If you are starting to make plans to sell your home, there may be some things that need updating or remodeling. Naturally you want to attract more buyers, reduce the time on the market, and receive maximum return on dollars spent. As you get bids for the different projects, the question that you will probably have is “How much value will be added to my home for the cost of various projects?” The following link provides helpful information related to that question. You will notice that the return on dollars spent will vary depending on the local real estate markets. Visit www.costvsvalue.com to see the Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report.
While the real estate market in Austin and the Central Hill Country continues to be an excellent investment for home owners, there remains a need for more available homes. An attractive alternative to buying a resale home is to find a special piece of land and build on it. Local and out of state buyers are continuing to flood the market in search of available lots in locations like Dripping Springs, Wimberley, Driftwood, Johnson City and Blanco. These smaller towns offer proximity to Austin, exceptional schools and the beauty of the Texas Hill Country.
Shopping for a tract of land to improve can be quite a different experience from purchasing a resale home. If you are not familiar with rural lots, you’ll need to consider several items before you seriously consider your land purchase:
- Acreage: Most commonly, home buyers are looking for a lot between 1 – 5 acres. This size provides them the freedom to roam that is not available in Austin city limits, yet isn’t so large that property taxes and maintenance expenses are prohibitive.
- Views, Trees & Water: What physical features in the land are most appealing to you and your family? While it might be possible to find a lot with a view, nice trees, access to surface water or other features that you desire, it can sometimes be difficult to find a tract that has everything you want. We often advise our clients to do their best to set at least these three items in order of priority.
- School District: Consider the school district in which the property is located. Hays and Blanco Counties boast some very good public schools, and we are seeing more and more families relocating to take advantage of them. School systems like Dripping Springs ISD and Wimberley ISD rate very high on the list of options in the entire Austin area.
- Restrictions and HOA Fees: Many properties have deed restrictions or are located in subdivisions that have HOAs and restrictive covenants that govern what homeowners can and can’t do on the property. These need to be seriously considered before a purchase, to make sure that, among other considerations, the desired use of the land and the type and size of home to be built are permissible. Additionally, HOAs that require membership many times come with additional expense.
- Home Site: No two pieces of land are exactly the same. Buyers need to understand how each tract is different, and understand how aspects like topography, trees and drainage can affect future development on the site. Additionally, future expenses like driveways and utilities should be considered in projecting where the home will be built.
- Utilities: Buyers should consider utility requirements in projecting the cost of building on a rural lot. Rural tracts typically have no city water or sewer system, and electricity might only be available at a boundary of the lot or might be a distance from the property. Land buyers will need to work with their real estate agent to understand their options and potential costs.
It is always important for buyers to select a real estate agent with local knowledge. Rose Real Estate will guide you through these unique considerations and into the next phase – building your dream home!
2015 Year-End Totals
- 29,068 – Single-family homes sold, five percent more than 2014.
- $263,900 – Median price for single-family homes, nine percent more than 2014.
- $333,558 – Average price for single-family homes, eight percent more than 2014.
- 49 – Average number of days that single-family homes spent on the market, two days more than 2014.
- 36,810 – New single-family home listings on the market, four percent more than 2014.
- 6,044 – Active single-family home listings on the market, five percent more than 2014.
- 29,839 – Pending sales for single-family homes, five percent more than 2014.
- $9,695,852,178 – Total dollar volume of single-family properties sold, 13 percent more than 2014.
The following sections describe trends in other sectors of the Austin-area real estate market.
Townhouses & Condominiums
The number of townhouses and condominiums (condos) sold in the Austin area in December 2015 was 230 properties, unchanged from December 2014. The median price for condos was $250,000, which is eight percent more than the same month of the prior year. These properties spent an average of 46 days on market, 10 days fewer than in December 2014.
In 2015, Austin-area condo sales dipped three percent from the year prior to 3,057 condo sales. Median price for Austin-area condos was $227,700, a six percent increase from 2014. Condos spent the same amount of time on the market in 2015 as 2014, or an average of 43 days.
