As homes sales decreased due to lack of inventory across the nation, Austin has stayed in it’s own bubble and proven to have its own market trends. What those trends tell us is that the next 2-3 weeks will be critical if you’ve considered selling. Although we continue to see steady action throughout the year, sales tend to slow down compared to now, at the “height of the season”. Once the fireworks sound off for 4th of July, home sales tend to quiet down.
In your favor now: there’s a prime audience of buyers. With summer breaks and out of town visitors, people are actively shopping. That window of time dwindles as everyone gets back to reality.
What you’ll want to note with the market statistics below from June-August 2016 is the fluctuation in median price for single-family homes and pending sales. A decrease in pending sales between these months shows us the slowing down of buying action. When buyers aren’t shopping, there’s a chance you’ll be adjusting the price on your home in order for it to stand out.
If you’ve considered selling or purchasing a home in the Austin area, whether...
Austin is a city that people are talking about. It has made its way to the top of most “Best Of” lists in the past few years. We are environmentally friendly, well educated, and have moved from “Texas capital and college town” to a city that boasts the best of many categories – including cost of living for a city our size.
According to PayScale and its Living Calculator, Austin is a city that you can come to build a career. We are quickly becoming associated as a city that has technology, healthcare and there is even rumor that a “mini-Hollywood” is being built here.
Regarding the technology sector, Austin is home to, or has campuses for, Dell, Google, Hewlett-Packard, Apple, eBay, and Samsung. While the city boasts a low-cost of living, our median salary for IT professionals (and other professional sectors) is competitive.
Comparatively speaking, Austin’s cost of living is less than 3% of the national cost of living average. And since we are in real estate, and this blog is a real estate blog, we are immensely pleased to report that the Austin housing market is 15% less than the national average. Other large and growing cities are well over the nation’s average housing cost. Why is that? Housing costs and mortgage rates vary regionally as well as city by city due to local mortgage rates. So if you are moving to Austin, feel free to contact us and we can put you in touch with some local mortgage bankers to determine the best rate for you.
As you can see from the chart below, overall, Austin ranges anywhere from 2% - 14% less than the national average cost, depending on the category...
MAPS Coaching is a key concept in Keller Williams Realty and a cornerstone in our cultural foundation. As the largest real estate franchise in the U.S., KW continues to grow worldwide. We believe that this growth is, in part, due to MAPS Coaching and all that it offers our agents. In fact, we are proud to say that the program is gaining ample recognition through external sources such as the Stevie Award for Sales Training & Coaching Program of the Year and was nominated for the PRISM Award for excellence in coaching.
MAPS Coaching offers real estate agents the opportunity to learn and grow their business through education and coaching. As a business owner, it is the chance to work with, speak to, and be mentored by other successful agents who have experience in the issues that we struggle with in our day-to-day business.
As an agent, there is a wide variety of opportunity from which to choose. Agents can receive private coaching sessions, attend conferences, meet in a mastermind class or participate in weekly group coaching sessions. Each program is designed for the maximum benefit and learning advancement of the individual participant.
For a deeper level of understanding in a shorter period of time, KW offers the BOLD training program that is a seven-week course. The focus is to teach agents to create a “Life by Design, Not by Default.” This program is designed to challenge existing behaviors with new mindsets, expansive scripts and lead generation exercises.
KW agents who have experienced the rewards and benefits associated with the MAPS Coaching program, are encouraged to become a coach themselves. To do so, some of the pre-requisites include:
Here is a numerical example, provided by Mark Smith of Home Caliber Loans, showing the benefits of a jumbo loan with a lower interest rate than a conventional loan with a higher rate.
Sales price: $850,000
You have as much as $200,000 to put down*
(Anytime an interest rate is quoted – an APR most also be provided. I will have to give these to you separately.
$417,000 1st mortgage loan using a conventional (non-jumbo) interest rate of 3.5% for a 30 year fixed-rate mortgage:
1st Mortgage payment: $1,872 (Principal and interest only)
Maximum sales price: $650,000
Benefit: Conventional loan
Disadvantage: Purchasing power is limited.
$417,000 1st mortgage loan using a conventional (non-jumbo) interest rate of 3.5%
2nd mortgage for $233,000 at a 5.0% interest rate:
Principal and interest on the 1st mortgage: $1,872
Principal and Interest on the 2nd mortgage: $1,250
Total Principal and interest payments: $3,122
Advantage: 20% down
Disadvantage – the blended loan concept has eroded overall purchasing power and increased cost of financing, plus it has complicated the transaction by adding a second level of underwriting, documentation, and created two loans that have to be repaid.
