Bracket Challenge Winner!

We hosted our First Annual March Madness Bracket Challenge! We had agents, brokers, friends and even clients all join in on the fun! This year’s winner of $200 was Will Mitchell of RenovateSimply! HUGE thanks to everyone who participated. Until next year, we hope to see you all again!

will mitchell - march madness winner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Congrats to Will from the Realty Pros Team! 

Make sure to like us on Facebook and stay up to date with giveaways and events! Like us here: FB.com/realtyprosofaustin

REAL ESTATE ADVICE

Thinking about buying in Austin?
Buying a home is a great investment with home values set to only continue to increase in the coming years. Austin defies all other areas when it comes to real estate due to our growing economy which is diversified with a multitude of industries along with so much opportunity for growth. If you’ve been thinking about buying, reach out to one of our neighborhood real estate experts. We will guide you each step of the way.

Want to sell a property?
Get a free home valuation from us and learn more about our real estate marketing services. Contact us here.
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FEATURED AREA: ROSEDALE
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QUOTE OF THE MONTH
“There is a freedom you begin to feel the closer you get to Austin, Texas.”
– Willie Nelson

POPULAR ARTICLES RECENTLY SHARED

Austin joins nationwide TechHire program to meet workforce needs
Paid tech internships in Austin will be provided to as many as 220 graduates from accelerated training programs aimed at veterans and low-income residents, an extention of the White House’s TechHire initiative that was launched last year. Microsoft Corp., Google Inc. and IBM Corp. will advise or work with the city of Austin on the initiative.
READ FULL ARTICLE HERE

Goldman Sachs to acquire fast-track Austin startup
Honest Dollar Inc., a tech-based financial services startup, has agreed to be acquired by a division of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS).The Austin company that was founded only about 16 months ago will stay in Austin and operate as part of the investment management division of Goldman Sachs. Honest Dollar employs 25 workers.
READ FULL ARTICLE HERE

These are the 5 most charming neighborhoods in Austin
It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood, and Austin boasts five areas that would make even Mr. Rogers want to pick up and move. That’s according to apartment search website RentLingo, which created heat maps across the country to determine which local neighborhoods have the most charm.
READ FULL ARTICLE HERE

Austin ranks among the hottest rental markets, and we know what that means
Apartment supply is barely keeping up with demand in Austin, which Zillow just named one of the 10 hottest rental markets in the nation. A slew of new buildings going up, rising rents, and competition for those units all fuel the frenzied market, making Austin the No. 8 most competitive of them all.
READ FULL ARTICLE HERE

Former NYC mayor lays out path for Austin’s future success
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani urged a private group of Austin business executives to push for dedicated infrastructure funding to …
READ FULL ARTICLE HERE

Home of the Day: Rare and Desirable W Condo with Lake and City Views
Rare to the market, the most desirable Southwest corner three bedroom residence known as the 3E with an incredible floor plan showcasing dramatic lake and city views. This 3,498 square foot corner residence features imported European wide-plank hardwood floors throughout, Miele appliances, Bulthaup cabinetry, 10″ ceilings, automatic solar shades, custom built-in bookshelves, a large outdoor living area which is truly an extension of the residence and a gourmet kitchen with a large custom pantry, wine storage and a separate service entrance.
READ FULL ARTICLE HERE

Realty Pros of Austin – Lakeway Office COMING SOON!

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Austin Homes for Lease

Search Austin homes for lease in all areas. Find available properties to rent around Austin, Texas. Log in and submit a request to view a certain property and have one of our real estate agents & REALTORS guide you to finding your rental in Austin.

 

SXSW Guide

SXSW can be overwhelming to first-timers. We’ve created this guide to help you prepare for the adventure ahead. By now you should be registered and have your housing arrangements sorted.

Below we’ll cover some items to get ready for SXSW and a few tips on how to do SXSW. The SXSW Registrar has emailed registrants a “Before You Leave Home” email that contains a Registration QuickCode. The Registration QuickCode helps get you in and out of the registration hall so you can start doing South By.

Check back as this page is updated throughout the 2016 season.