In December 2015, a total of 1,153 properties were leased in Austin, which is three percent less than December 2014. Properties spent an average of 47 days available for lease, or two fewer days than December 2014. The median rent for property leases was $1,500 per month, a three percent increase from December 2014. Active property listings increased three percent from December 2014 to 1,630 properties. In all of 2015, a total of 17,875 properties were leased in Austin, which is five percent more than 2014, and the median rent was $1,540 per month, or four percent more than 2014.
All information above is credit to Austin Board of Realtors.
Texas winemaking has a long and rich heritage. The earliest vineyard in North America was established in Texas by Franciscan priests circa 1662 along the Rio Grande near present day El Paso. The Val Verde Winery established in 1883 in Del Rio is the longest operating winery in Texas, surviving prohibition by selling table grapes and wines for church sacramental purposes.
Currently Texas is the fifth-largest wine producing state in the nation with more than 350 wineries and approximately 4,000 acres of producing vineyard farmland. The industry provides over 11,000 full time jobs and contributes more than $1.88 billion of economic value to the State of Texas. More than 1.6 million tourists visit Texas wineries each year.
Texas has eight American Viticultural Areas (AVAs), which are designated wine grape-growing regions in the United States with boundaries defined by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau; however, many vineyards exist outside the specified AVAs. The Texas Hill Country AVA is the second largest in the country with more than nine million acres.
If you are looking to purchase land for a vineyard in the Texas Hill Country, there are many items to consider before purchasing land for your future vineyard. Of primary concern are four things: soil, water, climate and location.
- Soil: Soil and soil types will play critical roles in the health of your vines and production. Although grapevines can be grown in a variety of soil types, you will need to pay particular attention to depth, pH and salinity, drainage, fertility and water retention.
- Water: You will need to consider water availability and distribution, as well as water quality. Since rain can be sporadic, irrigation is required to supplement natural rainfall. Undesirable water quality can lead to poor soil and poor yields.
- Climate: When we refer to climate, we are really referring to the macroclimate that will determine the types of grapes you grow, the mesoclimate that refers to the local traits of your site, and the microclimate which refers to the area between the soil and the canopy of the vines.
- Location: There are many aspects to consider with respect to location, including proximity to other vineyards, adequacy of access, agricultural or commercial restrictions, and tract shape and size. When choosing your site, aspects such as elevation, slope and drainage need to be considered when determining how you will improve your land. If you plan to focus on commercial traffic and wine tasting, then the property needs to have sufficient room for parking and local liquor laws will need to be considered.
In your search for property, it is important to select a real estate agent who has local knowledge. A knowledgeable agent can help you locate the right piece of property and obtain answers to important questions.
In July 2011, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) was created to centralize federal consumer financial protection authority. While there have been many changes since July 2011, the largest and most significant changes recently took place on October 3. The historic change, known as TRID (TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure), implemented new forms (the new Loan Estimate replaces the old Good Faith Estimate and Initial Truth In Lending Statement…and the new Closing Disclosure replaces the old HUD 1 Settlement Statement and the final Truth In Lending Statement). Additionally, new laws require that the Closing Disclosure be provided to the borrower(s) at least three business days prior to closing. This is actually a GREAT change for you, the consumer, as it will allow for time to review cash required at closing and monthly payment.
Historically, the normal time from contract to close has been 30 days. Many industry insiders believe this may be extended out to 45 or even 60 days. Our company goal is to maintain a 30-day contract to close. There will undoubtedly be delays while transitioning to TRID, but we are committed to maintaining 30-day closings in the long run.
At Premier Residential Mortgage, we have been preparing for TRID since October 2014 when we migrated to a new software system, which we believe to be best equipped for TRID. Additionally, we created our team approach (Team Coble) with a few very basic principles: 1) Close on time, 2) Be under budget with respect to closing costs, cash at closing, and monthly payment, 3) Communicate status weekly, and at various milestones, and finally 4) Provide WOW service to you, our customer. We believe that if we do 1-4 above, we will have provided a memorable, stress free transaction in a lending environment where this is not the norm.
