Austin, TX Real Estate News

By Sam Chapman
Anyone who has done the commute to Austin through the intersection known as the Y at Oak Hill knows how bad traffic has become.  This intersection is where 290 and 71 come together (or split apart).  AMD is building a huge facility near by that will house several thousand.  ripping Springs is growing like mad.  Hwy 290 is a 6 land high-speed road going west, but that ends just before the Y.  From there on it is traffic lignt after traffic light.Well there is a ploan to fix that.  A massive interchange is being proposed.  The talk has been going on since the 80s, but this time it looks serious.  One concern is protecting Williamson Creek, which part of the new road system would cross.  Another concern is the removal of many oak trees in order to make room for the interchange.  Another co...
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By Roselind Hejl
(Coldwell Banker United)
 During the past year there have been over 18,000 new jobs created in Austin.  The surprising thing is that all of them have been absorbed.  Unemployment is still very low - 3.7%.  Many companies are hiring.  Dell is hiring over 500 new upper level employees.  Dimentional Fund Advisors is moving here from Santa Monica, bring over 300 highly paid employees.  Samsung is expanding its semiconductor fabriction center.  And, there is more.  Local companies are hiring, new companies are coming here.  The Austin Real Estate market is fueled by the healthy economy and job growth.  Austin Texas Real Estate Guide 
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The Week in Review:  November 12 - 18, 2006 (compared to the same week in 2005)New listings are down 6.89%.Pendings up 11.43% Solds up slightly by 0.27%.As for Average Prices: November 12 - 18, 2006 (compared to the same week in 2005)New Listings" average list price is up 8.86% to $266,799.  Sold average sales price increased 4.30% to $246,902.---------- The Month in Review:  October 2006 (compared to the same month in 2005)New listings are up by 16.17%.Pendings increased by 4.38%Solds increased by 9.31%.  As for Average Prices:New Listings" average list price is up by 4.42%.Sold average sales prices increased 8.96% to $225,654 compared to $207,089 in 2005.
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By Sam Chapman
There are a lot of great places to go hiking around Austin.  This morning I went to the Hamilton Pool Preserve.  It was a cool, fall day and the sky was an intense blue.  I thought it would be a great morning to photograph Hamilton Pool - and I was right.  See for yourself at my Hamilton Pool Photos page.
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Michael & Susan Dell and Mill & Melinda Gates are helping to make Austin schools better.  The foundations for each couple are giving grants totaling $15.6 million with the intention of redesigning local high schools.  This is nothing new to the Gates Foundation, which has invested close to $1 billion in education around the country.I love that this is happening.  When I talk with out of area buyers who have kids I always direct them to the state's school accountability rating system website.  There aren't many high schools within the Austin ISD I would want my own kids going to.  They just don't have the history of high achieving students.  Three high schools within the Austin ISD were rated as being Academically Unacceptable in 2006.  The rest were rated Academically Acceptable.  There...
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As one might expect, sales of homes in the Ausitn area is starting to slow down.  The week of November 5-11 shows new listings up by just .84% over the same time period last year.  Pending sales are up almost 5% and solds are up under 4%.  Sold prices remain strong.  The average sold price is up almost 13% over this same week last year.As the holiday season rapidly approaches, this is to be expected.  The period from now through mid-February will probably be slower.  This is absolutely normal and predictable.  But watch out for March through September of 2006.  Things could get pretty hot for sellers again.See more Austin real estate market statistics
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Austin is a place that runners, bikers and triatheletes love.  It is really a perfect area in which to train.  The hills are awesome for people like Lance Armstrong wannabes.  In fact, there is a loop that someone I have known for a long time loves to take.  She starts at Davenport Village on Loop 360 at Westlake Drive.  Her group heads south along 360, which winds up and down some not too difficult hills.  Then the fun starts. As they head west on Bee Cave Rd. things start to get steeper.  Personally, I can't imagine biking that road.  When the group hits RM 620, they turn right and ride along a fairly level road for probably 5 miles.  There is a hill just past Mansfield Dam that I see people huffing and puffing their way up just about every time I drive it.  The group turns right on 2...
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You know, for a city whose MSA has around 1.2 million, you might expect Austin to have a pro sports team of some kind.  To me, like to many Austin area residents, we just don't care.  We have the University of Texas!  The Longhorn football team won the national championship last year.  Talk about entertaining!  UT baseball is awesome and the team goes to the college World Series in Omaha more often than not.  Basketball is huge, both men and women.  How about UT Lady Longhorn softball - ever hear of Cat Osterman?  Of course there is much more than this, but for sports fans who like to watch great sporting events, Austin is on the map!