ONE TOOL DOES IT ALL – GET THE SXSW GO MOBILE APP

We cannot overemphasize the importance of downloading SXSW GO, our official mobile app for getting the most out of attending SXSW 2016. Browse all events and speakers, and create your personal schedule, synchronized through all of your devices using a login system. Find your friends and connections to see what they’re doing, and network with thousands of other attendees. Get information on exploring Austin, navigate the Trade Show, and stay connected to the social world. Discover new events through curated recommendations based off of your SXsocial profile tags. SXSW GO is available on the App Store and Play Store – download and learn more here.

PACK FOR EVERY OCCASION

SXSW is more than just a conference. You’ll be attending sessions, meeting potential clients, attending screenings, networking at clubs, and hopping from one showcase to the next. If you’ve ever been to Austin, you know that the weather can be unpredictable – be sure to check weather listings before you leave. That being said, Austin is a really casual city. If you want to attend panels in your pajamas, we won’t judge.

You’re going to be doing a lot walking, so unless you’re dressed to impress for SXstyle, be comfort-conscious when selecting shoes to pack. If you can manage it, you may want to have a change of shoes available. Your feet will thank you. We strongly recommend that you pack sunscreen and a reusable water bottle. The Texas heat can be dehydrating and the air in the convention center can be quite dry, but you’ll find water stations throughout the building to refill your bottle and stay hydrated.

BOOK & DOUBLE CHECK YOUR FLIGHT

It’s never too early to book your flight to SXSW. Airline prices seem to take off faster than the planes themselves the closer you book to your travel date. Use our handy travel tool to book flights early at the best available rates to save – you have much more important things to spend your money on, like tacos and barbecue. At travel.sxsw.com, you can find flights from a multitude of airlines to Austin from your hometown, with the option to sort by price, duration, and number of stops. The skies get busy in Austin around March, so be sure to check for flight delays before leaving for your airport.

Once you arrive in Austin, don’t wait around for a ride at the airport! If you’re anything like us, you want to start experiencing SXSW as soon as possible. After you book your flight, switch over to the car hire tab in the travel tool and have a ride waiting for you when you fly in. Browse more Transportation Options below.

INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL

Austing-Bergstrom International Airport now offers non-stop travel to London Heathrow, Mexico City, and Cancun. As with our domestic registrants, we encourage our international registrants to use our travel tool to guarantee you find the best price possible for your flight. While most US carriers have flights directly to Austin, many International travelers will need to catch a connecting flight from another hub in the US. For registrants flying in from the UK, Australia, or New Zealand, the agents below will work with you to ensure you find the best rates possible:

Transatlantic Air Travel The Tour Company, our recommended travel vendor, offers great Transatlantic airfares from London with add-ons from other cities in the United Kingdom and Europe. See www.thetourcompany.co.uk. Contact Louise Fisher by email LouiseF@thetourcompany.co.uk or phone +44-141-353-8800.

Entertainment Travel Partners is SXSW’s preferred air travel provider from Australia and New Zealand. Visit them at www.travelpartners.com.au. Contact Brad Thomas by email bradt@travelpartners.com.au or phone +61-2-9280-3767.

Be sure to double-check your Visa status a few weeks prior to leaving for the festival. For more information, visit the US Bureau of Consular Affair’s Visa Page or our Visa FAQ.

KNOW YOUR HOTEL

Be sure you know the complete name of your hotel. We have a lot of hotels, some with very similar names. Most brands operate more than one hotel in Austin, so write down your hotel’s address to tell your ride to avoid confusion. This is the easiest way to quickly get to your room, drop off your luggage, and get downtown to start having fun! If you are not planning to travel with the credit card you intend to use to pay for your room, be sure to fill out a credit card pre-authorization form and fax or email it to your hotel.

Any desired changes to your reservation can be made by pressing the ‘Request for Change’ button at the bottom of your housing confirmation, your SXsocial account, and your SXSW shopping cart. Contact the SXSW Housing Department by calling 512-467-7979 or email housing@sxsw.com. The housing department is here as a resource for you and works tirelessly to ensure your rooming needs are met.

