Austin’s housing market is smoking hot right now, and it shows no signs of cooling off any time soon. In May 2013, the number of Austin home sales set a new record, besting the tally of May 2012 by a record 29%. When the number of interested buyers outstrips the inventory of available homes, you’re dealing with a seller’s market. While this is great for brokers and Austin homebuilders, how can the buyer cope with the imbalance?

Stay Informed

It’s only natural. Unless you’re actively engaged in searching for a home, you likely have little interest in the daily fluctuations of the real estate market. If you’re not up to speed on the current inventory of Austin homes for sale, you’ll need to trust your agent to know what’s going on.

Come Up with a Fabulous Offer

In a hot market, it’s not unusual for Austin-area home sellers to receive multiple offers daily. The trick here is to ensure that yours stands out. To make it past first base, you must:

  •  Not appear cheap. When the supply of homes for sale is scant, offering less than the asking price could strike you out in a hurry. If you really want that house, go higher.
  • Show good faith. A large earnest offer will attract the seller and put you in a favorable light.
  • Don’t get greedy. When homes are going like hotcakes, don’t blow your chances by asking the homeowner to throw in the washer, the dryer and the kitchen sink.
  • Be willing to show preapproval papers and proof of sufficient funds for a down payment that could be a little larger than you initially expected.
  • Give the seller a break. Don’t insist on an ironclad move-in date. Allowing the owners some extra time to vacate might give you an edge over the competition.

The Broker is Your Friend

Encourage your buyer’s agent to contact the listing broker at the earliest opportunity. The lister knows what the seller wants and should be glad to offer tips on submitting an acceptable offer. An agent who remains in close contact with the broker can help you revise your offer quickly if necessary, thereby saving you from entrapment in a vortex of counteroffers while someone else beats you to home base.

Get Proactive

Is the home of your dreams scheduled for public display this weekend? If so, make an appointment to see it today. A desirable residence may find itself in contract long before the agent has unlocked the open house doors.

Be Prepared

It’s not just for the Boy Scouts any more. In the current Austin real estate market, homes sell quickly, and a well-prepared homebuyer who makes an attractive offer in a timely fashion should be a happy homeowner in the end.

austin real estate, austin homesIf you’re looking for a booming real estate market, look no further than Austin. Whether you’re looking to buy or sell, you won’t find a better place to do so right now. According to the Austin Board of Realtors, the 3,135 homes that were sold in the area in July annihilated the previous record from June 2006, when 2,993 homes were sold in metropolitan Austin. Whether this record will be broken yet again remains to be seen, but there’s little doubt about the strong real estate market continuing for the foreseeable future.

Eye-Opening Real Estate Statistics

Home sales in Austin in July 2013 were 35% higher than they were during the same month the previous year. Things have improved dramatically in the last 12 months in many other areas too. There were 20% more pending sales in July 2013, and 22% more homes were placed on the market than in July 2012. All told, home sales in July 2013 totaled $933,242,475, which represents an increase of 43% over the same period last year. The median sales price rose by 8% to $228,250 as well.

Why is Austin’s Real Estate Market Booming?

Austin’s real estate market is on fire for a number of reasons. First, Austin’s job market is excellent and was ranked third in the nation by Forbes. The unemployment rate is 5.2%, and the five-year expected job-growth rate is 3.2%. A lot of the job growth is attributable to a huge spike in tech industry jobs as tech companies discover the more business friendly nature of Austin. The construction, education and government sectors are experiencing dramatic growth too.

Considering Austin’s robust job market, it comes as no surprise that its economy is thriving too. Austin reclaimed the number-one spot on the On Numbers Economic Index earlier this year; Provo had briefly taken it but slipped back to the number-two position. In the last five years, 65,600 private-sector jobs have been added in Austin, which represents an increase of 10.6%.

Another factor that’s positively impacting Austin’s real estate market is the rise in mortgage interest rates. Rates have already increased since last year. At their lowest, they dropped to 3.31% in November 2012. In May 2013, the average rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage skyrocketed to 4.51%. Many folks who were on the fence about buying are trying to avoid even higher rates by acting now.

Act Now for the Best Deals

In addition to the factors discussed above, new Austin homes are being built at a record pace, and this is increasing prices fairly quickly. A year ago, there was a 4.3-month inventory of single-family homes in the area. As of July 2013, the inventory had dropped to 2.8 months. If you’d like to buy a home in Austin, the time to act is now. If you need help navigating the available options, Buffington Homes can help.

Fall is just around the corner, and Austin’s event calendar is packed! The schedule includes music festivals, sporting events, and art shows. Austin will keep you active and entertained throughout the fall months as the weather starts to cool down.

Scheduled for November 8-10 is the annual Fun Fun Fun Fest to be held at Auditorium shores. The festival features not only music, but comedy, sports, food, and art as well.

