When I moved to Austin in 1985, it wasn’t long before I found myself in Antone’s blues club on Guadalupe Street north of the U.T. campus. I’d never been in a live music club like it before, there was something special about it. I loved that place and I loved the music. I even met a past girlfriend there who, much to my stunned disbelief, came up and asked me to dance. I was single and 23 and Austin was heaven. Now I’m married in my 40’s with two kids (10 and 13), don’t drink or smoke, so I’m sorry to say Sylvia and I don’t make it out to Austin nightclubs much anymore and haven’t been inside Antone’s for more than 10 years. But whenever out of town clients ask me where to go for some live music in Austin, I ask “do you like the blues?”. If so, I send them to Antones.
Now Clifford Antone has died. He helped make Austin music what it is, and thus helped make greater Austin what it is today – the “Live Music Capital of the World”. He’s just as important to the culture and history of Austin as Michael Dell, the Capital, Barton Springs or any of our other Austin icons. The Austin Statesman has a nice story on him today, which I’m reposting below. It’s a good read about a very big hearted man.
April stats are below. Same story as all year thus far. Inventory is shrinking, prices are rising. It’s a stead climb, not a ‘boom’, but there are within the market certain areas that are booming, and showing very strong sales. I’ll try to post a breakdown of MLS areas later this month when I get time.
I often receive inquiries from investors who are dead set on achieving the best cash flow possible from the property they purchase. This is shortsighted, in my opinion, and often leads the buyer to consider 4-plexes in Austin, which I mainly advise against. In fact, unless the 4-plex happens to be situated in a quality neighborhood (such as the campus area or Central close to downtown) in a higher price range (in which case it won’t cash flow any better than a home), I’ll refer the buyer to another agent if I can’t disuade them from making this mistake.
Fourplexes, for the most part, are poorly built and do not attract a quality tenant. The maintenance and tenant headaches far outweigh any perceived cash flow advantage. Not to mention, you’ll have a really tough time (though not impossible) finding a good Property Manager willing to manage a 4plex. The irony is, it’s often the cheapest, cheapskate buyers who purchase these properties, attracted by the perceived better cash flow, and those owners in turn are unwilling to spend the money needed to properly care for the property, and so the areas continue to suffer not only from marginal tenants, but from owners unwilling to invest in improving their property. But even if an owner is willing to make the investment, if the effort is not shared by surrounding owners, the effort will be difficult.
This morning, the Austin Statesman has an article highlighting the troubles the police are having on one of these Austin 4plex streets. The article validates and confirms what I tell investors about this sort of area. The points made in the story sound all too familiar, as I remember the days before 1999 when I did manage over 100 4-plex units around Austin before finally giving up and deciding to jettison them all from our management portfolio.
This is from last week’s Austin Statesman. Proposed home size restrictions are more restrictive than the temporary restrictions currently in place under the building moratorium. I have mixed opinions about this sort of building limitation. In general I think the limitations are OK if the policy allows for a reasonable exception or variance in those instances where it makes sense.
Article is posted below. For more information, go to: http://www.ci.austin.tx.us/zoning/sf_regs.htm
I just received a voicemail message from the listing agent of a home I previewed a couple of days ago for one of my out-of-town buyers. The message from the agent was “just want you to know that we are now paying a $2,000 Buyers Agent Bonus on a full price offer!”.
Does this motivate me in any way to try harder to find a buyer for that property? Should it motivate me to try harder to find a buyer for that property? If it just so happened that my Buyer has decided to write an offer on that house before I received the message, should I encourage a full price offer, knowing it could earn me an extra $2,000?
The Leasing Market in Austin is still holding steady, with minor gains over April a year ago. Property Managers I talk to tell me they are starting to increase rents very selectively in some of the stronger areas closer to downtown, and with some of the better homes. This is still a renter’s market, but the market is absorbing 55% more rental inventory than this time last year. If job growth in Austin remains strong as expected, and sales prices continue to climb, it’s only a matter of time before the rental market follows.
I’ve included more information this month than I normally do. As we head into the busiest leasing months of June, July and August, I thought it would be a good time to look at some Year-to-Date numbers as well as some additional breakdowns of areas.