BADGE PICKUP

Visit our Bade Pickup page for pickup locations and times. Plan to arrive early and to help expedite the process, link your badge with SXsocial and upload a color photo to use on your badge. If we don’t have a photo for you, we’ll be happy to take one for you at pickup.

After pickup, badges must be attached to a lanyard worn around your neck at all times. If your badge is lost, stolen, or confiscated, reissues will only be offered at the walk-up price.

DRIVING

We want you to experience all that SXSW and Austin has to offer, so we ask anybody planning to drive in the Austin area during the festival to consider saving time and stress by using alternative forms of transportation. Parking downtown is a genuine commodity during the festival, and street closures may make it difficult to get around. If you will be driving an automobile and plan on parking near the Austin Convention Center, or anywhere downtown, here is a metered parking availability tool and garage and lot parking map.

TRANSPORTATION OPTIONS

Mazda, Super Sponsor and the official automobile partner of SXSW, is bringing a fleet of Mazdas to Austin to help you get to every inspiring event on your checklist. This service is complimentary, and you can save time by pre-registering for Mazda Express or sign up at the Austin Convention Center.

Lyft is the official ride sharing partner of SXSW 2016. If you’re a first time user, download the Lyft app and use the code SXSW2016 prior to April 30, 2016 for a $20 coupon towards your first ride. You can find more information on Lyft, and other transportation options, on our Getting Around page.

MetroAirport bus service for transportation from and to the airport. Rides cost $1.75 in exact change or a pass which can be purchased using the CapMetro App. As always, bus times are estimated so get to your stop 5 to 10 minutes prior to the estimated arrival time.
SXSW Festival Shuttles are provided as a free service to registrants. Shuttles leave the Austin Convention Center every 7 to 10 minutes during conference hours, but if you stay downtown for a nightcap on 6th Street, they keep running until 2:30am. To view the route and track shuttles in real time, download the SXSW GO app, or go to shuttles.sxsw.com.
Austin B-Cycle is the low-cost, pay-as-you-go bicycle commitment. B-Cycle has stations set-up all over downtown, and offers a myriad of different pricing options. Get around town faster than automobile travel, quickly move through areas blocked to automobile traffic, and enjoy some brief, refreshing exercise.
Pedicabs operate downtown for a pre-negotiated tip. Some couples find pedicab rides to be romantic, and others enjoy pedicabs rigged up with booming stereo systems or a novelty design. Pedicabs are a leisurely way to travel from event to event.
Bus and Rail public Transportation is provided by Capital Metro. Rides cost $1.75 in exact change or a pass which can be purchased using the CapMetro App. Visit the Capital Metro SXSW page for SXSW-specific information.
Taxi and many other services are covered here.
MAKE A SCHEDULE

You don’t have to stick with it, but having some place to start will make all the difference. The process of making your schedule is a useful discovery tool for events you may not otherwise hear about. Using the scheduling tool on schedule.sxsw.com or SXSW GO, events can be filtered by conference, event type, venue, and time. Simply click the star to the left of an event’s listing to add it to your schedule. If you have any further questions, check out the Schedule Help page.

Wondering what events to schedule? Think about what you want out of your SXSW experience. Are you here to network? Are you here to learn? Or, are you just here to have the best week of your year? The sheer number of events can be daunting, but using the right filters in the scheduling tool will help you identify the events you’ll enjoy the most. Don’t be afraid to branch out – our Convergence programming events are open to more than one badge type and encourage networking between registrants from many different fields of expertise.

FIND A SXSW FRIEND

SXSW provides a fun, social atmosphere – even if you arrive in Austin on your own, you’ll be saying heartfelt goodbyes at the end of the week. Get a head start on making memories, and see if you know anyone attending in SXsocial. Don’t hesitate to seek out SXSW-veteran attendees and speakers for advice, suggestions, and directions.

PACE YOURSELF

You will have the urge to hit the ground running and try to cram as much into your first day as possible. Resist it! You will only be overwhelmed and disappointed with yourself that you don’t have the energy to go to that great evening event you had your heart set on. As they say, SXSW is a marathon not a sprint.

LOST & FOUND

Lost and Found is now located in the Registration Hall (Austin Convention Center, Exhibit Hall 5). You can drop off found items at the Registration Help Desks. A description of an item and the location it was lost/found in can be emailed to lostandfound@sxsw.com.