$650,000 1st mortgage (assuming 20% down) using a jumbo interest rate of 3.5%
A jumbo mortgage is a loan that exceeds conventional conforming loan limits, typically in excess of $417,000. * This number is a limit set by the government regulators, Fannie Mae (FNMA) and Freddie Mac (FHLMC). FNMA and FHLMC are the agencies that purchase the loans from mortgage lenders, thus freeing up funding for the lending agencies to lend more mortgages. Because FNMA and FHLMC do not cover the entire amount of the mortgage if above $417K, this loan type is known as a jumbo mortgage.
Historically, jumbo loans were riskier investments for lenders because of the amount of money that was being tied up in a loan, the ability to liquidate expensive property quickly, and the vulnerability of the market. For the aforementioned reasons, jumbo loans carried higher interest rates than conventional loans, until recently.
In recent years, jumbo rates have reached historic lows and at today’s rates, can be lower than conventional loans. Since Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac do not back jumbo mortgages, there are no additional government regulation fees and the savings are being passed on to homebuyers. No longer does a jumbo loan rate predicate that homebuyers choose a conventional mortgage. In fact, some lending institutions are creating greater incentive for homeowners to get a jumbo loan.
According to the Wall Street Journal, at six big US banks last year, 24% of the mortgages approved were jumbos. Why? Jumbo loan clientele are now considered to be more favorable for diversified lending portfolios. Borrowers of jumbo loans typically have higher credit scores, larger down payments and lower default rates. Once a borrower takes out a low-rate loan, they are often more open to other financial services offered by the lending institution. Additionally, according to MarketWatch statistics, the housing market rebounds more quickly in the upper end of home pricing – all reasons...
There are so many great wonderful and wacky things that we love about Austin, it is hard to contain it to just one blog. So here are a few more reasons to love, visit or even live in Austin.
We have the COTA. That would be the Circuit of the Americas unidirectional grade 1 3.427-mile racing track. So us lucky Austinites don’t have to globetrot to see the Formula One Unites States Grand Prix or the Motorcycle Grand Prix or even the American Le Mans. Even if you are not a hardcore race fan, the events can be appreciated by all sorts of fans. In fact, the evening concerts have nationally known artists that range from Taylor Swift, Kidd Rock, Willie Nelson and Twenty-One Pilots. Trust us when we say that it really doesn’t get any cooler than that!
We are a city well blended in many ways – even in politics. Are we mostly liberal or conservative? Well that depends on where you are from and your view of things. If you are from any other part of Texas then you will find us to be liberal. If you are from the west coast, we are probably more conservative than you are used to. Regardless of your political stance, there is one thing that no one disputes and that is that our state capitol buidling is the largest state capitaol building in the US. I bet if you walk around down there, you will find someone in Austin that agrees with your political view. And you can also just choose to walk around and enjoy the beauty of the grounds. You have a perfect view of South Congress, you are close to UT campus...
Austin use to be the best kept secret in the country. Well word has gotten out and now Austin ranks top in just about every national poll and report. Yet we are going to let you in on a few things that you can only know if you live in Austin.
There are several words that are a tell-tale sign that you are not from Austin. You need to be able to speak and understand Austin dialect if you are going to be an Austinite, so let us help you translate:
People are moving to Austin, Texas. Families are relocating for jobs, students are coming to attend Texas universities, and seniors are deciding that Austin is the right place to retire. Austin is well known for many things - a thriving economy, a strong job market, a good cost of living and now the capital of Texas is becoming known for the amenities offered to the senior population.
The website Senior Advice just published the “10 Best Cities in America for Seniors.” They ranked Austin number two on the list. Austin scored higher than both state and national averages due to our:
While the summers are hot, many homes have swimming pools and the other three seasons are beautiful. Due to the limited amount of snow and rainfall, Austin is a city that is easy to drive and allows seniors the ability to get to and from destinations safely. Additionally, the mild winters allow for seniors to be outdoors to hike, bike and walk. In Austin we have the Hill Country, plenty of greenbelts, over 30 golf courses and an abundance of city parks. In Steiner Ranch, we have the world-renowned UT Golf Course and over 50 miles of hiking trails. If you are an avid water person, you can choose...
The Texas Real Estate Commission, also known as TREC, is the governing body over all Texas real estate agents, brokers, inspectors and even home warranty companies. Since Texas law requires that the following information be readily available to all prospective buyers, tenants, sellers and landlords, we are posting to our blog so you can easily find it.
