Austin Luxury Housing Market Strong!

January 16th, 2018

Good news for Austin’s luxury housing market!

Selling activity for high-end homes has accelerated in Austin and across the state in the past year, driven by out-of-state interest and other factors.

That is according to the Texas Luxury Home Sales Report, released Dec. 14 by the Texas Association of Realtors.

TAR tracked 868 sales of single-family homes priced at $1 million or more from November 2016 to October 2017 in the Austin metro — up nearly 21 percent from the same period a year earlier. Those sales made up 11.8 percent of all listed homes trading hands.

And the median price in the Austin-Round Rock MSA was the second-highest in the state at $1,350,000, an increase of 1.2 percent year-over-year.

“Despite slowing growth trends across the Texas housing market, job market and economy in 2017, Texas luxury home sales volume has continued to grow at a booming pace,” Vicki Fullerton, chairwoman of the Texas Association of Realtors, said in a statement. “Rising home prices, high-end remodeling activity in major metro areas and relocation activity from out-of-state residents all continue to be drivers for Texas home sales of $1 million and higher.”

Within Austin city limits, there were 418 sales of homes priced at least $1 million, up 19.4 percent from a year earlier. Those homes have an inventory of 6.6 months, the highest level of any price class in the city.

The average price per square foot in Austin for luxury homes sold in the past year was $452 and median square footage was 3,493.

Locally, many of the region’s top-dollar homes are located on or near the water — and in fact, Central Texas is home to some of the biggest markets for lake homes in the state.

Article courtesy of:  Austin Business Journal:

Housing Demands in Austin Remain Highest in the Nation.

January 4th, 2018

According to information supplied by the Austin Board of Realtors, demands for housing is still among the highest in the nation.

Single-family home sales continue to decline in city of Austin, increase regionally
Austin Board of REALTORS® releases November 2017 Central Texas Housing Market Report

AUSTIN, Texas – Dec. 14, 2017 – Single-family home sales declined in the city of Austin but increased across the Austin-Round Rock Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) for the second month in a row, according to the November 2017 Central Texas Housing Market Report released today by the Austin Board of REALTORS®.

Brandy Guthrie, 2017 President of the Austin Board of REALTORS­®, commented: “Due to rapid population growth throughout Central Texas, Austin continues to have one of the highest demands for housing in the nation. Homes sales are the strongest where price points are the lowest and where development options are available, such as parts of Williamson and Hays counties. We are seeing some slowing home price appreciation and housing inventory gains, which is normalizing us to a more stable market and aligning us with long-term historical market trends.”

Single-family home sales in the city of Austin declined 3.3 percent to 653 home sales in November. During the same time frame, single-family home sales in the Austin-Round Rock MSA increased 3.7 percent year-over-year to 2,196 home sales. At the county level, single-family home sales volume jumped 10.2 percent in Williamson County to 778 home sales and Hays County jumped 14.3 percent to 280 home sales. Due to the decline in home sales volume within the city of Austin, single-family homes sales volume declined 1.3 percent year-over-year in Travis County to 1,032 home sales.

“Even with the market normalization trends we are seeing, home sales volume throughout the Austin-Round Rock MSA is still on-pace with 2016 year to date,” added Guthrie. “If this month’s home sales volume exceeds that of December 2016, 2017 will most likely be another record-breaking year for the Austin-area housing market.”

The pace of home price growth continued to slow in November. In the Austin-Round Rock MSA, the median price for single-family homes increased 2.9 percent year-over-year to $296,500. In Williamson County, the median price for single-family homes was unchanged from November 2016, or $275,000. In Hays County, median price increased 4.0 percent to $260,000 and in Travis County, median price increased 6.1 percent to $341,000. In the city of Austin, the median price for single-family homes increased 6.8 percent year-over-year to $360,000.

“The 2018 Austin-area housing market will be a lot like this year’s housing market – slower, but still very strong housing market activity,” said Mark Sprague, State Director of Information Capital for Independence Title. “However, there are multiple economic factors to watch out for going into next year. Slowing job growth in Central Texas, the impact of Hurricane Harvey on the price of building materials and housing development costs, and the overhaul of the U.S. tax plan are all factors that could hinder housing market growth and negatively impact housing affordability in the Austin area in 2018.”

