So August 2009 – Crossland Team

Archive Monthly Archives: August 2009

A Quick Glance at Real Estate Sales in Texas Cities July 2009

Below is sales data from the Texas A and M Real Estate Center regarding the real estate sales market in various cities across Texas for July 2009.

TEXAS (Real Estate Center, – A total of 22,511 existing homes were sold in Texas last month, a 4.8 percent decline from July 2008, according to MLS data compiled by the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University. The median price increased 0.6 percent to $153,800 during the same period, and the state finished the month with a 7.4-month inventory of existing homes.

Here is how select Texas cities fared in July (data current as of Aug. 28, 2009):

Sales Change from
Last Year
Change from
Last Year
Amarillo 254 down 21.6% $124,600 up 1.2% 7.2
Austin 2,288 down 0.2% $189,700 down 0.6% 7
College Station–Bryan 304 down 15.1% $151,000 down 2.3% 6.8
Dallas 4,815 down 6% $164,800 up 0.8% 6.5
El Paso 478 down 4.8% $135,200 down 2.4% 9.1
Fort Worth 840 down 12.3% $118,700 down 1.1% 6.6
Harlingen 78 up 20% $95,000 up 13.6% 28.7
Houston 6,393 down 4.8% $161,900 up 1.3% 6.8
Killeen–Fort Hood 257 down 6.2% $124,800 down 0.9% 10
Laredo 91 up 11% $122,800 up 2.3% 9
Lubbock 348 up 0.9% $110,300 up 0.3% 5.5
Palestine 21 down 16% $102,500 down 2.4% 10.1
San Angelo 125 down 5.3 % $121,700 up 10.6% 5.6
San Antonio 2,040 up 7.9% $156,900 up 2.3% 8.4
Waco 213 down 14.5% $114,600 down 1.4% 8.4

Additional home sales data for these and other major Texas cities are available on the Center’s website.

Nationally, sales of existing single-family homes last month were up 5 percent from July 2008, according to the National Association of Realtors.

As you can see, of fifteen cities reported for median price sold, 8 are up, 7 are down. Harlingen is doing best at +15%, no city is down more than 2.5%. Texas continues to be a solid and stable real estate market across the state, relative to the rest of the country.

If you’ve never checked out the Real Estate Center website at do so. There is a lot of interesting data and charts. Also, at the top left of the page link, you can sign up for the Real Estate email newsletter, which is mostly a compilation of snippets of real estate news from Texas newspapers, but also includes occassional data such as that shown above.

Posted by Steve
8 years ago

Austin Real Estate Market Update – July 2009 Stats

It’s getting real hard to write about the Austin real estate market when month after month it just keeps doing what is expected, treading water overall, doing well under $200K, especially close in, and still soft in the $400K+ price ranges. That really sums it up, month after month. At the beginning of the year I predicted Austin would be down 3% to 5% overall this year, and we’re still on track for that.

For July, the average sold price compared to July 2008 is down about 4%, a bit more than the 3% average we’ve been seeing each month, but not a surprise. Median sold price is down 1.5%. Average price per square foot is down 5% from a year ago. Days on market is up to 71 average and 44 median, which are not bad numbers, but still worse than a year ago, which was worse than the year before. See the chart below for the previous month and pevious year comparisons for July.

Austin Real Estate Sales Market Update July 2009
Homes only (condos, duplexes, etc. not included) compiled from Austin MLS data

Jun 2009 Jul 2009 Jul 2008 Yr % Change
# Sold 2031 1950 2017 -3.32%
Avg List $264,959 $259,167 $269,724 -3.91%
Med List $206,000 $199,900 $203,000 -1.53%
Avg Sold $254,059 $249,560 $260,832 -4.32%
Med Sold $200,000 $195,000 $198,000 -1.52%
Sold/List % 95.89% 96.29% 96.70% -0.42%
Avg SQFT 2221 2188 2166 1.02%
Med SQFT 2012 1985 1962 1.17%
Avg $ SQFT $114.39 $114.06 $120.42 -5.28%
Avg DOM 77 71 61 16.39%
Median DOM 48 44 39 12.82%
# Expired 392 476 537 -11.36%
# Withdrawn 679 825 881 -6.36%
Not Sold 1071 1301 1418 -8.25%
Not Sold % 34.53% 40.02% 41.28% -3.06%

