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Here are the September/2018 MLS single-family statistics for Austin, TX:



The cooling off for our Austin home sales market continues this year with September having the most red categories of any other month in 2018.  We’ve had a few months this year that had 2 red categories, but this is our first with four. And, they are all with categories on the left which represent most of our activity like the number of listings on the market, pending sales (ie-have contract but not closed and a future indicator of a market), the number of sales and finally the inventory of homes (the number of months it would take to sell all current homes on the market at our current pace).  I firmly believe our Austin market will now see our inventory number steadily move up over the next year or two. As a reminder, the legend colors above represent what the market looks like from the perspective of a home seller since we wouldn’t have a market if no one sold their home. Conversely, this is good news for home buyers if these trends hold up since they mean our months of inventory will be moving up toward 6 which is a market in equilibrium.  

The challenge for home buyers is watching home prices continue to go up at the same time mortgage interest rates go up, too, which only increases your monthly out of pocket costs of owning a home.  Our historical mortgage rates have been MUCH higher than what we’ve seen since the great recession started about 10 years ago. But, they have been steadily going up the past 2 years and will continue to go up in the future.  To graphically see the effects of interest rates on your monthly payment, go to this link: Mortgage Interest Effect on Mortgage Payments.  You can then input any mortgage loan amount and scroll along the chart with your mouse to see how payments change with various interest rates.  Contact us at the Thomas & Kauffman Team so we can help you find just the right home within your budget before home prices and interest rates put you out of the home buying market:  Office @ 512-730-1252 or by email @ info@AustinTxHomeSales.com.

Home Buyers:

  • 5 Myths That Keep Buyers on the Sidelines  Consumers can have a lot of assumptions about the housing market. Some of those beliefs may cause them to miss out on a great house. HouseLogic.com recently featured some of the biggest misconceptions that buyers have.
  • The True Cost of NOT Owning Your Home  Owning a home has great financial benefits, yet many continue to rent! Today, let’s look at the financial reasons why owning a home of your own has been a part of the American Dream for the entirety of America’s existence.
  • Dispelling the Myth About Home Affordability  We have all seen the headlines that report that buying a home is less affordable today than it was at any other time in the last ten years, and those headlines are accurate. But, have you ever wondered why the headlines don’t say the last 25 years, the last 20 years, or even the last 11 years?
  • Buying a Home? Do You Know the Lingo?   Buying a home can be intimidating if you are not familiar with the terms used during the process.  To start you on your path with confidence, we have compiled a list of some of the most common terms used when buying a home.  The best way to ensure that your home-buying process is a confident one is to find a real estate professional who not only puts your family’s needs first, but will guide you through every aspect of the transaction with ‘the heart of a teacher.’
  • Pre-Approval: Your 1st Step in Buying a Home  In many markets across the country, the number of buyers searching for their dream homes outnumbers the number of homes for sale. This has led to a competitive marketplace where buyers often need to stand out. One way to show you are serious about buying your dream home is to get pre-qualified or pre-approved for a mortgage before starting your search.
  • 5 Tips for Starting Your Home Search  In today’s real estate market, with low inventory dominating the conversation in many areas of the country, it can often be frustrating to be a first-time homebuyer if you aren’t prepared.  In a recent realtor.com article entitled, “How to Find Your Dream Home—Without Losing Your Mind,” the author highlights some steps that first-time homebuyers can take to help carry their excitement of buying a home throughout the whole process.

Real Estate Developments:

  • Shopping center planned in Georgetown  New shopping opportunities are coming soon to Georgetown.  CSW Development, an Austin firm, has started construction on Wolf Crossing, a 42-acre, 250,000-square foot retail center at Interstate 35 and Texas 29.  Tenants envisioned include a mix of restaurants and shops — including a grocer — plus a hotel and medical facilities spread across 14 buildings. The first batch of businesses is expected to open in fall 2019.
  • 12 major construction projects reshaping the Austin area  Endeavor Real Estate Group LLC is close to starting demolition for the next sky-scraping tower in the Rainey Street area and dirt is moving in Georgetown for a shopping center that will include Tiff’s Treats and P. Terry’s Burger Stand locations.  Those projects and others have been announced in recent weeks amid the constant drumbeat of real estate news in the hot Central Texas market. They’ve been added to our Crane Watch database, which now tracks 170 large construction projects and recently completed developments across the Austin metro.

Economy/Business:

  • Austin economy expanding at moderate clip, index finds  Austin’s economic boom has lost some of its momentum in recent months amid an extremely tight labor market, but new data from the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas indicates local growth remains relatively solid.  The Dallas Fed’s measure of the region’s economy — called the Austin Business-Cycle Index — expanded at an annualized rate of 5 percent in August. The Austin area’s long-run average is 6 percent, but it marks improvement from an average annualized rate of 4.7 percent through the first six months of 2018 and from a 4.3 percent annualized rate in July.
  • Round Rock listed among fastest-growing in nation    Round Rock keeps on growing — even at a faster rate than most cities in the country, according to a new report.  The city is ranked 17th among the fastest-growing cities in the nation, surpassing Austin at No. 18, according to personal finance website WalletHub’s 2018 list of fastest-growing economies in America.
  • City admits slow 5G pace  For some time, telecommunication companies have been saying that Austin is lagging in implementing the next wave of wireless communication, known as 5G.  Now, the city is admitting that is the case. Austin has failed to keep pace with federal and state guidelines for preparing for 5G’s rollout, city officials acknowledged.  In other Texas cities, it’s been a much different experience. AT&T, for example, said it has had 25 times more small-cell devices approved in Dallas. The company is also preparing for a full 5G launch in Houston, San Antonio and other Texas cities.