Housing inventory increased 0.2 months to 2.5 months of inventory across the Austin-Round Rock MSA and 0.1 months to 2.0 months of inventory in the city of Austin in November. At a county level, housing inventory was 2.9 months in Hays County, 2.5 months in Travis County and 2.4 months in Williamson County.

Both pending sales and active listings figures throughout the Austin-Round Rock MSA indicate that single-family home sales growth could continue through the end of 2017. In November, active listings for the five-county MSA increased 13.7 percent to 6,391 listings and pending sales jumped 14.9 percent to 2,340 sales.

FHA/VA Assumption Mortgages

July 17th, 2017

Assumptions are an Alternative

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In the late 80’s, both FHA and VA began requiring buyers to qualify to assume their mortgages. The main reason there haven’t been many assumptions in the past 25 years is that interest rates have been steadily going down and if a person has to qualify, they might as well do it on a new loan and get a lower interest rate.

Based on projections by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the MBA and NAR, rates for the second half of 2017 and 2018 are expected to be higher. When interest rates on new mortgages are higher than the rates of assumable FHA and VA mortgages in the recent past, it becomes more advantageous to assume the existing mortgages.

FHA and VA loans originated with lower than current interest rates have great advantages for buyers and sellers.

  1. Interest rate won’t change for the qualified buyer
  2. Lower interest rate means lower payments
  3. Lower closing costs than originating a new mortgage
  4. Easier to qualify for an assumption than a new loan
  5. Lower interest rate loans amortize faster than higher ones
  6. Equity grows faster because loan is further along the amortization schedule
  7. Assumable mortgage could make the home more marketable

An Assumption Comparison can help determine the savings and financial benefits of an assumable mortgage with a lower rate.

 

I have some great mortgage professionals that I can introduce you to.  If you think this is something that would work for your situation, please give me a call today.  I’m ready to help you get started on your journey!

Hands Only CPR-Good to know

June 7th, 2017

Hands-only CPR can save lives.  The American Heart Association states that “Almost 90% of people who suffer out-of-hospital cardiac arrests die.  CPR, especially if performed in the first few minutes of cardiac arrest, can double or triple a person’s chance of survival.”  Most people who survive a cardiac emergency are helped by a bystander.

  1. Check for responsiveness – shake the person and shout “Are you OK?”11700251-250.jpg
  2. Call 9-1-1 – either tell someone to call or make the call yourself
  3. Compress – Push hard and fast in the center of the chest at a rate of 100 per minute.

The victim should be flat on their back preferably on the floor. Place the heel of one hand on the center of the victim’s chest and place the heel on top of the other hand lacing your fingers together. Lock your elbows and compress the chest forcefully; make sure you lift enough to let the chest recoil.

Chest compressions should be continued until the person shows obvious life-like breathing, the scene becomes unsafe, an AED (automatic external defibrillator) becomes available, or a trained responder takes over the emergency treatment.

Alternating mouth-to-mouth breaths is not necessary using this method. Compressions are adequate except in drowning or drug overdose situations where 30 chest compressions are followed by two mouth-to-mouth breaths.

Watch this two-minute video and consider taking instructions from the Red Cross or other qualified provider. Every household should have at least one person trained in life-saving skills.

June 4th, 2017

Must Be This Tall to Ride

Surely, you remember being a child at an amusement park when after having stood in line with your friends and family, waiting to get on a terrific ride, you discovered the sign that read, “you must be this tall to ride.”

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Not only was it disappointing, it was slightly embarrassing. You never want to go through that again.

A remarkably similar situation occurs when people are buying a home. After finding the right home and negotiating the contract, they find out that they don’t measure up financially.  It’s not something that anyone wants to go through if they have a choice.

Regardless of what you think you know, if you’re buying a home with a loan, you need to physically visit with a trusted mortgage professional before you get serious.

  • You’ll find out your credit score which will directly affect the mortgage rate you’ll pay.
  • You might discover blemishes on your credit that possibly can be corrected.
  • You’ll even get a pre-approval letter that you can submit with an offer which could dramatically affect your negotiations in the current competitive market.

Some rides don’t turn out to be as good as you thought they were going to be.  A person certainly doesn’t want that disappointment with a lender. Contact me for a recommendation of trusted mortgage professional.

