Friday, March 21, 2014

March 2014 Austin Real Estate Mortgage Update

I have clients ask me all the time, "What do you think will happen to interest rates this year?" It is sometimes a complex question to answer, but smarter people than me seem to be aligned in the answer that rates are heading up and to the right as we speak. This article was written by John Schutze, Senior Loan Officer at Supreme Lending. Please read it and take John's words to heart. What we have known about rates during the past few years seems to be coming to a screeching halt--don't let it catch you unaware. tT

"A short comment by Janet Yellen, Chair of the Federal Reserve, caught investors off guard on Wednesday, and the reaction was not good for mortgage rates. In addition, a reduction in tensions in Ukraine caused investors to return to riskier assets, hurting safer assets such as mortgage-backed securities (MBS). As a result, mortgage rates ended the week higher.

Rates (with 1 discount point or less)
  • 30 Year Conven.    ......4.5%
  • 15 Year Conven.      ....3.5%
  • 5 Year ARM             .....3.125%
  • FHA – 30 yr            ......4.25%
  • VA – 30 yr             ........4.25%
  • USDA – 30 yr          .....4.25%
  • Jumbo 30 yr           .....4.5%
  • Jumbo 5 yr ARM  .......3.25%
As widely expected, the Fed scaled back its bond purchases by $10 billion to $55 billion per month. According to Yellen, if the Fed's economic outlook does not change significantly, the bond purchases are expected to end in the fall of this year. Fed officials have long maintained that they expect that the fed funds rate, the Fed's primary tool for monetary stimulus, will remain near zero for a "considerable period" of time following the end of the Fed's bond purchases. The big surprise came during Yellen's first press conference as Fed Chair, when she defined the meaning of a "considerable period" as about six months. This would place the first fed funds rate hike in the spring of next year. Before Yellen's comments, the market consensus was for the first rate hike to take place near the end of next year. While mortgage rates are not directly tied to the fed funds rate, the economic strength implied by the expected timing of the first fed funds rate hike was unfavorable for bonds of all maturities.

Most economists expect 30 yr rates to reach 5.0-5.25% as we reach the end of the Fed’s bond purchases later this year. The added threat to increase that the Fed Funds rate makes 5.25%-5.75% a possibility."

John Schutze is one of the Senior Loan Officers at Supreme Lending in Austin. You can contact John through one of his many online sites, including

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Austin Real Estate Feb. 2014 YTD Market Update

This is not your father's real estate market. If you are in the market to buy or sell this spring--you should read this article.

1 in 4 homes that have sold this year have gone under contract in 4 days or less on the market. Many of these homes sold in less than 24 hours. As a Buyer's Agent and as a Listing Agent, I have witnessed the beginnings of a tornadic real estate season ahead. I have written 10 contract this year already, but I have written twice that many offers. Offers over list price and I have listed homes that have sold for well above the listing price already this year. I have seen my listings getting dozens of showings during the first 36 hours on the market and up to 9 offers per home! Substantial offers.

The Austin market in 2014 is going to be a hard one for buyers to comprehend and just as challenging for sellers to price at the right market price without leaving money on the table or pricing their home too high and have buyers walk away without making an offer. I have already seen some sellers take bad advice on the listing price of staging of their home and they have seen their house languish on the market for months. In a seller's market, that should almost never happen--but it does. Unfortunately, this happens in fast markets and in slow markets. Sellers, make sure you are getting good advice. Read the data. Ask questions. Understand why your house is worth what you are being told it is worth. Don't let your listing languish on the market.

Now to the numbers:

So, here are the numbers for Jan. & Feb 2014 for the Greater Austin Area:

  • Homes sold/closed during Feb 2014: 3,410
  • Homes sold/closed during Feb 2013:  3,329
  • Currently pending homes: 3,711
  • Over 7000 contracts in 2.5 months!
  • 2014 is already passing the record numbers of 2013 and as of 3/18 there are more houses under contract to close than have already closed!
  • Median Price per square foot, Jan 2014: $117 psf
  • Median Days on Market (DOM): 29 days
  • Inventory remains extremely low in most communities
  • Days on market (DOM) in many communities is just a few days on market
  • Price is going up and DOM is going down--YTD
Q: How fast are houses really selling in Greater Austin? 
A: 26.5% of homes this year have sold in under 4 days on the market!  Many of these homes sold on the first day on the market.

Let's look at what happened in the first two months of 2014 in various parts of Austin, Single Family Homes only:
  •  Austin addresses, including ETJ: 1622 homes sold
    • Median price: $268k
    • Median DOM: 21 days
    • Median size: 1738 sf
  • Cedar Park: 166 homes sold
    • Median price: $230k
    • Median DOM: 12 days
    • Median size: 2236 sf
  • Round Rock: 284 homes sold
    • Median price: 193k
    • Median DOM: 25 days
    • Median size: 2074 sf
  • Steiner Ranch, River Place, Westminster Glen and Vandegrift High: 57 homes sold
    • Median price: $427k
    • Median DOM: 43 days
    • Median size: 3075 sf
  • McNeil High School communities, including Avery Ranch: 80 homes sold
    • Median price: $249k
    • Median DOM: 9 days
    • Median size: 2052 sf
  • Westwood High communities in NW Austin: 62 homes sold
    • Median price: $301k
    • Median DOM: 5 days
    • Median size: 2114 sf
  • Eanes Westlake High communities in West Austin: 63 homes sold
    • Median price: $850k
    • Median DOM: 38 days
    • Median size: 3300 sf
  • Bowie High communities in SW Austin: 114 homes sold
    • Median price: $326k
    • Median DOM: 24 days
    • Median size: 2389 sf
  • Lake Travis High communities: 148 homes
    • Median price: $370k
    • Median DOM: 55 days
    • Median size: 2566 sf
  • $MM Luxury Market over $1M: 50 homes sold
    • Median price: $1.287M
    • Median DOM: 66 days
    • Median size: 4298 sf
    • Most expensive home sold: $3.77M in Westlake
  • Only Condo/Townhouse Market in Greater Austin: 401 units sold
    • Median price: $209k
    • Median DOM:  23 days
    • Median size: 1280 sf

Your Bonafide Austin Area Realtor®.

Tim Thornton
® , Zip Realty, inc.Austin, Texas
(512) 914-4665


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

SXSW Begins Today!

It all starts today! SXSW officially takes control of the city today and celebrities live among us. 

If you are going downtown to partake, go early and expect delays. Take the train, for goodness sakes. Avoid the traffic and hassle of finding parking. And if you are not wanting to be a part of the crowds and scene of SXSW--avoid downtown on all sides. 

For those of you/us who can not avoid downtown because you are looking at houses this week, take emergency food, water and blankets--just in case!

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