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By Roselind Hejl
(Coldwell Banker United)
The real estate market in Austin, Texas is close to ideal. We are experiencing steady and continual growth, but have not become overheated. Our activity comes from move-up buyers as well as out of region relocations and investors. The Austin area has developed a unique character as a high tech region combined with mild weather, reasonable prices and a laid back atmosphere. Sales have cooled in many areas across the nation, but, according to the Austin American Statesman, " The Central Texas home market, however, continues to be strong as investors leave cooling markets on the East and West coasts and buy properties here." Prices are up about 10% in most areas compared to last year and the number of listings is down. Many of our areas have only a three to five month supply of inventory f...
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By Sam Chapman
MOPAC - what the heck is that?  It is also known as Loop 1 in Austin, TX.  MOPAC is one of the major north and south high speed highways.  So why do we call it MOPAC?  The first time I drove south on MOPAC after dark was a strange experience.  As I approached the area close to downtown Austin I saw a bright light heading directly for me.  It was going up and down repeatedly.  I recognized it as a train and freaked out a little.  Then I saw that it curved a little and was no longer going to run me down.  It was a train on the Missouri Pacific Railroad, which runs down the median of MOPAC, hence the name!  By the way, I share an office with a hilarious guy named Moe Paknia.  When people from out of town ask Moe why the highway is called MOPAC, Moe remarks that it was named after him!
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By Sam Chapman
I drove to Round Rock this morning to look through a house I will list soon.  On the way back, I checked out one o fthe new toll rodes that just opened.  Texas 45 is a great highway.  So what if it is a toll road.  Austin has been notorious about getting way behind in terms of road infrastructure.  If we waited for the regular process, we would be walking places faster than we could drive there.  Many people oppose toll roads, seeing the toll as an additional tax.  I see toll roads in Austin as an alternative to being stuck for hours on IH 35 or MOPAC.
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The Week in Review:  October 22 – 28, 2006 (compared to the same week in 2005)New listings up 25.20%.Pendings up 9.33% Solds up 8.26%.As for Average Prices:  October 22 – 28, 2006 (compared to the same week in 2005)"New Listings" average list price is up by 5.68% to $250,810.  Sold average sales price increased 15.88% to $225,284.In 2005 it was $194,411 during the same week.---------The Month in Review:  October 2006 (compared to the same month in 2005)New listings are up by 16.17%.Pendings increased by 4.38%Solds increased by 9.31%.  As for Average Prices:"New Listings" average list price is up by 4.42%.Sold average sales prices increased 8.96% to $225,654 compared to $207,089 in 2005.Check it out at http://www.alamotitle-austin.com/mls_statistics.php Statistics provided by Alamo Title...
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By Robert Rees - Austin Real Estate
(Robert Rees Realty, Inc)
Z Tejas a local "Southwest" Style Restaurant here in Austin is opening a new location in late summer of 07 in Avery Ranch Subdivision.I've only lived in Austin for about 5 years and with 2 young kids (both 3 years old until another week, when my eldest turns 4...that's 11 months apart...it was my wife's fault! Leave me alone! I'm talking about Z Tejas!) ...as I was saying, with two young kids we hardly go out, but when one of our favorite restaurants unexpectedly closed (Cozumels) we shortly found out why. Just a block or so away was Z Tejas, the much touted grill. I avoided it assuming that it was "popular" for the social/drinking scene which we don't get involved with that much.How wrong I was! The food is fantastic! I loved it. I eat there for lunches on the back deck that overlooks ...
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By Robert Rees - Austin Real Estate
(Robert Rees Realty, Inc)
Oct-06 MLS Area Appreciation MC 100% FC 53% OT 28% 5 24% 8W 24% 6 24% BU 22% LL 21% WE 19% 5E 16% W 16% LC 15% CC 15% 1B 14% SV 14% 4 13% RN 12% TC 12% SW 11% 2 11% 3 11% 3E 11% 8E 11% JA 11% AVG 10% 10 10% HD 10% WW 10% 1A 10% 2N 10% 1N 9% LN 9% 11 9% BA 9% HH 8% HW 8% PF 8% LS 7% RR 6% N 6% BL 6% MA 6% SC 6% SE 6% CL 5% GT 5% BW 5% NE 4% HU 3% NW 3% EL 3% 7 1% HS 1% LH 0% 9 -1% GP -26% Althouhg Although the Austin Area continued to have more home sales YTD compared to last year at this time, there are beginning to be more homes on the market than there were last year at this time.Once again, the second month in a row indicating a slow down of some sort although it may not be significant. 