Fall in Austin also means Texas Longhorns football! The team plays in Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium, one of just 10 sports stadiums in the world with a seating capacity of 100,000 or more. The facility is always filled to or very near capacity. Texas will play three games in Austin in the waning days of summer and three more once Sept. 22 comes and goes. The homecoming game versus Kansas is scheduled for Nov. 2, Oklahoma State pays a visit on Nov. 16, and a special Thanksgiving game will take place on Nov. 28 versus Texas Tech.

For those who want to attend some quieter events, don’t worry! We have some great ones for you! The Austin Film Festival & Conference is scheduled for Oct. 24-31, and the Texas Book Festival will take place on Oct. 26 and 27. The film festival was founded in 1993, and it focuses on writers’ creative contributions to film. Many free events are offered to the public. The book festival has taken place annually since 1996, and it promotes the joy of reading and honors Texan authors.

Austin’s endless events appeal to not only local Austinites but also potential homebuyers looking to call Austin their new home. If you’re undergoing an Austin home search, Buffington Homes can provide solutions.

austin homesImagine this: You go out to the mailbox and amongst the normal stack of bills and credit card offers, you find a letter from a complete stranger who is interested in buying your home. What makes this scenario really strange is the fact that your home isn’t for sale and you weren’t thinking about putting it on the market…

Supply vs. Demand

As the housing market continues to rapidly improve, many cities and towns are experiencing a mismatch of property supply and demand. While the number of potential homebuyers consistently increases, there are not enough homes to sell to them. This has led to a phenomenon known as “home stalking,” a real estate trend that involves directly contacting the owner of a home that is not for sale and expressing an interest in buying it.

In an article from NBC News, real estate broker Christine Parente explains that “a lot of buyers want to get into this market, but the inventory is just not there.” And surprisingly, agents are quite often asked to contact homeowners of “not-for-sale properties.” Forbes Magazine adds that the real estate industry is experiencing a 13-year low for housing inventory, driving the value of homes up and creating a “sellers market.” So, what does this mean for the buyers?

Well, for some, it means refusing to wait until that FOR SALE sign goes up in the front yard of a home they’re interested in. And while home stalking isn’t always fruitful, it presents homeowners with an interesting opportunity to sell their home for a decent profit, a seemingly impossible task only a few short years ago.

Local Opportunities

Although “home stalking” is a national trend, Austin homeowners should be prepared for a similar reality because of its own thriving real estate market. Ample employment opportunities, the reasonable cost of living and a blossoming art scene are just a few of the reasons that the city has become so appealing to property buyers and home builders.

As RealEstate.com reported, compared to this time last year, Austin homes are selling for $14.18 more per square foot and are on the market 21 days less, on average. And for the housing industry, these are big numbers that indicate we are headed in a positive direction. And quickly!

There’s Another Way

But for you potential homebuyers out there, there is an easier way to find a home you love. No “stalking” necessary! Luxury housing communities offer the best of both worlds, which includes the opportunity to buy or build. If you can’t find a move-in-ready home that is exactly what you’re looking for, you can create a perfect home that meets your needs. Plus, living in an established community offers the added benefits of quality home designs, proximity to good dining and entertainment and excellent customer care. If you are interested in purchasing a new home in Austin or the surrounding area, contact us at Buffington Homes today and let us help you find or build the home of your dreams.

Real Estate Receives Big Boost, Both Locally and NationwideIf you’ve been waiting for the right time to buy a home, now may be the perfect time to begin your search. Real estate is on an uphill climb with home prices on the rise and values continuing to increase. Not only is the national market improving, but our local real estate market is also doing particularly well. We are confident in what the future holds for Austin real estate.

The National Market

Let’s start by taking a look at the national real estate market. Because of the Federal Reserve’s bond-buying program, mortgages are staying low. The Reserve has also set an incredibly low interest rate on mortgages, so the conditions are set for continued growth in the housing sector. Of course, an increase in the interest rate and a decrease in bond buying will need to occur at some point, meaning that homebuyers may need to act quickly to benefit most from these policies.

Just consider the fact that real estate just experienced its best quarter since 2006, with home prices up 10.2% in March, when compared to the same time last year. There have also been fewer foreclosures and fewer homes available lately, indicating expectations for strength in the market.

Keep It Local

While the national market is improving, Austin is among the leaders of the pack. Job growth, an increased population, low interest rates and improvements in the rent market have combined to create excellent conditions for buying and selling homes. In fact, according to The Austin American-Statesman, April home sales were up 32% and home prices were up 8% in comparison with April of last year. In total, the Austin community spent a whopping 52% more on housing than they spent in April 2012.

In the Austin area, home prices have already returned to pre-recession levels. Most metropolitan areas are unable to boast this level of recovery. As new homebuilders add more homes to the market, the Austin housing market will finally reach a state of equilibrium between housing supply and demand. Equilibrium in the market will bring stability to the home price level, which will promote consistent growth.

