Austin and Texas real estate blog discussing the latest Texas real estate news, hot issues, alerts, advice and market updates. Maintained by DeeinAustin. Have Questions or Tips? Contact Us at 512-697-9140 or Send an Email!
Las Casa Verdes will be the first eco-friendly neighborhood of its kind in Texas. Designed by architect, David E Martin, this new project is located in Southwest Austin, a mile for major shopping areas, on local mass transit routes and includes one of Austin’s best high schools.
The National Association of Realtors® latest forecast calls for improvement in existing home sales during the fourth quarter of 2008, as buyers start taking advantage of benefits provided in the recently signed Housing and Economic Recovery Act.
This forecast is certainly welcome news on the heels of the doom and gloom reports that are so prevalent these days. Let’s take a look at housing sale statistics for Texas’ major metropolitan areas for the first half of 2008 to see how our local markets have fared.
Housing Statistics January through June 2008
Number of Homes Sold: 12,072, down 19% from 2007
Homes Currently for Sale: 11,619, up 29% from 2007
Months of Inventory: 5.2, up 44% from 2007
Median Sales Price: $189,400, up 4% from 2007
Average Sales Price: $244,500, no change from 2007
Number of Homes Sold: 25,291, down 16% from 2007
Homes Currently for Sale: 29,902, down 5% from 2007
Months of Inventory: 6.5, up 7% from 2007
Median Sales Price: $159,000, down 2% from 2007
Average Sales Price: $216,000, down 2% from 2007
Number of Homes Sold: 34,370, down 13% from 2007
Homes Currently for Sale: 40,799, up 4% from 2007
Months of Inventory: 6.5, up 12% from 2007
Median Sales Price: $152,300, up 1% from 2007
Average Sales Price: $206,800, up 2% from 2007
Number of Homes Sold: 10,188, down 17% from 2007
Homes Currently for Sale: 13,188, up 17% from 2007
Months of Inventory: 6.9, up 33% from 2007
Median Sales Price: $150,000, up 2% from 2007
Average Sales Price: $183,200, up 2% from 2007
Sales are down in all four major metropolitan areas, but prices have remained the same or appreciated in all areas except Dallas, which is excellent news for Texas.
Statistics provided by A&M University Real Estate Center.
The latest report indicates international buying activity in the U.S. is widespread. NAR estimates that between 150,000 and 190,000 homes were sold to foreign nationals from May 2007 to May 2008. Recent foreign buyers purchased properties in every state and the District of Columbia. The most popular states where international buyers purchased homes are Florida, California and Texas. Arizona, New York, Washington and Nevada were also popular.
The typical international real estate buyer purchased a single-family vacation home costing $297,400. Four in 10 paid for their U.S. property with cash, compared with 7 percent for all domestic buyers. The typical international owner stayed at his or her U.S. property for 2.6 months during the year, according to the NAR findings.
International buyers vary in many ways from domestic buyers. They tend to purchase more expensive properties, which cost an average of 36 percent more than the typical domestic buyer’s home purchase. In fact, more than 14 percent of properties sold to international buyers sold in excess of $750,000. Foreign buyers also show a greater preference for condos and townhouses compared to domestic buyers.
People from North America, Europe and Asia accounted for more than 85 percent of recent foreign home buying transactions. The top six countries of origin for foreign home buyers, in rank order, were Canada, the United Kingdom, Mexico, China, India and Germany. This year, Canada replaced Mexico as the country with the largest share of foreign buyers in the U.S. The percentage of Canadian buyers doubled from last year, from 11 percent to 23.5 percent.
Thanks to its abundance of jobs and low cost-of-living, Houston TX was ranked the #1 Best City in America!
Since the oil bust of the 1980’s, Houston has made a “comeback” as the energy capital of the US. It has also added over 100,000 aerospace, technology, and medical jobs since 2007. Not only does Houston lead the nation in job growth, but real estate in Houston costs about half as much as other metro areas of the same size and overall cost-of-living is well below the national average.
Guy Hagstette, director of Discovery Green, a new 12-acre park in central Houston, says the “comeback” isn’t really a “comeback” at all, because Houston had been planning for growth all along: "Before the energy business returned, the city made the wise decision to invest in its downtown." Upgrades to the downtown area include an expanded convention center, a new stadium, a spiffed-up Main Street and a light-rail system.
The city’s improvements have attracted couples and empty nesters, as well as Fortune 500 companies. The article specifically cites Sugar Land as Houston’s most up-and-coming suburb. Fast-growing and family-friendly, the suburb that lies 20 miles outside of Houston boasts solid schools, a strong local economy and an affluent population (average household income is $133,354, more than twice the national average).
As for real estate, Sugar Land defines itself by its master-planned communities, each of which mixes homes, retail and recreation. Houses are relatively affordable: $350,000 will buy you a four-bedroom, two-bath home in the attractive Commonwealth development. Socializing revolves around each community's tennis courts, golf course, pool and clubhouse.
Are you ready to try a taste of the “sweet” life in Sugar Land or Houston? Give me a call at 512-697-9140 or visit CopelandGroupRealty to learn more about Texas real estate.
