Archive Monthly Archives: November 2007

Forbes: Top-10 Best Performing Housing Markets includes Austin

Looks like Austin is still comparatively right up there in the top 10 cities. The following is from Forbes Magazine.

Top-10 Best Performing Housing Markets
As anybody who has ever sold real estate knows, there are no national markets, only local markets. The adage holds true when you look at the condition of the real estate business nationwide. Business may be tough in many places, but it’s not tough all over.

In Salt Lake City, Charlotte, N.C., and San Jose, Calif., prices have climbed relentlessly.
In the Northeast, the biggest gainers are the gritty cities of Buffalo, N.Y., Pittsburgh, Pa., and Philadelphia.
In the West, business is brisk in Northern California and the Pacific Northwest.

Here are the top 10 best performing housing markets, according to Forbes magazine, their third quarter median home sale prices and the percentage that prices have risen compared to third quarter 2006.

Salt Lake City; Median Home Sale Price: $246,700; Percent Change: 14.1 percent
Charlotte, N.C., $220,000, 11 percent
San Jose, Calif., $852,500, 9.4 percent
San Francisco, $825,400, 8.6 percent
Raleigh, N.C., $229,500, 7.5 percent
Austin, $188,200, 7.2 percent
Pittsburgh, $127,700, 6.1 percent
Seattle, $394,700, 6 percent
San Antonio, $154,700, 5.7 percent
Portland, Ore., $299,700, 5.2 percent

Posted by Steve
8 years ago

A Tale of Two Real Estate Markets

No matter where you live, there always exists two real estate “markets”. One market consists of homes that are priced “in the market”. These are the homes that will sell. The other market consists of homes priced “out of the market”. These are homes that probably won’t sell unless a price or condition adjustment is made to move the property to the “in” section of the market. It is the combination of pricing and condition that determines whether or not a property is in or out of the market, and thus whether it will sell. The best graphical depiction I’ve seen of the “two market” rule was outlined in a Power Point presentation at the Keller Williams Mega Agent Camp earlier this year in Austin. I’m going to share the graphics and explain this simple but powerful rule.

Take a look at the chart below.
Tale of 2 Real Estate Markets

The dark yellow portion in the bottom left corner represents the relative position, based on the competition that the “in the market” listings hold. Homes in the outer light yellow band, are either over-priced, not properly prepared, or both. The vertical left line represents pricing, and the horizontal bottom line represents condition. The closer your listing can be to the bottom left on both price and condition, the better your chance of a quick sale at full price. And, by the way, many listings in Austin are in fact selling very quickly, even while many others are sitting stale on the market for more than 6 months.

Now let’s take a look at what the chart looks like in a Seller’s Market.
Read more …

Posted by Steve
8 years ago

Austin Real Estate Market Update – Oct 2007

Home sales in Austin are getting better or worse, depending on which side of the equation you’re on – Buyer or Seller – and some other factors. If you’re a Buyer, you currently have more homes to choose from and are more likely to find a seller willing to negotiate compared to 2006 and the first half of 2007, though you probably won’t obtain a lower purchase price than you would have a year ago if you remain in Austin proper.

If you’re a Seller, you’re going to have to work harder to prepare your home for sale and you don’t have much room for error on the pricing. Buyers are simply bypassing overpriced listings as they have plenty of other homes to pick from. You will, however, probably sell your properly priced home for more than you could have a year ago, though it might take slightly longer. There is also a greater chance that, if your home isn’t priced right for the condition, it won’t sell at all. We are seeing a lot of homes in Austin be withdrawn from the market or expire unsold compared to a year ago. See the Sold vs. Not Sold chart I posted last month.

For October, the number of single family homes sold through the Austin MLS was down 5.9% from a year ago, which was expected. The average sold price is up about 5% over last year from $235,487 Oct 2006 to $246,796 for Oct 2007. The Median sold price is up 3.3% to $183,961 and the average price per square foot is up 4.5% to $117. The days on market inched up slightly from 66 to 69 and the Median days on market is up one day to 47. See the October chart below and the Year to Date stats further down.