By all indicators, now is the time to reinvest in the housing market, particularly in the Austin area. Whether you’re looking for a new home or are looking to invest, Buffington Homes has a potential property just for you.

Austin is an ideal place for young adults and entrepreneurs.

Photo Compliments of The City of Austin

The Austin Chamber of Commerce reports that the city’s population has exploded by an astounding 37% between 2000 and 2010. Approximately 7% of people currently living in the city were residents of a different metropolitan area just a year ago. So what’s attracting people to this booming area?

Austin for Young Adults

After you earn your degree, it’s time to enter the real world. It’s a scary place to be and millions of recent graduates are struggling to find a job that will allow them to move into the next phase of their life.

Fortunately, Austin has plenty of opportunities for young adults. The city has been ranked as the #1 major market in the United States and rapid employment growth is one of the biggest reasons for the top ranking. Job growth in the private sector of our Texas city has held steady at an average of 1.5% per year.

Young adults who are wondering where to go next should certainly put Austin high on their list of possibilities. Along with the abundant jobs available in the city, Austin is known for having an active night life that focuses heavily on music and the arts.

Austin for Entrepreneurs

That top ranking as a major market in the U.S. also bodes well for entrepreneurs. Anyone looking to start a new company can benefit from readily available talent, as University of Texas graduates continue to look for job opportunities and the growing population provides plenty of potential clients.

While entrepreneurs may be cautious about Austin because it is not typically known as a hub for big companies, plenty of well-known businesses have offices or headquarters in the city. Among these are Google, Apple, Facebook, Whole Foods and Dell.

One of the biggest benefits for young adults or entrepreneurs considering a move to Austin is the low cost of housing, as compared to other growing cities. The Statesman  reports that the median home cost in Austin in 2012 was $205,000. Compare that to the average of $750,000 in San Francisco and $1,055,000 in New York City. It’s no wonder that Austin is gaining popularity as an affordable city full of possibilities.

If you’re ready to succeed and have fun in one of the fastest growing cities in the U.S., let Buffington Homes be your resource for finding the perfect home in Austin. Conduct your home search by looking through our available move-in ready homes. If you’d rather have a house custom-built to your specifications, home building is an area of expertise here at Buffington. Contact us today!

Austin homes have hit a six-year-high in sales. Texas was named the top state in the nation for 2012 by Business Facilities. This esteemed title is the result of an economic upswing that places the state above the rest of the country. With this in mind, it is easy to see why Austin homes have hit a six-year-high in sales. Not only will new residents be able to enjoy everything that the Austin area has to offer, but they will also find it much easier to land a financially rewarding career.

Forbes recently announced that Austin is the fastest growing city in the country for the third year in a row. Austin ended 2012 with an unemployment rate that is almost 4 percent lower than the national average and the city expects to see an additional job growth rate of 2.7 percent during 2013. With job prospects like these, it is no wonder that new home builders are continuously busy in Austin. The city also provides a great opportunity for people who like to invest in real estate, due to its robust home appreciation rate of 2.74 percent.

If you are interested in living outside of Austin, the nearby city of Leander is expected to benefit from the planning, development and construction of 10,000 new homes during 2013. This area provides residents with all of the perks of living near a major city and the community is expected to experience a large population increase by 2019.

Schlitterbahn Waterparks and Resorts has been working with the Cedar Park City Council for three years to bring a new water park to the Austin area. Although the initial plans stalled after the developers left the project, the city and Schlitterbahn are still committed to moving forward. If these plans become a reality, residents of the Austin area will receive both a new source of entertainment and another boost to the area’s economy. After all, amusement parks have the tendency to attract tourists and this will create a ripple effect that will cause several of the local businesses to need additional employees. Even if the water park never comes to fruition, however, it is an example of the innovative thinking that has helped the Austin area become so successful. Therefore, it is a given that something positive will be done with the land that is currently earmarked for the water park.

Your Austin home search will provide you with many different options. The city and the surrounding areas have a wide variety of different neighborhoods to choose from and there’s also a solid mixture of previously owned homes and projects that have just been completed by new home builders. As a result, it’s possible to find Austin homes that will suit almost any price range and our professional team at Buffington Homes will be delighted to help you narrow down your options.

Westcreek - The Reserve: Buffington Homes' Newest SubdivisionDeveloped by Buffington Homes, one of the most respected homebuilders in Austin, Westcreek – The Reserve offers a splendid selection of affordable homes surrounded by a wealth of amenities.

Buffington’s newest community, Westcreek – The Reserve features lovely Austin-area homes that are visually attractive, energy-efficient, professionally designed and expertly constructed.

With floor plans starting at 1,384 square feet and ranging upward to well over 2,000 square feet, the homes at Westcreek – The Reserve offer buyers plenty of enticing components.

