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May saw the highest number of home sales ever in the Austin-Round Rock region. $1.2 billion in total, Austin Culturemap reports.
The Austin Board of Realtors found that sales of single family homes in the Austin area were up 9 percent over a year ago and the median home price was up to $310,000. This is the first time this year that home sales exceeded $1 billion and points to a busy selling season this summer as well.
In the city proper, home sales increased nearly 10 percent over a year ago and the median price was up 9 percent to $380,000. The median price for 2016 was $340,000.
The Austin Board of Realtors expects home prices to continue to climb. Although housing is being added, it’s in the higher echelons, not at entry prices. Most first-time homebuyers need to look to the suburbs in Hays (median price $262,250) or Williamson (median price $284,375) counties to find more affordable homes.
Land originally purchased by Travis County to be the site of a new courthouse will instead become a private development, the Austin Monitor reports.
Located at 308 Guadalupe Street, the land was bought for $21.8 million in 2010 as a new site for the Travis County Courthouse. After voters in 2015 didn’t pass a bond that would have funded construction, the county began looking for a developer.
The Travis County Commissioners Court are voting today on whether a deal with Lincoln Property Company and Phoenix Property Company should go forward. The companies will lease the land for 99 years for a total of $430 million.
The spot is not subject to Capitol Corridor View Restrictions and will be home to a large development that includes residential, office, retail, and parking.
Travis County still hopes to find another site to replace the current 86 year old courthouse.
Home inventory in the rest of the U.S. may be down, but not in Austin, Culturemap Austin reports.
According to a report by Zillow, Austin has 24 percent more houses for sale than last year, the highest in the nation.
In the rest of the country, home inventory is down 9 percent. Experts blame investors who are more likely to purchase a home and turn it into a rental than to sell it. Even though Austin has had a 64 percent increase in its rental stock, it’s still seeing increased inventory in the housing stock for sale.
Nationally, houses were for sale for 77 days before being bought. In Austin, it was 92 days. Nationally, the median home price increased 7.4 percent, while in Austin it went up 7.5 percent to $271,000, per Zillow’s figures.
Across the rest of the state, Dallas’ home values increased 11.2 percent, which was the second highest in the nation. Houses for sale increased 8.3 percent and rentals went up 66 percent. Houston saw its houses for sale go up by 9 percent and houses for rent increase by 59 percent. Houston’s home values were down, though, by 2.7 percent. San Antonio did see lower inventory, but just barely, at .9 percent. Home values increased just 5.7 percent and rentals grew by 38.8 percent.
A historic Central Austin property is going to be transformed into a high-end hotel, the Austin American Statesman reports.
The 10 acre space is called the Commodore Perry Estate and is at 41st and Red River streets. It will become a 53 room boutique hotel from Auberge Resorts Collection.
Construction will start at the beginning of next year and is expected to be complete by the middle of the following year.
The 1920’s mansion that is currently on the property is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and will house four of the hotel’s rooms. The other rooms will be in a new building that will be built elsewhere on the property and will have two stores.
The hotel will also have event space and a restaurant with dishes made from locally sourced ingredients, some grown on the premises.
Two other buildings on the grounds are in bad shape according to the developer and will have to be torn down.
In the next phase, there are plans to add luxury residences that will have access to the same amenities as hotel guests.
Flooring Services Southwest, Inc. is breaking ground on a new huge facility in Pflugerville, the Austin Business Journal reports.
The company currently has two operations in Austin, one on Long Vista Drive and one on Metric Boulevard. Those will be closed and consolidated at 130 Commerce Center into a facility on a 130 acre tract.
Construction will be completed in two phases. Phase one will be building a facility with offices, a large warehouse and a design gallery and will encompass 187,000 square feet. It should be finished by summer of next year. The second phase is a countertop fabrication facility that will be 73,000 square feet.
The company will employ 200 people in its $20 million facility.
CodeNext, the city building code rewrite that was recently released, was put to the test recently by a group of architects, city planners, developers and more. Their findings were disappointing, the Austin Business Journal reports.
The attendees were broken into smaller groups and tasked with determining how a section of the code could be used to create new projects. The group that looked at zoning in the downtown core found that the new code substantially limited high rises downtown and many recent projects couldn’t even be constructed under the new guidelines.
A group looking at mixed-use zoning in neighborhoods discovered that many uses wouldn’t be possible because of required parking minimums. Many lots were too small to accommodate uses like restaurants and provide enough spaces for diners’ cars.
While that problem could be solved by combining adjoining lots, attendees said that solution shouldn’t be relied upon, since it may not be a possibility in every situation.
Even the group working on the Highland Mall redevelopment, which is being touted as a transit-oriented and mixed use development, found that many uses wouldn’t work without significant redesigns.
Mayor Steve Adler stressed that the code was a work in progress and said that finding problems and flaws were great opportunities to correct and tweak the code.
The land is owned by the National Episcopal Church and plans include a 70,000 square foot archives center for the church, as well as office, retail, residential, and restaurant space. The project would be about 30 stories.
A hotel could also be part of the project. The spokesman for the National Episcopal Church says financial details will be released in the next three months about the project. He also says they are undeterred by the presence of the homeless shelter next door.
The development will need additional approval from City Council, and if approved, is expected to break ground early next year.
Round Rock City Planners want to make the city a more “dynamic place to live” and hope that offering a variety of housing options will go a long way towards making that a reality.
The Depot Townhomes are set to built at South Burnet Street and East Bagdad Avenue, which used to be occupied by Gypsum Builders Supply. The city bought the land from Gypsum when the company relocated and will sell the land to InTown Homes for $425,000.
The company expects to spend $18 million to construct 82 townhomes on the land, which is currently zoned mixed-use. The developers would also like to construct some live-work spaces so residents can run businesses from their residences. The rules in place with the city state that each unit has to be at least 15 feet wide and have two or more parking spaces.
City Council will review the deal at its April 25th meeting and if it is approved as expected, the sale and redevelopment deal will go forward.
Congress Avenue could be getting a makeover soon, the Austin Monitor reports.
The city wants to redesign Congress Avenue between the Capitol and Riverside Drive. The project already has the necessary funds for designing the project thanks to a mobility bond Austinites approved almost five years ago, however construction would most likely need another bond to be passed. Austin and the nonprofit Downtown Austin Alliance are working together to put together the plan.
Another goal for the plan is to improve access for mobility impaired Austinites and visitors. Currently Congress Avenue doesn’t comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act and has lots of trip hazards, non-compliant ramps, and more that make it difficult for people to get around.
If you have an opinion on what should be done, you can give the city your feedback through an online survey and there will also be a public meeting in May. The final report is to be released next year.
Around the country, the number of homes for sale is down from this time last year, except in Texas where there are more houses on the market than there were a year ago, Culturemap reports.
According to Zillow, in the US as a whole, there’s 3 percent less inventory and home prices have increased 6.9 percent over this time last year. In fact, home values hit their highest point since June 2007.
Austin had the biggest increase in inventory, with 24 percent more homes for sale now than a year ago. Home prices track pretty closely to those nationally, 7 percent. San Antonio’s housing prices went up 6 percent and their inventory is up 16.4 percent.
The Dallas-Fort Worth area saw their inventory increase by 4.1 percent and prices go up 11.1 percent, which is the third highest increase in the nation, behind Seattle, Washington and Tampa, Florida.
Houston has 3.1 percent more homes on the market and the price has increased just 4.5 percent.