Obtaining mortgage financing in 2015 looks very much like it did in 1988…the borrower(s) must demonstrate the ability to repay the debt by providing documents to prove income and assets. The traditional way of proving income is with pay check stubs, W2 forms, and Income Tax Returns (in the event one is self-employed or commissioned). Assets are documented with either bank statements or by directly verifying bank balances with the institution. Job stability, past credit history and financial responsibility are all important in overall risk evaluation. The days of stated income and stated asset mortgages, subprime mortgages (for the credit challenged) and No Doc Mortgages are mostly gone.
There are numerous mortgage products available in the marketplace today that provide the dream of homeownership. USDA / Rural Housing provides 100% financing for qualified buyers, The Veterans Administration provides 100% financing for Veterans with VA Eligibility, FHA provides financing with as little as 3.5% down for those who qualify, and Conventional loans (Fannie Mae / Freddie Mac) are available with as little as 3% down to those who qualify. Additionally, the State of Texas offers numerous programs to help with down payments for those who qualify.
In closing, don’t be discouraged by the lending process. Qualifying may be as easy as providing the most recent W2 form, paycheck stub, and bank statement.
Disclaimer: Premier Residential Mortgage is sponsored by NTFN, Inc., NMLS #75333. NTFN, Inc. is an equal housing lender.
When looking for land in the country, all buyers inevitably have the same question: how am I going to pay for this? For most buyers it is their first time to buy land, and they soon find that the process is much different than buying a house in a subdivision. It’s important for buyers to have a team of knowledgeable professionals to guide them through the process. A good lender is one of those professionals. Most acreage and Ag properties don’t qualify for conventional mortgage loans, so most mortgage originators can’t help with financing. This is where Capital Farm Credit comes in.
Capital Farm Credit specializes in financing rural properties including: large acreage tracts, rural homesites, recreational properties, ranches, and farms. Financing these types of properties presents unique challenges that the typical lender doesn’t usually handle. The first thing buyers need to know is to forget everything they learned when buying their house. The loan terms and interest rates are going to be different on ag/acreage properties than what most buyers are used to seeing from conventional lenders. Typically, the interest rates will be higher than a comparable term mortgage, while the amortization terms (length of time to pay the loan back) are usually shorter. Another difference is that a full 20% (or more) down-payment is usually required, where conventional mortgages may be had with as little as 5% down. When shopping around for land financing, the terms offered by different lenders can vary widely and be difficult to compare. Many banks will use balloon notes, adjustable rates, and pre-payment penalties in land financing, so a buyer needs to pay close attention to the terms they are quoted.
The closing process for land is going to be a little slower. We typically see 30-45 day closing times, but that can be stretched out by complicated surveys, title issues, and appraisal problems. With the upcoming changes in regulations and procedures stemming from the Dodd-Frank Act, known as TRID, we expect to see the closing times get even longer on properties like rural homesites that are classified as “Consumer Purpose” loans. We are currently expecting 60-90 day closing times until the industry gets comfortable with the new processes.
Capital Farm Credit is here to be your expert lender in rural properties. As a Co-op, we are owned by our borrowers, so we take the customer experience very seriously since the customer will be our boss. An added benefit of the Co-op structure is that our profits are returned to you in cash to offset your interest costs. Call us anytime and we will show you just how powerful that can be. When you are gathering your team to go buy land, make sure Capital Farm Credit is in your corner.
This is a guest post courtesy of Tim Traister and Mark Rutledge with Capital Farm Credit. Capital Farm Credit is a premier rural real estate lender in Texas offering farm loans, ranch loans, country home loans and recreational property loans. Rose Real Estate is not affiliated with Capital Farm Credit in any way.
Central Texas offers many amenities to buyers looking to relocate to the area. One of those amenities is the availability of acreage tracts that would be perfect for a weekend getaway or a permanent home site.
