It’s been a good run for the housing market in Austin, Texas. Sales of previously occupied homes jumped 11 percent in November when compared to the previous year, according to the Austin Board of Realtors®. The city didn’t just do volume, it also boasted an increase in home values. Home prices climbed 3 percent when compared to the same year-ago period. And the news keeps getting better.
Year-to-date home sales rose 7 percent, while median price remained the same at $194,000. That’s a stellar performance when compared to some markets around the country.
“For the sixth month in a row, the volume of home sales in Austin has outpaced 2010, and the inventory of available homes has decreased,” said Judith Bundschuh, the board’s chairwoman in a release.
Other numbers that are adding to the market’s cheer: Inventory slid 18 percent compared to a year ago, while pending sales rose 15 percent.
“The Austin housing market continues to show strength,” said Mark Sprague to The Statesman. Sprague is a specialist in the local housing market and tracks the industry.
“We have ended 2011 on a high note for residential real estate.”
The Austin-area market had a 4.5-month inventory supply in the November sales pace, 1.4 months less than the same period last year, The Statesman said. That’s the lowest number reported since January 2009, when the Austin Board of Realtors® began tracking the data. Sprague’s forecast is that the market will be a seller’s haven as listings diminish, apartment supplies dwindle and fewer single-family homes hit the market.
Here some tips from Bundschuh for Austin, Texas homebuyers or sellers.
Luxury Austin Homes
If you are looking for a luxury home in the Austin market, one of the first questions you should consider is how long you plan on owning the property, Bundschuh said. Depending on your answer your priorities should vary. If you are planning on staying for awhile, research the area thoroughly, and see how the location fits into your future plans.
Evaluate the upgrades closely:
Is the house updated? What upgrades are you paying for? Are they the updates that you absolutely need? Quite often we get carried away about our needs and end up paying more. Be realistic about the home you want to buy, even if you’re shopping for a luxury home.
Luxury-home sellers should be cautious too:
Sellers should be aware about home additions before they put their property in the market. Bundschuh said many luxury homes have upgrades that vary – from a wine cellar to a pool, for example. Some homebuyers may want one or the other but not both. Before splurging on expensive kitchen appliances and countertops, keep in mind the upgrades in the kitchen are really important to some homebuyers but not others.
Modern Homes in Austin
If you are in the market for a modern home in Austin, Texas, consider how long you intend to own the home. Do your research, and see if the neighborhood lends itself to the modern home – or is the house going to stick out and look like an eyesore, making it difficult for you later on as a seller.
Consider the floor plan:
Many modern homes have very open floor plans. Figure out if that suits you and your family. Also, examine how that would work if you were to resell the home in a short period of time.
Vacation Homes in Austin
Figure out the purpose of the vacation home. Is it for you, or do you just want to do a short-term rental? For short-term rentals, furnishings, market value of the rent and how to get it rented are some of the most important aspects to consider. You could hire a real estate agent who would have access to a wide network of marketing tools and could get your home rented soon and at the right price.
Location is also key for vacation rentals:
Is the vacation home easy to get to and from? Is it located near attractions and conveniences such as grocery stores, restaurants and clubs?
Have your home thoroughly inspected:
Figure out if the property needs any type of maintenance such as lawn care or exterior care. Depending on maintenance costs, you may be able to negotiate the price. Hire a real estate agent to guide you.
Evaluate what kind of property you want to buy:
Condominiums often make better vacation homes because condo associations are responsible for maintaining the exterior of the buildings. They are also easier to maintain and rent out.
Austin New Construction Homes
If you are looking to buy new homes, location is a big issue. It is hard to find new homes in the central Austin Area, Bundschuh said. Most of the new construction is happening in the outlying areas of Austin. So be prepared to cast your net wider. If you are wedded to a narrow radius, be prepared to exercise some patience.
Things to consider when buying new:
Do some research on the builder and the company’s reputation. Also, things like gutters, window treatments, landscaping, and covered porches are often not included in the new construction, so as a homebuyer, be prepared to address those things.
Hire an inspector:
A new home, like any other, should be inspected either at the time of purchase or prior to the end of the warranty period so that any issues can be addressed by the builder. Work with a realtor® and hire an inspector, who would comb the house for any issues.
A new home has many positives, for example energy efficiency, beautiful finishes and the warranty that the builder provides, Bundschuh said.