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Your Austin real estate blog

Thank you for visiting Homeowner Herald, the official blog of AustinHomeSearch.com, providing valuable information for both home buyers and sellers. Follow us on Twitter or check in each week for new posts on topics ranging from holiday decorating to the economy to moving into your new home. This blog is maintained by the Austin Board of REALTORS®. If you’d like to suggest a blog topic, contact the ABoR Marketing Department.

Markets/Economy topics

Austin real estate blog
Low mortgage rates continue: Is it the right time to buy?
FRIDAY, MARCH 16, 2012

It’s in the news and on the minds of most everyone involved in the business of buying and selling homes: mortgage rates. It’s true, as the economy shows encouraging signs of growth, mortgage rates remain at an all-time low. Freddie Mac lists a few facts that contribute to why buying a home looks as attractive as it does right now. The following numbers are for the week ending March 1, 2012:

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.90 percent. Last year at this time the 30-year FRM averaged 4.87 percent.

  • 15-year FRM averaged 3.17 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 4.15 percent.

  • Five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 2.83 percent. A year ago, the five-year ARM averaged 3.72 percent.

  • One-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 2.72 percent. At this time last year, the one-year ARM averaged 3.23 percent.

According to Freddie Mac, these numbers show that mortgage rates are staying near their 60-year lows, which positively impacts home affordability. While it’s true that you should be prepared to answer more questions now than you would have if you were seeking a loan in 2008 and have your credit score analyzed more carefully, “it’s not as hard as it sounds,” Kenton Brown, president of the Austin Mortgage Bankers Association explained in a recent interview with Impact News. “It is more difficult than it was four years ago. Then, you had a fog and mirror, and you got a loan. But 10 years ago, this wasn’t unusual.” Brown went on to say that mortgage lenders and insurers alike are beginning to provide support more readily for potential home buyers.

press release issued by the Austin Board of REALTORS® last month stated that January of 2012 saw 1,051 single-family homes sold, which is 10 percent more than January 2011. In many cases, the price is right for folks to make the move from renting to buying an Austin home.

To learn more about whether now may be the right time for you to buy a home in Austin, talk with your Central Texas REALTOR® or find a REALTOR® on AustinHomeSearch.com.

Austin real estate blog
Austin housing forecast: Skies continue to clear in 2012
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 1, 2012

The Austin Board of REALTORS® (ABoR) and the Home Builders Association (HBA) of Greater Austin hosted the annual Housing Forecast on January 12, welcoming a crowd of 750 interested Austin residents and real estate professionals. The overarching message from industry experts was hopeful: “For 2012, Metrostudy expects new home production in the Austin region to increase for the second straight year,” said Director of the Austin Market for Metrostudy, Eldon Rude. New home starts are up from last year, and the job market in Austin is improving. Our growing population paired with a shrinking low-cost rental supply all point to a growing housing market in Central Texas.

Industry experts are not naïve; they shared some logical concerns, and issues to be aware of. Dr. Greg Hallman from The University of Texas’ McCombs School of Business could not gloss over the economic crisis in Europe, stating that while European leaders have avoided disaster to date, investors world-wide remain cautious. KXAN’s Chief Weathercaster Jim Spencer brought the continuing Central Texas drought into perspective for the audience. “Even during the drought of record, there were several rainy periods, and it is expected this extended drought will be no different, even if it lasts for years. In short, the adage, ‘if you don’t like the weather in Texas, wait five minutes’ really can still apply.”

Overall the 2012 Housing Forecast had encouraging news for Austin homeowners. Compared to national and global markets, the Austin area continues to remain a bright spot on the map, with job and housing markets expected to continue their positive trends in the coming year. Though current drought conditions continue to impact homeowners, home builders and truly all those living in Central Texans, we are reminded that Texas weather conditions can change in an instant and one day of intense rainfall could wipe out the rain deficit, as has happened in the past. Without a doubt, Austin is ‘poised for greatness’ in 2012.

Austin real estate blog
2011 Austin real estate market: Third quarter review
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 16, 2011

The third quarter of 2011 was marked by a strong volume of home sales in Austin, outpacing 2010 by 32 percent in July, 33 percent in August and 31 percent in September. Median prices remained stable, ending the quarter with a median price of $189,000 in September, only two percent less than one year ago.

Pending sales, which are sales that will likely close within the following month, also enjoyed high volume during the third quarter of 2011. Compared to 2010, July saw an increase of 28 percent, whereas August and September both saw increases of 19 percent. A total of 14,862 homes were sold between January and September of 2011, which is six percent more than the same period in 2010.

“With the impact of the homebuyer tax credits fully behind us, it's encouraging to see three consecutive months of year-over-year growth in sales volume for Austin-area homes,” said Judith Bundschuh, Chairman of the Austin Board of REALTORS®. “In the midst of that growth, Austin home values have remained stable.”

For more information about the Austin real estate market and how it may affect you, contact your Central Texas REALTOR®.

Austin real estate blog

2011 Austin real estate market: Second quarter review
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 10, 2011

Home prices in Austin remained stable during the second quarter of 2011. Compared to the previous year, the median price of Austin homes rose three percent in April and four percent in May, finishing with a median price of $205,000 by the end of June. In addition, June saw an increase of Austin home sales, nine percent more than June of 2010.

During the first half of the year, a total of 9,299 homes were sold in Austin, five percent fewer than the same period in 2010. However, pending sales, which indicate the number of sales likely to close in the next month, were higher in the second quarter when compared to 2010, with a 53 percent increase in May and a 31 percent increase in June.

Austin homes spent an average of 88 days on market (DOM) in April, 81 days in May and 75 days in June, marking the shortest DOM figures since the Fall of 2010. While these numbers indicate that Austin real estate spent more time on market than during the same period one year ago, they were the lowest DOM figures seen in Austin since September 2010.

"Looking at the results, it's encouraging to see that the demand for homes is strong and that Austin-area homes continue to hold their value," said Judith Bundschuh, Chairman of the Austin Board of REALTORS®. "The increase in pending sales…coupled with stable prices and stronger sales [in June], are encouraging signs that the market is returning to a pre-recession seasonal cycle."

For more information about the Austin real estate market and how it may affect you, contact your Central Texas REALTOR®.

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