The purpose of this information is to assist homebuyers and sellers in understanding the terminology and rules that govern the industry. It is a code of ethics, if you will, and it is always advisable to familiarize yourself with the industry-specific rules and terms before entering into any transaction. The Gene Arant Team takes this code quite literally and we see this as the very basis of our duty to our clients. Our goal is to exceed our clients’ expectations and to ensure that each transaction is completed in a fair environment that is as stress-less as possible for our client. We hold our team to the highest moral and ethical standards and recognize that serving our clients is an honor. With that said, this blog will define the most pertinent words and rules written by TREC.
A broker is responsible for all brokerage acts including all transactions made by a sales agent. A broker must sponsor a sales agent and then that agent can work directly with a client, acting on behalf of the broker.
A Broker is bound to:
The tragedy in Nice, France unites us through shock and sorrow. As a global community, we watched the events unfold with heavy hearts. This latest attack bringing to light the unfathomable - that tragic things happen and are beyond our control. As a neighborhood community, we are bound by the grief and loss of a good family.
While many do not personally know the Copeland family, every one of us in our small community knows someone who does know the Copelands. Our sorrow is felt throughout. Red ribbons and flags are emerging throughout Steiner, Four Points and Lakeway – a reminder and memorial to the beautiful lives lost. Brodie - age 11 and Sean - his 51-year-old father, was amongst the 84 people fatally injured on Bastille Day in Nice. The Copelands were on a European vacation and the family was enjoying the fireworks before the attack.
This family is a part of our community. The Copelands touched the lives of many and many now have to cope with such an untimely and unexpected loss. We will come together to support the family to help them in whatever way we can – prayers, donations, food, time. The Hill Country baseball team where Brodie played ball has begun a gofundme campaign and you can help support the family at this link. Ribbons have been laid at the 9/11 Memorial in honor of Brodie and Sean. The Tejas baseball team began wearing the number 8 to memorialize Brodie.
It seems that in times of tragedy, we wonder what – in addition to praying and donating –...
The Austin housing market continues to thrive in the Central Texas Region and Steiner Ranch is no different. The Four Points area continues to grow as families choose to live in the beauty of the hill country. Steiner Ranch, located in the heart of the hills, is a great place to raise a family.
Current Steiner Ranch market stats show us that there are 69 active homes for sale during June 2016 versus the 107 homes for sale in June 2015. As of June 20, there are 47 homes pending versus the 32 homes pending previously.
Comparatively speaking, the period of January 2015 – June 2015 recorded 124 units sold with an average sale price of $506k and 46 days on market. This year, from January 2016 to June 2016, there have been 160 units sold, the average sale price dropped slightly to $497K, while days on market also dropped to 41 days.
What does this mean? Simply stated:
At closer observation, of the 69 currently active homes, only 21 of those are below the $500K price point. Of the 160 sales previously mentioned, 103 of those sales were below the $500k price and the other 57 homes were above the $500K price point.
From an economics standpoint, it is interesting to note that approximately 2/3 of the Steiner Ranch sales were below the $500k price, yet over 2/3 of the current active homes on market are over $500K. Stay tuned to learn more…
Based on supply and demand trends, the data for this year shows that homes listed below the $500K price point creates a seller's market. However, homes listed above the $500k price point, creates more of a buyer's market scenario.
Steiner Ranch is a very strong market in the Austin...
The debate continues as we determine the best places to cool down during the summer months. One thing that our team can agree on is frozen ice. We all have our favorites so we have compiled a list of trucks you "must visit" this summer. From shaved ice to sno balls, this is where we tell our friends to catch some relief from the summer heat.
Shaved Ice Island is a kid's and parent's dream alike. This is no ordinary ice stand; they pride themselves on offering gourmet snow cones. You can choose from fun flavors off their Gourmet Combo list like the Mango Lassi or the Moscow Mule (non-alcoholic), or get daring with their dill pickle snow cone. Not so adventurous? They have all the traditional flavors or you can create your own unique combination. They even offer organic ice pops! Check them out at their trailer located in front of Westgate Lanes Bowling Alley, 2701 William Cannon Road. Where else can you combine shaved ice with gummy worms? They also cater and deliver.
Frozy’s Shaved Ice is run by a local family that serves up New Orleans style snoballs. Having a party and want to cool everyone off? This fun little truck will come to you! With over 45 flavors, you can call them up and book them for your next event. Open from March through late October, you can find them at 3595 RR 620 South – in the little food trailer park across from Chick-fil-a in Lakeway. Their summer hours are Tuesday – Sunday from noon to 8pm. This is definitely a favorite of Steiner Ranch residents because it is pretty close to the neighborhood. Read more about Frozy's and check out their full menu here.