The year-to-date chart is below. For the year Austin Average Sold price for houses is down 2.96%, median is down is dead even at 0% change, and average price per square foot is down about 5%. Our “not sold” are holding at 42%. See below for the details

Read more …

Posted by Steve
8 years ago

Has Austin Become a Sub-Category of Itself?

Two weekends ago I was running errands that took me from my home in Oak Hill in SW Austin, to my bank in South Austin, then to drop my daughter off at KidsActing in East Austin off East MLK. Then up to preview a house in North Austin, then up to Round Rock to see if the make-ready was complete on one of our new listings, then out to NW Austin near Spicewood Springs Rd and Hwy 183 to check on another house. After that I headed south, down Hwy 183 back to my office on Mopac to pick up mail, then to check on a lease listing near Zilker Park before I stopped for a late afternoon lunch at Green Mesquite on Barton Springs Rd.

I noted throughout the day of driving around that, for the most part, there is not anything aesthetically “special”, unique or visibly distinguishable about Austin. At least not along the main arteries I drove. In fact, much of Austin, viewed from the main travel arteries – especially the IH35 and 183 corridors – is, frankly, ugly.

Except for the drive through Zilker Park, and the generally large number of trees adorning Austin, I could have been driving around any city in the USA, if visual observation of commercial establishments and roadways were to be the only criteria.

So what makes Austin special? What makes Austin “Austin”? Increasingly, I believe, as “Austin” has grown to become the “Austin Metro Area”, it’s harder to differentiate the stuff we encounter on a daily basis from that which might be encountered on a daily basis in, say, Cleveland, Phoenix or Houston. The real Austin has become a sub-category of the greater Austin area.

Or perhaps, after living here almost 25 years, I’m so accustomed to what makes Austin special that it’s not readily apparent to me anymore and I’d need to go live somewhere else for a while and come back to really appreciate it. Maybe I take it for granted, except for certain areas.

A few years ago I got lost in Houston and I pulled into an outdoor mall off a busy boulevard to look at a map. There, in that parking lot, I observed the exact same grouping of stores found on Brodie Lane in South Austin. As I scanned across the stores, there was Pet Smart, Barnes and Noble, CompUSA (now extinct), Old Navy, OfficeMax, World Market, a Chinese restaurant, etc. This could have been Anytown USA. So too can most such strip mall locations in Austin, from strictly an observational standpoint of what you actually see in front of you, where you shop, and what you do in the course of a normal day.

So what makes Austin “Austin”? In other words, what do we have going on that is rare, or hard to find elsewhere, both for residents and visitors? What tales would a visitor have to tell after a 3 day visit? Where would she have gone and what would she have experienced that would generate tales of wonder for friends back home? Certainly not staying a weekend with a friend in Round Rock, visiting the outlet malls and eating out at a Chilis, then catching a movie, right? That’s not an “Austin” visit.

Nor is a true Austin visit flying in, staying at the La Quinta near the airport, renting a car and driving to Circle C, Steiner Ranch, Avery Ranch, and other popular Austin subdivisions in the suburbs, grabbing meals at fastfood places, and dinner at Chilis. Subdivisions and 90% of the eateries in Austin can be found anywhere in the U.S. So buying a DR Horton in Austin in a Subdivision close to a Pet Smart, Barnes and Noble, Best Buy, Old Navy, OfficeMax, World Market, and a Chinese restaurant doesn’t mean you’ve arrived in Austin, or that you even “live” here, if we define “Austin living” as experiencing the uniqueness of Austin, not just having an Austin mailing address.

So what makes Austin “Austin“?

Well, I think there are some things we can talk about, though I also think a typical person can live here and never experience any of them if they don’t get out and do it on purpose.

