Starting tomorrow, Feb 1st, the Austin Board of Realtors will start assessing fines to agents who use the phrase “search Austin MLS” or anything similar on websites. This is another example of what I consider to be poor leadership and shortsighted thinking in our industry, and by Realtor Associations in particular. A quick Google search reveals that if ABOR wishes to strictly enforce this new rule, and assess $100 fines to its members for mentioning “MLS search” on websites, it could be a new profit center for the association. There are still plenty of websites using this terminology (Not mine, I’ve removed the offending language since I don’t like paying fines). Am I the only one who finds this absurd?
The rationale for this new rule is that consumers will mistakenly think they are connected to the actual MLS when viewing listings via web portals, which are in fact MLS feeds of most listings found in the MLS, with certain bits of data (such as days on Market) removed. The official justification offered by abor.com is as follows:
The January 2006 issue of Tierra Grande Magazine features an article that examines two questions:
1) How does limited service representation affect a property’s time on the market and selling price? and
2) Do agent experience and licensing level make a difference?
This research sponsored by the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University revealed that limited service representation and agent experience can indeed have significant impacts.
The short of it is, homes listed by Discount Brokers sold for 1.7% less than exclusive-right-to-sell listings, and took 17.1% longer to sell. Given that the typical discount offered by Discount Brokers is 2%, and adding for the holding cost of additional selling time, there does not appear to be any net gain to sellers using limited service representation. The article is printed below in its entirety, or you can see it online here.
Mark Dotzour, Ph.D., is chief economist and Jim Gaines, Ph.D., is research economist at the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University. Below is their outlook for Texas Real Estate in 2006. You can also read this at TexasRealtors.com
The Texas housing market continued to be strong in 2005 just like we thought it would. A combination of positive job growth, low interest rates, and rising home prices in almost all Texas markets provided the fuel to keep the fires burning. Next year should bring more of the same. New housing starts should follow suit, possibly setting a record pace again in 2006.
The article below is from the Austin Statesman. It outlines the kind of real estate market we are seeing now in Austin. Sylvia and I wrote 9 offers for buyers in the past 8 days. Only 4 were accepted – the rest were kicked out by better offers. An offer we wrote yesterday on a home in area SW already priced on the leading edge of the pricing curve received a total of 4 offers, 3 of which were above the asking price. Hang on … Austin has awoken up from its 4 year real estate slumber, but in 2006 it’s getting ready to stand up and run!
The average U.S. new home built in 2005 reached a record 2412 square feet according to the National Association of Home Builders. I grew up in San Diego California with my Mom and Dad and one brother in a 900 square foot home. It was a 3 bedroom, 1.5 bath home. We had 1 shower in the hall bath (the master bath had just a sink and commode). We lived there until I was 19 and my brother 16, so it wasn’t just a growing family living in this size space, it was a married couple with two 6 foot tall sons.
Austin Real-Estate Market Rebounds On Steady Population and Job Growth
Here is an article from the Wall Street Journal Online.
As Austin’s economy has ramped up again, the region’s promising growth and largely down-home property prices have attracted some of the real-estate industry’s biggest guns.
The rebound comes after the Texas capital lost about 31,000 jobs from the end of 2000 through the close of 2003, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as high-powered tech employers such as Dell Inc. slashed payrolls and some smaller Internet start-ups fizzled. The tech bust also left one downtown office building abandoned midconstruction and put the local housing market on the sidelines during the residential boom.