President Bush signed into law this week The Housing and Economic Recovery Act. This is the most sweeping change to housing reform since the New Deal of 1934. It is designed to assist more Americans invest in home ownership and shore up the faltering housing and mortgage markets. Like any legislation, it comes with the good and the bad. I encourage you to write your Congressmen to see if we can get legislation to revoke some of the bad. For example, effective October 1, 2008, FHA will increase the minimum required down payment from 3% to 3.5% for Texas home buyers. The legislation also calls for the elimination of seller down-payment assistance programs such as AmeriDream and Nehemiah by October 1, 2008.
As of July 14, 2008, upfront MIP premiums became risk-based on credit scores and the annual premium increased across the board. Instead of the original plan of making FHA loans more affordable for potential Texas home buyers; the new legislation is doing the exact opposite and makes it more expensive.
Details of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act: Here are some key provisions of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act:
• GSE Reform – including a strong independent regulator, and permanent conforming loan limits up to the greater of $417,000 or 115% local area median home price, capped at $625,500. The effective date for reforms is immediate upon enactment, but the loan limits will not go into effect until the expiration of the Economic Stimulus limits (December 31, 2008). View 2009 FHA and GSE loan limit estimates (PDF)
• FHA Reform – including permanent FHA loan limits at the greater of $271,050 or 115% of local area median home price, capped at $625,500; streamlined processing for FHA condos; reforms to the HECM program, and reforms to the FHA manufactured housing program. The downpayment requirement on FHA loans will go up to 3.5% (from 3%). The effective date for reforms is immediate upon enactment, but the loan limits will not go into effect until the expiration of the Economic Stimulus limits (December 31, 2008). View 2009 FHA and GSE loan limit estimates(PDF) FHA Reform Chart(PDF)
• FHA foreclosure rescue – development of a refinance program for homebuyers with problematic subprime loans. Lenders would write down qualified mortgages to 85% of the current appraised value and qualified borrowers would get a new FHA 30-year fixed mortgage at 90% of appraised value. Borrowers would have to share 50% of all future appreciation with FHA. The loan limit for this program is $550,440 nationwide. Program is effective on October 1, 2008. FHA Foreclosure Rescue Chart
• VA loan limits – temporarily increases the VA home loan guarantee loan limits to the same level as the Economic Stimulus limits through December 31, 2008.
• Risk-based pricing – puts a moratorium on FHA using risk-based pricing for one year. This provision is effective from October 1, 2008 through September 30, 2009.
• GSE Stabilization – includes language proposed by the Treasury Department to authorize Treasury to make loans to and buy stock from the GSEs to make sure that Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae could not fail.
• Mortgage Revenue Bond Authority – authorizes $10 billion in mortgage revenue bonds for refinancing subprime mortgages.
• National Affordable Housing Trust Fund – Develops a Trust Fund funded by a percentage of profits from the GSEs. In its first years, the Trust Fund would cover costs of any defaulted loans in FHA foreclosure program. In out years, the Trust Fund would be used for the development of affordable housing.
• CDBG Funding – Provides $4 billion in neighborhood revitalization funds for communities to purchase foreclosed homes.
• LIHTC – Modernizes the Low Income Housing Tax Credit program to make it more efficient.
• Loan Originator Requirements – Strengthens the existing state-run nationwide mortgage originator licensing and registration system (and requires a parallel HUD system for states that fail to participate). Federal bank regulators will establish a parallel registration system for FDIC-insured banks. The purpose is to prevent fraud and require minimum licensing and education requirements. The bill exempts those who only perform real estate brokerage activities and are licensed or registered by a state, unless they are compensated by a lender, mortgage broker, or other loan originator.
It remains to be seen the overall effect the Recovery Act will have on both the individual home buyer and the housing industry as a whole.
From the Experts: “We’re going through a major financial crisis…let’s be clear: Fannie and Freddie can’t be allowed to fail. With the collapse of subprime lending, they’re now more central than ever to the housing market, and the economy as a whole.” – Paul Krugman, Professor of Economics at Princeton and New York Times columnist, 7/14/2008
Many east Austin neighbors are resting easier now that plans for an R.V. park for the homeless has been put on hold. City Council member Mike Martinez heard the neighbors’ opinions and promptly asked city leaders to table to project for at least a year.
Among the many issues presented by upset citizens at an informational meeting about the park was the opinion that the deal had been “backdoored,” leaving neighbors in the dark about the plans. The project aimed to provide mobile homes and manufactured housing on city-owned land – an 11-acre property off Harold Court in east Austin – in partnership with Mobile Loaves and Fishes Habitat on Wheels program.
So – where are the homeless of Austin to go? Martinez says he will remain committed through the next year to finding a place for the homeless. Whether or not they end up with housing on city property remains to be seen, but in all likelihood the subject of the RV park will not come up again for at least a year.
It seems like every time we open a newspaper or magazine, Austin is being ranked among the “best” of something. This time, Salary.com has named Austin the 13th out of 69 cities in America for building wealth. Texas was well-represented in the survey, with Plano earning the #1 spot!