INFORMATION DESKS

While inside the Convention Center, if you do happen to get lost, need access to a computer with internet connectivity, or have a question to ask, then stop by one of the four volunteer staffed Information Desks. Information Desk locations are identified on the maps found in the Program and Pocket Guides, as well as on the Convention Center maps found in the “Locations” tab of the SXSW GO app.

READ THE PRINTED MATERIALS

When you pick up your materials in the registration hall take a moment to look through them. Pay particular attention to the Pocket Guide. It will have a list of all the programming times and locations, along with a detailed map of the Austin Convention Center.

We hope you’ve found this page helpful. We’ll keep adding to this list as we get closer to the event. Think we’re missing something? Email us.

This article originally appeared on SXSW.

Austin Housing Sets Records in 2015

http://atxne.ws/1P9j1KV       

By Shonda Novak – American-Statesman Staff 

Austin’s housing market ended 2015 the way it started the year — still among the hottest in the nation.

For the fifth straight year, Austin-area home sales set a record in 2015, the Austin Board of Realtors said Thursday.

And for the fourth year in a row, the area’s median home sales price hit a new high, rising to $263,900.

With similar market conditions still in place, experts predict 2016 will be similar for the Central Texas housing market, though affordability will remain a concern as prices push higher. In addition, potential headwinds could loom for the economy that could affect the housing market, they say.

Last year ended with 29,068 sales of single-family homes, about 4.7 percent higher than 2014’s total, according to the Board of Realtors. Half the homes sold for more than $263,900 and half sold for less, an 8.8 percent jump in the annual median sales price.

    

Sales and the median prices also set records for the month of December, the board said. December’s 2,390 sales were up about 5.5 percent over December 2014’s volume. The median price for homes sold in December was $270,000, 9.7 percent higher than December 2014.

Home prices in Central Texas have risen sharply in the past few years as demand for housing has outstripped supply.

“House prices have increased a lot in recent years, and our own indicators (including house-price-to-income ratios) imply that the market is becoming overpriced,” said Ed Friedman, a director with Moody’s Analytics who follows the Texas economy.

Still, some real estate agents and local housing experts say the Austin market remains on solid footing.

“As long as people continue to move here, we’re going to continue with a robust economy” and home sales will stay healthy, said Grant Whittenberger, a local real estate agent. “Texas is becoming a destination for people in states facing difficult economic times.”

Amy Bernhard, an agent with Realty Austin, said she thinks the housing market “will be the same, or even a little better, than last year.”

“Everything has appreciated very organically,” Bernhard said. “I don’t think we’re in any sort of bubble.”

Local real estate agent George Vance McGee, however, said he thinks “prices are just a little too high.”

“Buyers are not paying these pie-in-the-sky prices,” McGee said. “Some of my sellers are giving me a dreamy price and hoping I may be able to perform a miracle, and I have not been performing miracles lately.”

Experts say there are several uncertainties facing the market — including possible impact from slumping oil prices.

“As long as the national economy continues to hum along, Austin can probably weather most of the energy-related storm,” said Jim Gaines, chief economist at the Texas A&M University Real Estate Center. “High tech and professional business services continue to prosper – which is good news for the Austin area. The dark cloud is probably state government funding as the lower oil price is eventually going to start playing havoc with the state budget.”

Mike Castleman Sr., a longtime housing industry analyst, said he is “very concerned about the Texas economy” and thinks it could be in for “a fairly severe setback.”

“The price of oil has collapsed, and it is expected that as many as 30 percent of the oil companies in the country will go into bankruptcy, and most of those companies are in Texas,” Castleman said.

However, the impact for Austin will be “mild to moderate,” he predicted.

Paul Peters, recruiting manager at Assurance Financial, a Louisiana-based residential mortgage lender, said the company plans to open a major regional mortgage loan production office in Austin, which is “high on our list of expansion markets.”

“We view the area as one of the strongest diversified economies and residential housing markets in the country,” Peters said. “We believe that Austin will continue to see robust appreciation in home values and that more affordable housing will surface in the area as more lot development takes place in the market.”