It’s Time To Buy A Home!

April 28th, 2017

Would-be to Should-be

Some would-be buyers have emotional reasons to own a home like having a place of their own where they can raise a family, feel safe and secure and enjoy their friends’ company. Other buyers’ dominant reasons might be financial in nature such as building equity or lowering their cost of housing.

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Regardless of what might be motivating people to want their own home, it is easy to justify that now is a good time to purchase. Let’s look at a $250,000 example using a FHA loan.

The total payment will be about $1,835 dollars a month. If the payment is lower than the rent a person is paying, that should encourage a person to continue investigating.

In this example, when you consider the monthly principal reduction, the monthly appreciation and the tax savings, even with money added for monthly maintenance, the net cost of housing is less than half the total house payment.

Considering all those advantages, the would-be buyer is spending over $1,100 per month more to rent than it would be to own. In a year’s time, they would lose close to $14,000 which is more than the down payment of $8,750 required on this price home.

Most would-be buyers understand that a home is a big investment but they may not understand the advantage of the leverage caused by the low down payment mortgage. The benefits extend beyond a return on the down payment but to the value of the home.

In this example, the $8,750 down payment grows to an equity of $73,546 in seven years based on 2% annual appreciation and normal amortization on a 30-year loan. If you calculated that as a rate of return, you’d be challenged to find anything that could compare with it.

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To see what your numbers might look like, check out this Rent vs. Own. If you need any help or have any questions, contact us. Part of our greatest satisfaction is helping would-be buyers understand why they should-be.

12 Sneaky Ways To Update Your Kitchen

February 13th, 2017

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The kitchen can be the most expensive room in the house to renovate. Opt for cost-saving changes that can add big impact. Check out these twelve easy kitchen updates that are simple, do-it-yourself projects that can change the feel of your space over the weekend. You can start small by replacing the hardware, or go for a bold change with a can of paint. With a new paint color on the walls or cabinets, you can instantly change the feel of your kitchen. Think about new ways you can add storage without sacrificing style or major construction. Check out this complete list of Sneaky Ways To Update Your Kitchen for even more ideas.  Let your creative personality shine through!

Streamline Storage

Make sure to utilize cabinets and cupboards for storing the kitchen essentials. While overhead racks are a great way to stow pots and pans, there’s something liberating about de-cluttering the room by hiding items you don’t reach for frequently.

Say Goodbye to White Walls

We will always love the all-white kitchen, but you shouldn’t be afraid to go bold with color cabinets. The rich colors on cabinets add depth and interest to a large space.

Mix Up the Metals

To achieve a modern look, pair brass and gold hardware next to stainless steel appliances.

Shine Light on Unexpected Spots

A pendant over the sink provides light and interest without adding visual weight overhead.

Replace the Hardware While You’re at It

New cabinets sound great. New cabinets also sound expensive. New hardware is a fast-fix for revamping doors and drawers that saw much better days in the 80s.

Work Every Inch that You’ve Got

Anchor your breakfast nook with a substantial piece of furniture like a bench or banquette. Keep the table and additional seating lightweight and understated.

Reconsider Where You Do Your Work

And by work, we mean cutting, chopping, slicing, and dicing. Before you knock down any walls, invest in an island on wheels (one with brakes is also helpful) so that you can move your surface in and out of the way

Think Long and Hard About What You Put On Display

If your kitchen is tiny, open shelving is your savior. Just remember that what you put on shelves (colorful fluted bowls, casserole plate, patterned potholders) will be on display, so keep things simple and organized.

Get Creative with Seating

While you can’t go wrong with a complete kitchen set, it’s also fun to mix and match seating for a more lived-in vibe. Think stools surrounding an island or a bench anchoring one side of a farmhouse-style table

Layer with Intention

It’s not just a smart decorating technique used in the bedroom and living room. Adding textures in surprising spots (a runner beneath the sink, potholders hanging from cabinets, graphic prints for the walls) will add color and pattern to your space

Don’t Overlook Interiors

Color needn’t only be on the walls. A bright coat of paint inside a cabinet or a draw lined and laminated with patterned paper will be a pleasant touch when you’re putting away the dishes.