Real Estate Market:

  • What’s Going On With Home Prices?  According to CoreLogic’s latest Home Price Insights Report, national home prices in August were up 5.5% from August 2017. This marks the first time since June 2016 that home prices did not appreciate by at least 6.0% year-over-year.  CoreLogic’s Chief Economist Frank Nothaft gave some insight into this change.
  • Mid-sized Markets Poised for Investment Boom in 2019  Underdeveloped mid-sized markets are poised to be investment hot spots next year, offering more affordable housing and attracting a younger workforce, according to the Urban Land Institute’s Emerging Trends in Real Estate 2019 report. “The keyword for real estate’s future performance is ‘transformation’—in technology, in generational choices, and in a reconfiguration of preferences related to geography and property types,” ULI Global CEO W. Edward Walter said Wednesday during the Urban Land Institute’s fall conference in Boston.  Austin made the top 10 list.
  • Demand for space still high in Austin office market  Amid sustained job growth, the Austin-area office market continues to see a surge of demand for space, the latest reports say.  And several commercial real estate firms that track the Central Texas office market said they expect the upward trend to continue, especially as tech companies keep gobbling up space.
  • Garages in New Homes  A majority of new homes that completed construction in 2017 included two-car garages, according to NAHB analysis of 2017 Census Bureau Survey of Construction data.  There is clear uniformity for parking options in new homes completed across the Census divisions. It will be interesting to watch the garage trend in new homes if the autonomous car is a successful option for us in the future.  If we only need 1 car, or even no cars, what will the future of home garages look like? Just think of the option for many to increase the square footage of their home without too much effort.
  • Tearing Down, Building Big  According to a review of city records undertaken by the American-Statesman, the 78757 ZIP code that includes Crestview has become a hotbed for redevelopment in the past 10 years. Since 2008, area residents have seen the number of homes demolished each year jump from fewer than 10 to between 30 and 40.  What’s happening in Crestview — older houses being razed to be replaced with new, fresh properties that come with appreciably higher valuations — isn’t unique in Austin.
  • Real Estate Center releases new Texas Home Price Index  Texans have a reliable way to track home price appreciation with the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University’s new Texas Home Price Index (THPI).  Made possible through a research agreement with the Texas Association of Realtors, the free index tracks real home price appreciation in the state’s four big metros and a handful of mid-sized ones. Click the link in the article and select the Austin MSA to see just how much home prices have increased since 1999.  Except for a flattening of prices after the dotcom bust and the great recession (we didn’t drop like much of the country since our prices didn’t rise as much during the boom), our Austin metro area has has steady increases.
  • Baby Boomers are Downsizing, Are You Ready to Move?  For a while now baby boomers have been blamed for a portion of the housing market’s current lack of housing inventory, but should they really be getting the blame?  Trulia’s study revealed that: “Although seniors appear to be delaying downsizing until later in life, as a group, households 65 and over are still downsizing at roughly the same rate as in years past.”

Home Mortgages:

  • Mortgage Rates Jump to 7-Year High  The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage hasn’t averaged this high since 2011, as it inches closer to the 5 percent threshold.  “Rising rates paired with high and escalating home prices is putting downward pressure on purchase demand,” says Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. “While the monthly payment remains affordable due to the still low mortgage rate environment, the primary hurdle for many borrowers today is the down payment and that is the reason home sales have decreased in many high-priced markets.”

Entertainment:

  • Drive-in movie theater, part of larger project, debuts in Buda  A blast from the past blows into Buda this weekend.  That’s when Doc’s Drive-In Theatre will make its debut, the initial phase of a development that will have a bar serving beer and wine, Mama Merlot’s; a full-service restaurant, Doc’s Diner; a private beach; and themed tiny homes – a relatively new development trend – that will be available for rent.

Austin Home Sales:

  • Austin home prices could surge 16% with Amazon HQ2, study suggests  Home prices in Austin could increase an additional 16 percent if e-commerce behemoth Amazon.com Inc. were to select city for its $5 billion second headquarters, according to a study.  The analysis, conducted by real estate brokerage Owners.com, found that Austin can expect a minimum increase in home value of 8.5 percent if it wins the drawn-out competition for Amazon HQ2. There are 20 cities in the running for the facility that promises up to 50,000 high-paying jobs.  In September, New Jersey-based site selection firm The Boyd Co. released data showing that Austin fell near the median among finalist cities when considering the cost of operating Amazon HQ2.

Austin Jobs:

Roads/Transportation:

  • Austin airport’s rapid growth ranks No. 2 in nation  Workers are busy at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. A $350 million, nine-gate expansion is in the final stretch of construction, slated for completion in the spring. Next, plans are in motion for an even more ambitious 32-gate expansion.  Passenger traffic at the airport mushroomed 39 percent from 2007 to 2017, according to a new study from Upgraded Points — the second-fastest growth rate in the nation.