Whether you live in Austin or are planning to relocate, the economy is strong enough to handle the influx of people moving here. This fast growing metropolis added 43,400 new jobs in the past year.
Austin is officially the second fastest growing city in the United States. Preliminary indicators had suggested that job growth would be approximately 3.3% however; actual numbers were 4.7%, making Austin the second most robust city amongst the 50 largest metro areas. (Dallas ranked third in the U.S.) Texas’ other three major metros grew at lesser rates: San Antonio by 2.9%, Forth Worth by .9% and Houston by .6%.
With 41,400 new jobs, the private sector saw growth in all private industry jobs. The leisure and hospitality industry grew by 9,800 jobs over the last 12 months. Construction and natural resources grew the fastest with 5,800 jobs. Additionally, the wholesale industry added 4,800 jobs; the professional and business services added 9,100 jobs and the government sector, which accounts for nearly 18% of all jobs, saw modest growth, gaining approximately 2,000 jobs.
Unemployment in Austin is at a low 3.2% which is a slight decrease from the previous year of 3.3%. Within Austin, Travis County (home to Steiner Ranch) boasts the lowest unemployment rate at 3.1%. (Unemployment Rate) Other major cities in Texas have also improved unemployment rates: Dallas at 3.7%, San Antonio with 3.7% and Fort Worth with 4.0%. Houston’s unemployment levels increased slightly to 4.8% however all Texas’ major metro areas are below the U.S. unemployment rate of 5.2%. ...
Did you know that 80% of the people in Travis County do not protest their property taxes? Paying taxes is as American as disputing taxes. In Texas, we do not pay state income tax however we do pay real estate tax. We understand that our taxes support local schools, roads and parks. We are proponents of investing in our community and paying taxes, we just do not want to overpay our taxes.
Did you know that the Travis County portion of your property tax bill represents less than 20 percent of your total tax bill? Do you know what makes up the rest of your tax bill?
That and many other questions will be answered at the Travis County Property Tax Workshop. We can help you learn to navigate the process of appeal. Whether you plan to dispute your taxes personally or are looking for the right firm to protest for you, we offer this evening as an information gathering session. Join the 20% of Travis County taxpayers who have adjusted their property tax values.
Five Stone Tax Advisors can answer all your property related tax questions. In fact, the Gene Arant Team is honored to have JP Krueger, the owner of Five Stone Property Tax Advisors, running this workshop. Have questions? There is no one better suited to answer your tax questions than JP.
Register here to join us on May 19th, 2016. We are offering four different sessions. Choose the time that best works with your schedule.
Sessions are offered at:
Moving to Austin is like hitting the proverbial “hole in one.” Gene and I have lived here the majority of our lives and have seen the city grow over the years. While Austin has many of the big city amenities, and our city continues to grow and change, we still have the small-town, friendly feel. People let you merge into traffic, honking isn’t polite, cashiers smile and ask about your day, people still hold open doors and even strangers lend a hand. That is pretty special for being the 11th largest city in the nation.
A couple of weeks ago, we were watching the Dell Matchplay; the golf tournament put Austin on global display. Lake Austin and the Austin Bridge was the perfect backdrop. Golfers and fans raved about the weather and conditions. The announcers were interviewing Tom Kite, who lives here, and he jokingly said it was great having everyone come to our fair city but please don’t get any ideas of moving because Austinites don’t want their town getting any larger. However, that statement isn’t thwarting anyone from heading our way and for good reason, because Austin is amazing.
Lets do a quick 2015 Austin ranking recap*.
Winston Churchill once said “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” That adage is applicable to many facets of life including, but not limited to, education and real estate. What seems an odd pairing, in fact, is correlative. They both exist, and actually thrive, partially due the success of the other.
In real estate, a family searching for a new home has a list of requirements. Top of the list is a good school district and top-ranked schools. Homebuyers value the right school for their children. Oftentimes, secondary is the home itself.
Take for example, the Long Canyon Neighborhood. This neighborhood is divided by the city of Austin. Statistically, half of the homes average 91 days on market while the other half of homes average 45 days on market. Half of the homes average sale price is approximately $750,000 while the other half of the homes average sale price is around $930,000. Based on square footage, year built, amenities, the homes are all comparable. The differential characteristic is school zone. Half of the neighborhood is located in Austin ISD and attends McCallum High School; the other half is zoned for Leander ISD and attends Vandegrift High School. Greatschools.org gives McCallum a 7 out of 10 rating while Vandegrift receives a 9 out of 10 rating. Homebuyers do their research and are aware of the rankings.
