Open House activity brisk in Austin and Round Rock

open-houseSteve and I have a few listings that have not had as much “traffic” as we would like, so the last few weeks I held open houses in a couple of our vacant staged listings just to get a feel for foot traffic in the neighborhoods and to hear what buyers are saying.

The first week, I held an open house at our Lost Creek listing at 1601 Bay Hill Drive. I placed several signs at the entrance to Lost Creek at Hwy 360, as well as numerous corners in Lost Creek, which brought in a lot of traffic.

The Lost Creek open house went better than I expected. There were 15 groups of people in 3 hours. It was really hopping! Normally a turnout of 5 to 8 people is considered “decent” on an open house, especially given the fact that sometimes the turnout can be zero. This was the first weekend of South by Southwest (SxSW Austin), so the atmosphere was lively and upbeat and people seemed to be enjoying being out and looking around. There were people from Denver and some from California that are planning to relocate to Austin. They all told me how “amazing” the prices are here in Austin. “Do you know how much a house like this would sell for in California?” Of course I’ve heard this before, and I know the listing I have in Lost Creek priced at $439k would be $1M+ in many parts of California.

The Lost Creek open house also drew several groups from Austin, many who are currently renting but out looking to see what’s available. Most of the attendees already have Austin agents they are working with. Of the four attendees who told me who their Austin Realtors were, I called all four agents to let them know their buyers seemed interested in the house and to invite them back for another look. I don’t know if this will produce a buyer, but I feel like I have to be doing everything I can to generate something.

My other open house was at our listing at 2512 Trailing Vine Way in Round Rock.

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Austin Real Estate Market Update – Dec 2008 and Year End

The Austin real estate market for December 2008 ended better than I predicted. The Austin market held up well throughout 2008, all things considered, and within the context of the national economic climate and the fierce headwinds created by fear and negative consumer sentiment. Before we get into the December stats, the YTD stats and the MLS area breakdowns, let’s take a quick look at the graph below to get a perspective on how the Austin real estate market has performed since 1999.


As you can see above, even though 2008 is down a bit from 2007, it’s not anywhere near the nose dive that most of the rest of the country has experienced. In fact, viewed on the 9 year graph, the small dip is no big deal. It has to be noted that both 2006 and 2007 saw price appreciation of just below 10%, both years setting new record high prices in Austin. Each succeeding year cannot be a new record. Real Estate markets do not produce straight upward sloping lines over time, nor should that be the expectation, so it somewhat puzzles me the degree of concern we hear from buyers and sellers when the market does what it’s suppose to do, but that’s what we’re hearing a lot of lately.

Relax, 2009 may be slightly down as well. But real estate is a long term investment, not a lottery ticket or an ATM machine, as folks came to view it during the early through mid 2000’s. Moving on. Below is the December 2008 stats summary as well as the 2008 vs. 2007 sales comparison and breakdowns by MLS area. First, let’s see how December did.

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