Interior features include ceramic tile at the entry, marble vanity tops in the master bath and laminate countertops in the kitchen. Each home also features a professionally landscaped yard.

Built on high-quality, post-tension reinforced slabs, the homes come with a 10-year structural warranty for buyers’ peace of mind.

Residents of Westcreek – The Reserve enjoy access to a community center that features a luxurious Junior Olympic-size swimming pool, a tennis court complex and a children’s play area.

Golf enthusiasts living in the community have extremely convenient access to Blackhawk Golf Club, with other courses such as Forest Creek, Star Ranch and Teravista nearby. The area also offers easy access to superb shopping and dining destinations.

Westcreek – The Reserve is located 13 miles northeast of downtown Austin just off of Kelly Lane, east of Toll Road 45/130, in Pflugerville, Texas. This makes it an ideal location for commuting to Austin for business or entertainment opportunities.

Named by Forbes magazine as one of the fastest growing suburban cities in the U.S. and honored by Money magazine with a place on the prestigious “Best Places to Live” list, Pflugerville combines a dynamic business and retail environment, unparalleled community spirit and a great family-oriented lifestyle.

Pflugerville is home to nearly 50,000 residents who appreciate the area’s excellent school district, its safe and friendly neighborhoods, its picturesque trail system and its wide selection of recreational activities. Pflugerville’s leaders are committed to the environment, with plans to develop the city’s Renewable Energy Business Park and the 720-acre Pflugerville Solar Farm.

young professionals and others are leaving the city behind in favor of suburban lifeWhen the new Millenium rolled around, there was a revival of urban life, dominated by young professionals moving into the big cities. However, those same young professionals and others are leaving the city behind in favor of suburban life.

Why Suburbia?

The previous influx of people into the cities sparked the construction of new housing, new attractions, and new city services. With all of this development, why are so many people now leaving the big city?

Many of the young people who flocked to the city are no longer young individuals. Instead, they are members of young families looking for safe and sturdy homes in which to raise children. Many families thrive in the big cities, but some families simply prefer a suburban setting.

Despite the development of new housing, living in the big city is rarely a small expense. Generally speaking, it is more expensive to buy or rent property in a large city setting.

Suburban Life is No Easy Choice

Despite the huge motivators of family and the cost of living, there are some huge considerations that can make leaving the city less attractive. Here are a few examples:

•    Commutes can be dreadful within the city, but trying to commute into the city can be dreadful. Additionally, public transportation options are usually less extensive in the suburbs.
•    Some utilities can be more expensive in a single-family home.
•    Depending on the particular city or suburb, the choice of schools might be more limited in the suburban area.
•    Like schools, access to some businesses and services can be more limited in the suburbs.

Some of the other concerns about suburban life are detailed in a post in the New York Times.

Is There a Compromise?

Is there a middle ground between big city life and a suburban home? Relatively young cities are catering to the need for a happy medium between the big city and the sturdy suburb. According to the U.S. Census statistics published at New Geography, Texas cities like Austin managed growth in the traditional city area and the suburbs. An Austin home search reveals many new communities that are outside the traditional limits, but within reach of many city-grade luxuries and the city itself. Many Austin home builders have recently focused their energies on the construction of homes within these communities.

Highpointe and Mesa Verde Situated in the Dripping Springs School District If you have been visiting homes in Austin, Texas, you probably have a number of things that are important to you. You may need a certain number of bedrooms or a large backyard. If you have children, you’re probably looking for a family-friendly neighborhood, within a stellar school system. While this may seem like a tall order, you can shorten your Austin home search by visiting the new homes at Highpointe and Mesa Verde. These are two new communities by Buffington Homes that are conveniently situated in the highly desirable Dripping Springs School District.

The Dripping Springs Independent School District is comprised of three elementary schools, one middle school and a high school and it serves nearly 5,000 students. Recently, all three elementary schools received exemplary ratings for academic achievement from the Texas Education Agency. The middle school and high school were similarly recognized. The district boasts a graduation rate of 99 percent and it is the only district in the surrounding area that was recognized by the College Board and awarded a spot on its Advanced Placement Honor Roll. With nearly 93 percent of its graduates going on to pursue higher education, the Dripping Springs High School was recognized by several publications as one of the top high schools in the United States. In fact, two of its students were National Merit Finalists in 2012. Additionally, most of the students are involved in sports, music, drama, art and other extracurricular activities. Also, students from all of the district’s schools have earned awards and recognition in several different areas.

One of the reasons that the Dripping Springs School District enjoys such a high success rate is that there is an incredibly high level of parental involvement in all of the schools. Parents who live in the beautiful areas of Highpointe and Mesa Verde take pride in their homes and communities and they want to ensure that their children receive the best possible education. Buffington Homes is proud to be one of the new home builders in the Dripping Springs School District.