Austin Sales Stats October 2007
Previous Month and Year Comparison
All MLS Areas - Houses Only

Sep 2007
Oct 2007
Oct 2006
Yr % Change
# Sold
Avg List Price
Median List Price
Avg Sold Price
Med Sold Price
Avg Size SQFT
Median SQFT
Avg $ per SQFT
Avg Days on Mkt
Median Days on Mkt

Read more …

Posted by Steve
8 years ago

Austin Rental Market Update – thru Oct 2007

The Austin Rental Market keeps chugging along. Not much new to say for the stats report this month as the steady climb in rents continues. Average rental rate is up 5.7% from a year ago, to $1354 (though down from last month due to our seasonal shift). But remember, average rents in Austin are still not yet back to the year 2000 rates. Stats are below. I did a breakout this month by city just to include something new. As usual, questions and comments are welcome. Sales stats will be coming next.

Austin Rental Market Stats October 2007
Previous Month and Year Comparison
All MLS Areas - Houses Only


Sep 2007

Oct 2007

Oct 2006

Yr % Change
# Leased
Avg List Price
Median List Price
Avg Leased Price
Med Leased Price
Avg Size SQFT
Median SQFT
Avg $ per SQFT
Avg Days on Mkt
Median Days on Mkt

Below is a previous month and Year-to-Date comparison.
Read more …

Posted by Steve
8 years ago

Texas A&M Economist Mark Dotzour on the Economy

Mark Dotzour is one of my favorite speakers. He makes things easy to understand and is funny. Below is a snippet from one of his recent speeches.

COLLEGE STATION (Real Estate Center) – Speaking before the Houston Economic Club earlier today, Dr. Mark Dotzour discussed the state of the national and Texas economies, and made a few predictions.

Credit markets are still in “considerable disarray,” with the value of questionable mortgages still declining, said Dotzour, chief economist for the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University.

More bad news regarding poorly performing mortgages is on the way from the banking system. Dotzour said the news may be disclosed by Feb. 15, when auditors ratify year-end financial statements.

“The international credit turmoil has led global investors to run to the political safety of U.S. Treasury securities, driving down the yield of ten-year treasuries and residential mortgages that are priced on the ten-year,” he said.

Dotzour predicts substantial layoffs on Wall Street in the coming weeks.

The underlying national economy is strong and resilient, he says, but it has weaknesses that could cause severe damage.

“The U.S. economy is like a professional wrestler with blood clots in his circulatory system,” Dotzour said. “The body is strong, fit and competitive, but nobody knows how many clots are in the system or where they could land. All we know is that when they do land, the damage will be significant.”

The U.S. economy, with its weaknesses largely centered around the auto industry and construction, is being outperformed by the Texas economy.

“Our construction industry is still pretty strong by comparison, and we don’t have much exposure to the car business,” Dotzour said.

Posted by Steve
8 years ago

Right Brain Left Brain Spinning Girl

Spinning Girl Someone sent me a link to this spinning girl and I found it interesting.

Which way is she spinning for you? For me, she is spinning to the right (clockwise) 100% of the time. For Sylvia, she is spinning to the left (counter-clockwise) 100% of the time. For our kids, she randomly switches back and forth for no apparent reason. The way my brain processes the image (seeing clockwise rotation) is suppose to mean I’m a “Right Brain” person. Counter-clockwise indicates Sylvia is a “Left Brain” person (which is why we make a great team even though we often disagree about things), though the description given of the Left Brain person more closely match who I am. Weird.

The main point this puzzle brings up for me though is to remind me that, as humans, we interpret and view things in life differently. What I see may not be true for you, and vice versa. This is why eye witnesses often tell completely different stories about the same event.

Being in an occupation where subjective opinion and interpretation plays large in how decisions are made, I have to remember that people don’t always see things as I do. I’ve often scratched my head when a Buyer passes up on a home that I view as being exactly what they say they want, but they simply don’t see it as their perfect home. Or when a buyer falls in love with a home that isn’t at all what they said they wanted, but for them, they see the perfect home.

If you see the woman spinning left and I see her spinning right, is one of us wrong? No. Can you convince me she is spinning left? Well, I might believe you if you say that’s what you see, but I still don’t see it. I’m trying though. Comments on the site where I found this indicate that if I try long enough, I should eventually be able to see it go both ways.

Posted by Steve
8 years ago