All posts by Nathanael Brown


June 2016: The latest on the Austin real estate market

The weather isn’t the only thing warming up in Austin.

If you thought the winter slump the Austin real estate market went through was going to last longer you were wrong! As we creep towards summer, activity in the residential market is growing rapidly. Over 2500 single-family homes were sold in March, up 9.3 percent from March 2015. After a sluggish January and a meek February, the residential market saw spikes across the board (with a few exceptions). New single-family home listings were up 12.2 percent at 3,633. Active single-family listings were only up 1.5 percent to 4,669—quite the turnover. Sales pending for single-family residents were up 7.2 percent at 2,811. Total volume sales for the month totaled at a whopping $887,419,074—up 14.1 percent! Unfortunately all this growth isn’t changing another increasing factor: median price. For single-family residential homes in Austin the median price increased to $278,000, up 7.8 percent.


Doing something about affordability.

The Austin Board of Realtors has been pushing against code and permit restrictions and enforcement issues that have contributed to the rising cost of homes in the area. ABoR released a statement where Board President Aaron Farmer urged the City to take action as many longtime residents “are being priced out of their homes and many are unable to live close to their work or school.” ”As a city, we have to start being mindful of how our property development, appraisal, and code enforcement decisions impact not only housing affordability, but also the diversity of our neighborhoods and communities,” said Farmer. With the lack of affordable options in the city, young people are estimated to have to save for 10 years before they are able to purchase a home. This low level of accessibility for home ownership can be damaging to the real estate market as well as the local economy.


Where to buy now.

Culturemap Austin recently released their top three popular Austin neighborhoods you’ll want to buy a home in now. Topping the list is the north Austin neighborhood of Crestview. If you’re looking for a family home with accessibility to play areas, trails, great schools, and top-notch facilities, Crestview is an attractive and affordable option.

  Next on the list is University Hills. This northeast area has recently developed into a hot residential spot perfect for young people. Home of Dottie Jordan Park and the Walnut Creek trail, there are plenty of options for hiking, biking, and all your favorite outdoor activities. Foodies rejoice—there are also tons of great food options in University Hills.   Finally, the North Loops neighborhood isn’t being kept a secret any longer. Once the flight path underneath Mueller Airport, this central enclave has a unique array of shops, cafes, and favorite establishments Foreign & Domestic and drink.well.
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Selling Your home on the Austin Market

Tips for selling your home on the Austin market

So you’re leaving town or trading up and it’s time to put your home on the market. People may say Austin is a “seller’s market,” but that doesn’t mean you won’t make some missteps on your path towards selling your home in Austin. By enlisting the help of a skilled realtor, you can make sure you’re doing everything to get your house sold quickly and at the best price. A skilled expert will tell you…

Start with the basics

The first things potential buyers look at when purchasing a new home is the kitchen and the bathroom. So if you’re going to put money anywhere, put it there. If you remodel your kitchen or spruce up your bathroom before putting it on the market, you are likely to get more offers. Fixing them up could be as easy as re-painting. It costs less than 1% and can boost your home’s value by 10%. Ask your realty expert for their opinions on updates you can do to your kitchen and bathroom.

Remember: it’s not your home anymore

If you’re going to sell this property, you need to visualize it as the buyer’s home, or how else will they? Your expert realtor will tell you to remove all personal items before showing—now is as good a time as any to wrap and pack your family photos, vacation trinkets, and personal mementos. It will cut down the clutter in the home, making it easier for potential buyers to picture their own lives in the house. You’re going to be leaving soon anyways; de-clutter and throw out or donate anything you won’t be taking with you. Re-arrange your cabinets and drawers and only keep the daily essentials. Also make sure the place is perfectly clean before anyone steps through that door. If it were your home, a dust bunny here and there wouldn’t be a big deal. But this needs to be a model for a buyer’s ideal life. Clean the windows, vacuum, send the pets to daycare, and light some warming candles. Before a potential buyer enters the house, check every room with your realty expert—a second pair of eyes never hurts.