A&M’s Gaines said he thinks Austin’s housing market should hold up well in 2016, although he’s hesitant to project another record year.

“Affordability – the disparity in the rate of increase in home prices relative to changes in income levels — higher interest rates and a slower economic expansion could lead to a somewhat slower market, but it’ll be close,” Gaines said. “So far, most of the new jobs created have been relatively high-paying, adding to the demand for even higher priced homes.”

/1P9j1KV

By Shonda Novak – American-Statesman Staff
Austin’s housing market ended 2015 the way it started the year — still among the hottest in the nation.

For the fifth straight year, Austin-area home sales set a record in 2015, the Austin Board of Realtors said Thursday.

And for the fourth year in a row, the area’s median home sales price hit a new high, rising to $263,900.

With similar market conditions still in place, experts predict 2016 will be similar for the Central Texas housing market, though affordability will remain a concern as prices push higher. In addition, potential headwinds could loom for the economy that could affect the housing market, they say.

Last year ended with 29,068 sales of single-family homes, about 4.7 percent higher than 2014’s total, according to the Board of Realtors. Half the homes sold for more than $263,900 and half sold for less, an 8.8 percent jump in the annual median sales price.

+

Sales and the median prices also set records for the month of December, the board said. December’s 2,390 sales were up about 5.5 percent over December 2014’s volume. The median price for homes sold in December was $270,000, 9.7 percent higher than December 2014.

Home prices in Central Texas have risen sharply in the past few years as demand for housing has outstripped supply.

“House prices have increased a lot in recent years, and our own indicators (including house-price-to-income ratios) imply that the market is becoming overpriced,” said Ed Friedman, a director with Moody’s Analytics who follows the Texas economy.

Still, some real estate agents and local housing experts say the Austin market remains on solid footing.

“As long as people continue to move here, we’re going to continue with a robust economy” and home sales will stay healthy, said Grant Whittenberger, a local real estate agent. “Texas is becoming a destination for people in states facing difficult economic times.”

Amy Bernhard, an agent with Realty Austin, said she thinks the housing market “will be the same, or even a little better, than last year.”

“Everything has appreciated very organically,” Bernhard said. “I don’t think we’re in any sort of bubble.”

Local real estate agent George Vance McGee, however, said he thinks “prices are just a little too high.”

“Buyers are not paying these pie-in-the-sky prices,” McGee said. “Some of my sellers are giving me a dreamy price and hoping I may be able to perform a miracle, and I have not been performing miracles lately.”

Experts say there are several uncertainties facing the market — including possible impact from slumping oil prices.

“As long as the national economy continues to hum along, Austin can probably weather most of the energy-related storm,” said Jim Gaines, chief economist at the Texas A&M University Real Estate Center. “High tech and professional business services continue to prosper – which is good news for the Austin area. The dark cloud is probably state government funding as the lower oil price is eventually going to start playing havoc with the state budget.”

Mike Castleman Sr., a longtime housing industry analyst, said he is “very concerned about the Texas economy” and thinks it could be in for “a fairly severe setback.”

“The price of oil has collapsed, and it is expected that as many as 30 percent of the oil companies in the country will go into bankruptcy, and most of those companies are in Texas,” Castleman said.

However, the impact for Austin will be “mild to moderate,” he predicted.

Paul Peters, recruiting manager at Assurance Financial, a Louisiana-based residential mortgage lender, said the company plans to open a major regional mortgage loan production office in Austin, which is “high on our list of expansion markets.”

“We view the area as one of the strongest diversified economies and residential housing markets in the country,” Peters said. “We believe that Austin will continue to see robust appreciation in home values and that more affordable housing will surface in the area as more lot development takes place in the market.”

A&M’s Gaines said he thinks Austin’s housing market should hold up well in 2016, although he’s hesitant to project another record year.

“Affordability – the disparity in the rate of increase in home prices relative to changes in income levels — higher interest rates and a slower economic expansion could lead to a somewhat slower market, but it’ll be close,” Gaines said. “So far, most of the new jobs created have been relatively high-paying, adding to the demand for even higher priced homes.”

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