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By Robert Rees - Austin Real Estate
(Robert Rees Realty, Inc)
From Thisto ThisI've been piping about it for a while and I'm one of the few who is looking forward to them opening. It will make it much easier for me being that I live in North Austin/Round Rock Area and my family lives in Cedar Park.The Austin Business Journal writes that about 25 miles of the region's toll roads have opened -- almost a year ahead of schedule. The roads are part of the Central Texas Turnpike Project and include the MoPac Expressway (Loop 1) extension from Parmer Lane to State Highway 45, SH 45 North from Loop 1 to State Highway 130, and SH 130 from U.S. 79 to U.S. 290.   In December, another segment of SH 130 from I-35 to US 79 will open. The rest of SH 130 from U.S. 290 to U.S. 183 in Southeast Austin will open by Dec. 2007. The Texas Department of Transportation wa...
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By Robert Rees - Austin Real Estate
(Robert Rees Realty, Inc)
One of my favorite movie lines comes from Sly Stallone's "Oscar", where he's a gangster trying to turn straight arrow. A linguistics teacher (Tim Curry) visits the home to teach him how to "talk like a banker" instead of a thug. At one point the linguistics teacher begins to laugh and states, "You used an oxymoron!" To which one of Sly's Thugs (Chazz Palminteri) states, "I wouldn't call him that if I were you!"Hilarious.So, if you've never owned a home before then you're a first time homebuyer. If you used to own a home a home, but haven't owned one for at least 3 years, then you're an OXYMORON.Sorry. I didn't want to be the one to tell you. Actually this is a good thing. There are many first time home buyer programs out there that try to get you into a home again. The programs vary eve...
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By Robert Rees - Austin Real Estate
(Robert Rees Realty, Inc)
One terrible epidemic that is affecting Austin's growth is that we have a  very high number of foreclosures every year. On a weekly basis we have at least 20 -30 HUD foreclosure come up on the market, I don't have the avg new VA or REOs but you can be sure that they combine for more than the HUD foreclosures!From talking to many people, one of the main reasons for this is that when homeowners went to get prequalified they stated that they wanted as much home as possible for a certain payment. Sometimes the Loan Officer never even told them that they'd have to pay taxes on the property at the end of the year, but in most cases they were told that if they don't escrow their taxes, then they'll have to pay them. Either way, the homeowners aren't able to come up with the tax amount.Because ...
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By Sam Chapman
I read last week that the unemployment rate in Austin is down to 3.8%.  This is as close to full employment as I have seen since the height of the dot com days.  When you consider that about 3% of the work force is unemployable, this is an amazing statistic.  Job growth drives the real estate market.  Austin real estate is still hot.  Go figure...  How long will this continue?  I don't know, but I read a peice in which one economist predicted healthy job growth for 10 years.  He said there will be a dip in about the 5th year, but that the overall health of the Austin market will be very good for many years.  As long as speculators don't do to Austin what the did to Southern California, South Florida and other areas, we'll be in good shape for a long time.
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By Chris Oliver
(www.camelotlane.com)
I don't know about you, but if someone offered me a 30% more than I paid for my home, I might do it - even though it is not for sale.  I mean really my home is too small for another kid or more anyway - right?  That got me thinking:  Why not allow people quickly and easily provide the market with the information they need to make that offer that I could not refuse?  It's kinda like MLS for homes not on the market for sale, but could be for the right price.  Now for the patient and the opportunistic amongst us this creates a more efficient market.  With CamelotLane , you can do just that.  Create a profile including pictures and your own commentary without all of the realtor rules and regs about what you can or cannot say. Then have your profile flagged on a city wide aerial shot allowi...
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By Robert Rees - Austin Real Estate
(Robert Rees Realty, Inc)
According to the Texas Workforce Commission, the September unemployment rate for the Austin-Round Rock area totaled 3.8 percent, down from 4.2 percent in August. This rate is also lower than the September 2005 unemployment rate of 4.3 percent.As I've pointed out in my other blogs, this is due to an effort by San Marcos Municipalities and the City of Austin to increase jobs in within the region. Total nonagricultural employment in the Austin-Round Rock area increased by 3,800 jobs, or .5 percent during the month of September. State and local government employment increased by 2,100 and 1,700 workers, respectively, as universities and school districts continued to add staff for the new school year. Education and health services in the Austin-Round Rock area gained 1,000 jobs over the mon...
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