Read more …

Posted by Steve
8 years ago

Real Estate Market at Bottom in Most Texas Cities

This just in from my Texas A and M Real Estate Center eNewsletter:

COLLEGE STATION— “It appears we are at the bottom of the housing market in most Texas cities,” said Real Estate Center Director Mark Dotzour after reviewing the state’s latest home sale numbers.

Dotzour mentioned two years ago that new home construction needed to fall dramatically to avoid the level of overbuilding that could damage Texas housing markets. He even picked summer 2009 as the bottom of the housing cycle because bankers would constrain credit to homebuilders and developers.

Apparently he was right on all counts. The Texas inventory of unsold new and existing homes is in good shape.

“I feel now is the time to buy a house in most Texas cities,” he said. “Housing affordability has never been higher, and I never thought I would see 5 percent mortgages in my lifetime. If you plan to live in the house for at least two or three years, now is the time to buy.

Read more …

Posted by Steve
9 years ago

Fussy garage door reminds me I’m not young anymore

backpain-main_FullOur garage doors have been acting up at home. Sometimes they won’t close but instead do that blinking light thing, even though there is nothing obstructing the safety beam. When this happened to me today, I had to walk into the garage, hold the wall button down so the door would close all the way, and open up the other door on Sylvia’s side of the garage.

We have a three car garage and her door is on the far side. Between her door and me was a small pile of junk and rubble being collected for a trip to the dump. I simply needed to press Sylvia’s door button and run out before it closed. Thus, I pressed the button, jogged briskly toward daylight, leaped the pile of rubble, made a hard left and headed out while leaning down to clear the descending door and simultaneously performing two high steps over the safety beam so as not to trigger the reversal of the door and a do over.

I emerged successfully onto my driveway, letting out a loud holler as I stood back up straight and felt something very painful course through my lower back. I don’t know what I tweaked, but it really hurt. And it kept hurting for several hours. I seem to be ok now, but we’ll see what’s going on when I wake up in the morning.

I guess this is how it goes for those of us in our mid forties. I don’t feel old in mind or spirit, but my body can’t handle even the aforementioned test of dexterity and quickness without revolting in defiance. Maybe next time I need to do the garage door hurdle/sprint, I’ll just go around and out the front door instead.

Posted by Steve
9 years ago

RealManage HOA Management Delivers Poor Customer Service

Occassionally I like to use my blog as a bully pulpit. I’m especially grateful that Google likes our blog and thus pushes blog articles that contain company names and keywords to the front page of search results, such as when we became the Number 1 search result for searches for a mortgage company name after that mortgage company ripped off one of our buyers.

Well, now RealManage HOA Management chapped me by demonstrating such incompetence and poor service that I feel compelled to tell the world about it. There are a couple of issues I’m dealing with. Poor billing practices is one, and my inability to obtain a pool key for my tenant is the other.

At present, all I need is a pool card for my tenant at a property in Olympic Heights for which RealManage HOA Management is the HOA management company in Austin. Sounds pretty simple, huh? Probably just need to fill out a form, maybe pay a deposit, and get a key. That’s how it works with other HOA companies. It’s often something that can even be accomplished the same day with a trip to a local office by the tenant. Not with RealManage.

I sent the following email to their customer service department on July 13th, 2009.

I manage the home at {property address}. What do I need to do to get a pool card for my tenants, or do they do it directly with you?

The next day came a response.

“Thank you for contacting RealManage regarding a pool key. You will need to fill out a “Pool Waiver” form to obtain a pool key. For your convenience, I’ve attached a copy of the Waiver to this email. When you have completed and signed the form, you can fax it or email it to us as indicated below.”

The waiver was completed, sign by my tenant and me, and returned to RealManage for processing. Then a few weeks passed. On Aug 6th I sent the following:

“Can you inform me of the status of the pool cards for my tenants?”

And then the conversation continues in the following bizarre exchange:
Read more …

Posted by Steve
9 years ago