Motivations to purchase acreage tracts can vary. Perhaps you want to build a home and yet be close enough to commute to work or to have access to the many cultural, dining, medical and entertainment opportunities available throughout the Central Texas area. You may want the privacy and the peace to unwind after a hard day’s work or you may want the grandeur of a Hill Country view. You may want to provide your children or yourselves with the experience of raising livestock or growing some of your own food. You may desire a particular school district which offers the educational experience that you want for your children. Or you may want that special place to use as a weekend or vacation retreat. Regardless of your motivation for purchasing, a local Realtor familiar with the area and with the process of helping buyers purchase acreage tracts will be of great assistance to you.
Perhaps you have started to view properties and have found a property that seems to meet your expectations and needs. One of the considerations in purchasing should be the availability and proximity of electricity to the property you hope to purchase. This may be overlooked by some buyers until they get ready to build. If electricity is not already on the tract or nearby, the cost can be substantial, especially on large acreage tracts. In many instances, once you locate the spot on the tract where you want to build, an appointment can be arranged for a representative of the local utility provider to meet you at the property to assess availability and cost. This information can be valuable in helping you make an informed purchase.
The link below will provide you with information on some of the electric providers in the Central Texas area.
Austin-area home sales top 3,000, $1 billion in volume in June 2015, prices remain high;
Mid-year results show 2015 on pace to exceed historical sales volume in 2014
Austin Board of REALTORS® releases real estate statistics for June 2015 and mid-year 2015
AUSTIN, Texas – July 21, 2015 – According to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) report released today by the Austin Board of REALTORS® (ABoR), Austin-area home sales topped 3,000 sales for the first time since July 2013, increasing five percent year-over-year to 3,051 sales for the month of June. Mid-year statistics show that Austin-area home sales increased an average of four percent year-over-year to 13,917, putting 2015 on pace to potentially exceed 2014’s historical high in sales volume.
In June 2015, total dollar volume reached $1,018,625,166 and increased by eight percent compared to June 2014. Additionally, the total dollar volume of single-family properties sold in the first half of 2015 was $4,617,178,959, a year-over-year increase of 12 percent.
Barb Cooper, 2015 President of the Austin Board of REALTORS¬®, explained, “June’s increased home sales, combined with total dollar volume exceeding $1 billion for the first time ever, shows the amazing equity Austin homeowners have in the market and the powerful impact of real estate in Central Texas. However, this increase heightens the need to replenish and expand housing stock to help achieve sustainable growth.”
According to the report, the median price for Austin-area single-family homes increased eight percent year-over-year to $272,250 in June 2015, while average price increased two percent to $333,866 during the same time frame. Keeping with the upward trend over the last several months, less than three in 10 single-family homes sold in the Austin area were priced below $200,000.
Price increases are similar for the first half of 2015, with median price increasing 10 percent to $263,000 and average price increasing eight percent to $331,765. At the same time, homes spent an average of 50 days on the market, three more days than the same time last year.
“If this growth continues, 2015 could become another historical year for Austin-area home sales. Both homebuyers and sellers can expect a strong, competitive market for the rest of the summer selling season,” said Cooper.
Active listings increased by four percent year-over-year to 6,701 listings in June 2015 and pending sales increased by eight percent to 3,023 compared to June 2014.
While new listings increased by three percent to 3,812 for June 2015, inventory held steady at 2.8 months, remaining well below the 6.5 month level the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University estimates as a balanced housing market.
Cooper concluded, “While growth shows positive momentum for our city, ABoR supports solutions that serve the entire community, accommodate new populations and help residents find the homes they want. To help achieve these goals, ABoR and Austin REALTORS® recently met with members of the Austin City Council and Mayor Adler to discuss big picture issues affecting Central Texas residents and with a strong focus on sustainable and managed growth. We’re pleased to see the steps city leaders are taking toward a more affordable Austin.”
June 2015 Statistics
- 3,051 – Single-family homes sold, five percent more than June 2014.
- $272,250 – Median price for single-family homes, eight percent more than June 2014.
- 42 – Average number of days single-family homes spent on the market, three days more than June 2014.