Sweat the small things

Are there scratch marks on the door from when Fido wants to go outside? Is the powder room faucet a little leaky? Is the grout in the bathroom pink and brown? These are the little details you need to take care of now. Sand down those dog scratches and re-paint the door. Fix the leaky faucet finally and use some bleach and elbow grease on that grimy grout. Every inch of the house is going to be scrutinized by buyers and you’ll be amazed at the things they can point out without you even noticing. Have your realtor scrutinize every inch of your rooms. They will note any minor thing that can be fixed so you can check them all off your list before you even let one potential seller through that door. People in Austin are spending a lot of money on homes, so they want to get their money’s worth. With the help of a skilled, professional realtor you’ll come out winning in this “seller’s market.”
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A Look At Popular Austin Neighborhoods

As compact as Austin is, there is a lot of real estate diversity. Each neighborhood has a distinct personality that compliments its residents. If you’re moving to Austin or just thinking of changing locations in town, get to know your options and find the perfect new community.

Hyde Park

Just north of the University of Texas campus, Hyde Park is a great central location. The houses tend to be a bit older and smaller—there are a lot of modest bungalows with two or three rooms. Recently, Redfin Corp. ranked Hyde Park as the fourth-hottest real estate market in the country based on sales data, web traffic, and agent observations. It was the only Austin neighborhood to make the list, which included hotspots like Eastwood in Nashville and Mount Pleasant in Washington D.C. Hyde Park is blessed with a plethora of local businesses and is adjacent to both the Hancock Center HEB and the north Fiesta Supermercado. If you’re thinking of checking out the neighborhood, stop at Quack’s for a coffee with a fresh baked good and stop at the Elisabet Ney Museum for just a taste of the unique culture Hyde Park offers.


If you’re looking for a large home in an established neighborhood, the Zilker neighborhood offers the close-knit neighborhood feel you’re looking for. Zilker has a mix of mid-sized to large homes on sizeable lots. It is also home to some of the best Elementary schools in the AISD system and feeds into Austin High School. Zilker is a stone’s throw from—you guessed it—Zilker Park, so there the annual ACL Festival noise pollution to consider; but seeing as it only lasts 2 weekends a year, it doesn’t defer many from this ideal spot. Being in the Zilker neighborhood puts you close to the businesses and restaurants of Barton Springs and Lamar as well as the Bee Cave Trader Joe’s, so whatever you need is right around the corner. And while you’re a cheap Uber ride from downtown, Zilker is home to Green belt entrance Gus Fruh, so in a short hike you’re out of the city and in the tranquility of Austin’s creek side oasis.


If living further north suits you, Wooten is an old Austin neighborhood between Anderson Lane, Burnet, and US 183. Remember the Richard Linklater classic Dazed and Confused? Many of the homes and streets you see in that movie are located in the Wooten neighborhood. It was also named by Redfin as one of the hottest neighborhoods in Austin, but don’t mistake Wooten for being too trendy. It’s surprisingly affordable and only a 10-minute drive to downtown (depending on what kind of construction is happening on MOPAC, of course.) Recently, Burnet and Anderson has developed into booming business centers with its own hip eateries like Black Star Co-Op as well as South Austin favorites like Hopdoddy Burger Bar and Lucy’s Fried Chicken. You can also catch the Austin City MetroRail from this area, making your commute a little less painful if you’re working downtown.
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Austin Grows Up: Two New Towers Set To Grace Capitol City’s Skyline

Fact: Austin is less than 300 mi². Another fact: Austin continues to lead the country in terms of population boom. So what’s a burgeoning metropolis to do when its size is having trouble fitting all its new residents? Grow up, that’s what. The droves of new Austinites include a plethora of young families and professionals who aren’t looking for the 20th century dream of a suburban ranch house with a manicured lawn. Today, people want to be in the center of the city where the culture is. And as far as Rover goes, there’s no need for a lawn when dog parks and amenities are as plentiful as they are in our pet-friendly city. To fill the demand of upscale urban housing in Austin, developers have already filled the skyline with shiny new sky rises; and now we have two new condominium buildings on our way.