Hide the Not-So-Pretty Pieces

Still using that dining table from college? As long as it still has sturdy legs, don’t be ashamed. However, it would be a wise idea to cover up the chips and stains with an attractive tablecloth, which is also a great way to show off your knack for bringing in color and prints. Best part: You can change up these textiles every season.

Great 2017 Superbowl!

February 7th, 2017

Superbowl 2017

 

How about that game!  Wow, has to be one of the best I’ve ever seen! Both teams played their hearts out, but only one team could win.

Five Superbowl’s for this Patriot team just kind of sums up their talent.

Watching Tom Brady Sunday night makes you respect this guy more.  He’s a machine for sure…seems to be unstoppable.

Brady has that killer instinct…There’s only a couple of people in this world that could match his talent.  He is in a league all his own at the moment.

We saw that come out in the second half of Super Bowl LI, as Brady put on the most magical Super Bowl showing of his career,  and that’s saying something — to rally to a 34-28 overtime victory over the Atlantic Falcons.

Brady rallied the Patriots from a 28-3 deficit in the third quarter to an overtime victory, and he did it with the steely poise he has shown throughout his career and with a surgeon-like dissection of the Atlanta secondary.

Brady just  made it look that easy! We all were entertained the entire game…it was hard to take your eyes off the TV.

Luke Bryan’s National Anthem was also one of the finest I’ve ever witnessed.  His voice was perfect and he had so much heartfelt emotion that he put into his  performance.

Half time with Lady Gaga was extremely entertaining as well; the buzz on Social Media is pretty much everyone agrees she was awesome.   She has an amazing voice and is a true talent in every sense of the word.  I can’t wait till next year!

Secret Bookcase in your next home?

January 24th, 2017

Bookcase

This bookcase reveals a secret lounge room! Would you ‘like’ this feature in your home?  Anything is possible when you decide to build a custom home.  This would make a great secret library for the kids to have a quiet place to read and do homework.  Or a secret getaway for you when you need to that quiet moment.  How about a nice tucked away media room or man cave for the husband so the family can watch their picks while he retreats to watch his car shows.  The possibilities are endless, so go for it!

I have relationships with many custom builders and we have plenty of affordable land left in Texas.  Dream homes can become a reality and it’s easier than you think!

Many builders have tons of plans to choose from, but will let you make adjustments to the plan, add or take away square footage, move walls around, add amenities and upgrades.  Custom builders usually have great imaginations, so if you have a great idea, they can put it on paper to make it all come together for you.  You can even add extra features after the construction has begun.

It’s amazingly fun to pick your colors, flooring, lighting, all fixtures throughout the house as well as landscaping.  It’s usually a blank canvas and you get to be the creator if you choose.  Of course the builder and his designer will assist you in your choices if you so desire.

I will be happy to recommend any local builders that have a great reputation with different budgets to fit your needs.  Also the lender plays a huge role in the process so you will want someone who’s fair and professional.  Someone that will put your needs first and spend time with you going over all the  options out there.

Having the right team in your corner is the key to your DREAM HOME becoming a reality!

Keeping Your Home Safe

November 14th, 2016

One of the most devastating mistakes a homeowner can make is forgetting to clean out dryer vents. To prevent house fires, check the vents once a year to make sure there are no blockages!

Many people often forget or brush off this hidden household danger, but the stats are too striking to ignore.

The National Fire Protection Association reports that over 15,000 home fires start in dryers annually.

The National Fire Protection Association reports that more than 10,000 home fires begin in laundry rooms annually.

 To lower your risk, check your dryer’s hose at least a once year (or when you notice your clothes aren’t drying in one cycle).

When you’re tackling cleaning up, the visible dirt — dusty shelves, a mildewy shower, wayward balls of fur — typically gets the quickest attention. But it’s often what goes unseen that’s most important.

And no, this isn’t just about cleaning your dryer’s lint trap. You probably know to scrape that free of fuzz after every load. Lint can also get stuck deeper inside your machine and in the exhaust hose and vent. You should use your vacuum’s crevice tool to suck up debris further inside (we also like the Lint Lizard), and check the dryer hose and ducts that vent outside for any clogs. Do this at least once per year — or as soon as you notice your clothes aren’t getting dry.

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