- 3,812 – New single-family home listings on the market, three percent more than June 2014.
- 6,701 – Active single-family home listings on the market, four percent more than June 2014.
- 3,023 – Pending sales for single-family homes, eight percent more than June 2014.
- 2.8 – Months of inventory* of single-family homes, unchanged compared to June 2014.
- $1,018,625,166 – Total dollar volume of single-family properties sold, eight percent more than June 2014.
2015 Mid-Year Statistics
- 13,917 – Single-family homes sold, four percent more than the first half of 2014.
- $263,000 – Median price for single-family homes, 10 percent more than the first half of 2014.
- $331,765 – Average price for single-family homes, eight percent more than the first half of 2014.
- 50 – Average number of days single-family homes spent on the market, three days more than the first half of 2014.
- 19,865 – New single-family home listings on the market, three percent more than the first half of 2014.
- 5,727 – Active single-family home listings on the market, eight percent more than the first half of 2014.
- 15,984 – Pending sales for single-family homes, five percent more than the first half of 2014.
- $4,617,178,959 – Total dollar volume of single-family properties sold, 12 percent more than the first half of 2014.
The following sections describe trends in other sectors of the Austin-area real estate market.
Townhouses & Condominiums
The volume of townhouses and condominiums (condos) purchased in the Austin area in June 2015 was 331, a 12 percent increase from June 2014. The median price for condos was $234,500, which is eleven percent more than the same month of the prior year. When compared to June 2014, these properties spent 8 more days on the market, or an average of 39 days.
For the first half of 2015, 1,510 Austin condos were sold, which is seven percent less than this time last year, while the median price was $226,250, or six percent more than the first half of 2014. Condos spent an average of 43 days on the market, one day fewer than the first half of 2014.
In June 2015, a total of 1,861 properties were leased in Austin, which is fourteen percent more than June 2014. The median price for Austin-area home leases was $1,600, seven percent higher than in June 2014. In the first half of 2015, a total of 8,525 properties were leased in Austin, which is eight percent more than 2014, and the median lease price was $1,520, a five percent increase from the first half of 2014.
The Austin Board of REALTORS® (ABoR) builds connections through the use of technology, education and advocacy to strengthen the careers of its 11,000 members and improve the lives of Central Texas families. We empower Austin REALTORS® to connect their clients to the region’s most complete, accurate and up-to-date listings data. For more, contact the ABoR Department of Public Affairs at
firstname.lastname@example.org or 512-454-7636. For the latest local housing market listings, visitAustinHomeSearch.com.
* The inventory of homes for a market can be measured in months, which is defined as the number of active listings divided by the average sales per month of the prior 12 months. The Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University cites that 6.5 months of inventory represents a market in which supply and demand for homes is balanced.
All information above is credit to Austin Board of Realtors.
As the population of Central Texas increases, the demand for rural, unimproved land tracts increases also. You might be renting and want to locate the perfect site on which to build your dream home, or you want a tract for recreational purposes, or maybe you are planning ahead and want to buy land on which to build your retirement home in the future. Regardless of your motivation for wanting to buy, today’s fast-paced real estate market makes it imperative that you act quickly. You search the web and find what looks like the perfect property, but WOW, the street address is not complete and you need to know its exact location due to considerations such as distance from schools, shopping, work, and doctors. Finding such a property on a map can be confusing and frustrating if you work alone. Your real estate agent, however, has the resources to locate and get additional information on those hard-to-find rural tracts. If you think the location is a good one, you can move quickly in having your agent show the property to you and help you place an offer if you like the tract. Remember, great properties do not last long in today’s market.