70 Rainey Tower

The Rainey Street District wasn’t much to look at a decade ago; but recently it’s transformed to one of Austin’s favorite bar and restaurant districts. And where there’s entertainment, people want to live. There’s already the Milago and Skyhouse, but on January 19th developer Sackman Enterprises and architecture firm Page announced that 70 Rainey will break ground in 2016. According to Austin Business Journal, 70 Rainey will feature eight levels of parking, a ground floor restaurant and an outdoor amenity deck dubbed the “park in the sky.” The base will be topped by 164 residential, for-sale condos — all with balconies. Each unit’s floor plan will be shaped like a parallelogram, which will provide a spectacular view for each resident. Furthermore the “park in the sky will include an expansive garden, providing the backyard that many condo owners miss out on.

jengatowerSource: Austin Business Journal –

The Jenga Tower

If your design aesthetic leans towards the more unconventional, developers Constructive Ventures and Aspen Heights are bringing Austinites The Independent– also known as “The Jenga Tower.” Its announcement was considered one of the biggest real estate stories of 2015, and the buzz hasn’t slowed down since. Upon its 2018 completion, The Independent will be the tallest building in Austin at 58-stories. As part of the renovation of the Seaholm District, The Independent will be constructed along the north side of Lady Bird Lake near the former Green Water Treatment Plant at the intersection of Cesar Chavez and San Antonio. Designed by local firm Rhode: Partners, 90% of The Independent’s estimated 370-condo units sold the first week they became available. It earned the nickname “Jenga Tower” from its unconventional design. However, there have been speculations that architectural firm Rhode: Partners will tone down the final product during construction. Austin’s eager population will have to wait until 2018 to see… but the anticipation is palpable. Have questions about Austin’s ever-changing real estate market? Contact First Agent Realty at (512) 807-7010 for insider tips on finding the perfect living space for you and your family. We love Austin and all its residents, so we work hard to place every single client in their dream home.
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Year In Review: Austin’s Biggest Real Estate Stories of 2015


2015 was another year of unprecedented growth for Austin, and residents can feel it; they feel it waiting in 5 o’clock traffic, trying to keep up with every new restaurant opening, and they definitely feel it waiting in longer lines for their breakfast tacos. So it’s no surprise the housing market had some crazy developments, pardon the pun.

We’re taking a look back on the year and the news that defined the Austin real estate market in 2015.  Here are the stories that really stuck with us:  
  1. Austin is Forbes’ #1 Best Buy City

When it comes to investing in property, Forbes magazine named Austin the top city to consider because of its diverse economy and relatively low housing prices. The publication also considered the city’s rapidly growing population and low unemployment rate. With all the hype as well as the planned developments both up and out, it’s safe to say that it’s best to start looking into buying your dream Austin home sooner rather than later.  
  1. “The Jenga Tower”

The renovation of the Seaholm District didn’t just bring downtown Austin a Trader Joe’s; it also brought plans for the most divisive high-rise building to grace to city’s skyline. The Independent, designed by local firm Rhode: Partners, sold 90% of its estimated 370-condo units the first week they became available. The shifty design of its 58-stories earned it the nickname “Jenga Tower,” and drew a plethora of reactions from the public. Whether you think The Independent will be eye-catching or an eyesore, one thing is for certain: Austin is growing up.    
  1. The St. Elmo Public Market

Cross Ben White and South Congress looks a little different—namely, it’s pretty undeveloped. Developers GroundFloor and Prescott Group decided to change that with the construction of the St. Elmo Public Market, 40,000 square feet of retail, event, and office space inspired by Seattle’s Pike Place and Mercado San Miguel in Madrid. However, the developers assure us that St. Elmo will have a personality that is distinctly Austin. People in the market for a house in this area would be smart to start looking now. Construction of the St. Elmo Public Market begins this year with a projected opening date in 2018.    
  1. HGTV Builds A “Smart Home” in Zilker Park

Austin’s Boomtown reputation has brought several home-improvement reality shows to town, but while most of these shows fixate on improving older homes, HGTV came in and flipped the book by building their second Smart Home in the ultra-desirable Zilker Park neighborhood. With multiple outdoor living spaces, drought-resistant landscaping, and amenities like a wet bar in the master bedroom, the house was sure to be a dream home for whoever won HGTV’s giveaway… but for winner Isabel Villarreal of Harlingen, the profits from selling the estimated million dollar home were more appealing.  The house will be hitting the market soon.  
  Want to stay on top of Austin real estate news going into 2016? Contact us for the latest updates on the developments that impact our community.
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