Education matters. It matters to your children and it has additional far-reaching economic affects on the surrounding community. People are attracted to good schools and are willing to pay more for homes that are zoned to attend better schools. In fact, typically, the better the school, the more the real estate appreciates.
What I value about the symbiotic nature of education and real estate is that people do not “give back” to schools for improved real estate appraisals; people give because they care. A community...
Land - a rare and valuable commodity that becomes increasingly scarce with each passing year. Like exquisite art, it’s value increases with passing time. While the beauty of art lies in the eye of the beholder, all of us can appreciate amazing scenery. Prodigious rolling hills, vast chasms, dense growing trees and intense sunsets - Austin is a lush oasis set in the heart of Texas. Paired with the deep blue beauty of Lake Travis…well now we are just bragging.
You do not have to be a connoisseur to appreciate the beauty that surrounds Austin. Our astounding hill country views are beloved to those who live here and a surprise to first-time visitors. So many people who relocate to Austin tell me “I didn’t know it would be like this,” “the hills are so much bigger than I expected,” and “it is so green here.”
At the Gene Arant Team we have the immense pleasure of offering a brand new living experience, off the shores of Lake Travis and amongst Austin’s rolling hills. Waterfall on Lake Travis is luxury living within the prestigious Lake Travis community.
This five story midrise is the only midrise offered on Lake Travis. It is the opportunity to live in a brand new, elevated, lock and leave building. You get the amenities of lake front property without the maintenance hassle.
Set on 950 feet of main body shoreline, it is a chance to purchase an amazing view of the water and enjoy the splendor of the green rolling hills. Would you like to do more than just view the water? It is a 60 second golf cart ride or a 2-minute Sunday morning stroll down to the boat slips. With an adjacent marina, you can be both a land dweller and a water lover. Have you dreamed of owning a boat? Now is the time…
There are not many lakefront opportunities that allow you...
Join us for the 2016 “Run the Ranch.” Mark your calendars for Sunday, March 6, from 10am until 2pm. This family fun run takes place in the beautiful neighborhoods of Steiner Ranch. There is a 10k event as well as a 5k event. Even the kids get to participate in the Kids Fun Run. Families are welcome to bring jogging strollers, where specialty areas are designated to safely begin your run.
If you would like to participate, race packets can be obtained the morning of the race. Just come by a little early to the Steiner Ranch Towne Square Community Center, located at 12550 Country Trails Lane. Registration begins at 7:45am and the cost is $20 for the Kids Fun Run, $30 for the 5K, and $40 for the 10K. Please plan to bring a check or cash; credit cards are not accepted. Get Directions
Even if you are not a runner, bring the family to cheer on your neighbors. There will be a carnival, food vendors, music and more. Look for Gene, the kids and I to be handing out balloons and cheering you on. You can find us by the Gene Arant Truck – you can’t miss us!
Don’t worry if this is your first race, or even your first race in a long time! This is the perfect way to dust off your running shoes or break in your new gear.
The Gene Arant Team is again a proud sponsor of this fun event and this year’s proceeds will go to the Hill Country Special Needs Alliance. The mission of this organization is to “bring together an ever expanding alliance of groups throughout a multi-county region of Central...
We are really looking forward to the next few weekends; there is so much going on in the Four Points/Steiner Ranch area. Two big events we love to participate, have fun, and make a difference is the Giddy Up Gala and Run the Ranch.
The Giddy Up Gala is the fundraiser for the Hill Country Education Foundation. This annual gala is in its 6th year and just keeps getting better. If you haven’t been, you definitely should get tickets and consider going next year. Of course there is a silent auction, a live band, photo booth and a crowd favorite – Heads or Tails with Travis Brannon. Aside from the enjoyment of attending, you will gain immense satisfaction in knowing you are directly contributing to the success of the Leander School District.
The Hill Country Education Foundation (HCEF) began in 2009. Its mission is to enhance the academic careers of students through a variety of programs including STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), entrepreneurship and college prep courses. Through grants, HCEF supports the vision of teachers, students and various programs to ensure that the Four Points area children are fully prepared to succeed in college. This preparedness begins early in a child’s academic career, ensuring the benchmarks are met from elementary through high school. HCEF funds programs at all stages of the student’s educational lifecycle.
Thanks to HCEF, programs such as Turnitin, an online student self-assessment writing tool, is available to Vandegrift High School. Turnitin is a program used by 69% of the top universities and 56% of the top 100 high schools in the US (source US News and World Report.) Other programs funded include JSTOR (another...