You may wonder why a particular property does not have a complete address. In many cases counties may require that a physical entrance, such as a driveway or gate, be established before an address is issued. Requirements may vary from county to county. If you purchase a property that does not have an address before the sale is complete, then you will need to work with the appropriate county office to establish an address after closing, especially when you are ready to build. Contacts at Hays and Blanco Counties who can help you obtain an address are as follows:
Blanco County – Kathy Strickland at Blanco County Judge’s office, 830-868-4266
Hays County – Kathrine Weiss or Alicia Campos at Hays County Mapping & GIS, 512-393-2160
Austin-area home prices hit all-time high for January, home sales rise in January 2015
Austin Board of REALTORS® releases real estate statistics for January 2015
AUSTIN, Texas – February 20, 2015 – The Austin-area housing market started the year strong in January 2015, with single-family home prices reaching all-time highs for the month of January and home sales posting double-digit increases according to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) report released today by the Austin Board of REALTORS®. This marks the fifth-straight month of annual home sales increases and the fourth-straight month of double-digit gains in home prices, as housing affordability continues to be a challenge in the Austin market.
Barb Cooper, 2015 President of the Austin Board of REALTORS®, explained, “With housing affordability already a challenge for many Austin residents, this increasing pace of home price growth is concerning. More than half of the homes sold in the Austin-area are now priced out of an affordable range for much of Austin’s workforce.”
In January 2015, the median price for Austin-area homes increased 13 percent year-over-year to $240,000 and the average price jumped 14 percent to $310,187 during the same time frame. January 2015 marks the highest year-over-year home price increase since September 2013 and all-time high for home prices in the month of January.
According to the report, 1,547 single-family homes were sold in the Austin area in January 2015, an 11 percent increase compared to January 2014. However, 54 percent of the homes sold during this time frame were in the $200,000-$500,000 price range, whereas only 35 percent sold for less than $200,000 – the typical price range for first-time and low-income homebuyers.
“Housing inventory is rising, but the current pace is not enough to alleviate Austin’s affordability challenges,” added Cooper. “Furthermore, more homes on the market will not increase housing affordability if those homes are all priced for move-up homebuyers. Austin needs a regulatory environment that will ensure development of all housing types, priced in an affordable range for all Austin residents.”
Austin-area monthly housing inventory was 2.2 months in January 2015, 0.2 months higher than January 2014 but still well below the 6.5-month inventory level the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University cites as a balanced housing market.
Active listings in January 2015 rose nine percent year-over-year to 5,005 listings, while new listings increased one percent to 2,360 listings from January 2014. Austin-area homes spent the same time on the market as January 2014, or an average of 63 days, and pending sales increased four percent to 2,026 sales during the same time frame.
Cooper concluded, “While single-family homes will always be a part of Austin’s fabric, Austin’s city leaders should consider housing types that cost less to develop and can allow for a greater range of affordable infill options, such duplexes and small apartment buildings, in neighborhoods where they are needed most. The Austin Board of REALTORS® is hopeful that the Austin City Council will embrace changes to the land development code and permitting process to allow for an abundance of housing in all neighborhoods.”
January 2015 Statistics
- 1,547 – Single-family homes sold, 11 percent more than January 2014.
- $240,000 – Median price for single-family homes, 13 percent more than January 2014.
- 63 – Average number of days single-family homes spent on the market, unchanged from January 2014.
- 2,360 – New single-family home listings on the market, one percent more than January 2014.
- 5,005 – Active single-family home listings on the market, nine percent more than January 2014.
- 2,026 – Pending sales for single-family homes, four percent more than January 2014.
- 2.2 – Months of inventory* of single-family homes, 0.2 months more than January 2014.
- $479,859,289 – Total dollar volume of single-family properties sold, 27 percent more than January 2014.
The following sections describe trends in other sectors of the Austin real estate market.
Townhouses & Condominiums
The volume of townhouses and condominiums (condos) purchased in the Austin area in January 2015 was 135, which is 30 percent less than January 2014. In the same time period, the median price for condos was $218,250, which is four percent more than the same month of the prior year. When compared to January 2014, these properties spent five fewer days on the market, or an average of 48 days.
In January 2015, a total of 1,279 properties were leased in Austin, which is two percent more than January 2014. The median price for Austin-area home leases was $1,430, which is four percent more than the same month of the prior year.
All information above is credit to Austin Board of Realtors.