Home Buying in Austin>Question Details

hameed, Home Buyer in Houston, TX

Considering moving to Austin

Asked by hameed, Houston, TX Sun Feb 23, 2014

I've been looking at houses in Austin (kind of "cart before the horse" so to speak) and have noticed somethings that don't make sense to me. Just started looking for a job there - I'm an IT Project Manager.

1. Many times I see homes drop in price. This defies logic for me considering that Austin is rated very high right now for one of the best places to work and live in the US. Logic says that if anything, prices of house should be going up and not down. I have a bunch of "agents" set up on Trulia.com and Zillow.com to send me listings of homes in Austin in the price range - $450K to $600K and typically "save" a bunch as favorites, and that's why I've noticed the drop in prices of a lot of them over time.

2. I've noticed an (unusual for me anyway) interesting thing about homes in Austin - many times the listing says the home is in a gated community and was wondering why that is a "selling" feature of any house (other than the obvious increased perceived security). Is there

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Hello Hameed,

Your questions are typical of the many that people contemplating moving to a new area have.

As far as "gated community", that's more common in the price range you're interested in that it would be in the homes in the median price range (around 250-275K) when you consider the entire area. Most of those are in the more recent construction areas (since mid 90s) and I'm sure that it was part of the marketing considerations of the builders to add a sense of exclusivity to their new subdivision.

As far a pricing goes, you'll see that a little more frequently in a hot market like ours, just as you will in a depressed market. It's a little more common on the extreme ends of the bell curves. When sellers perceive a hot market (we are truly in a seller's market) they often insist on a price that is too high for the actual market and Realtors will list it at that price, rather than the one they think is the true market price, to secure the listing with the understanding that the seller will reduce the price if it hasn't sold within a short specified time. Sellers often have an attitude best reflected in "you can always come down, but you can't go up" and perhaps, they think they'll get lucky. Bottom line, homes priced properly for the market are going in less than two weeks around Austin and the only ones that don't are over priced. Either due to the poor condition of the home, some undesirable quality of it, or just flat out over priced.

In any event, your agent should be able to look at the market and a home and give you a reasonable expectation as to correct price. Trulia and Zillow claim a lot about that, but they are simply unable to give accurate estimates of pricing in Texas. Texas is a closed record state and the sale of homes is not in the public record so Zillow, Trulia and others of their ilk are just GUESSING! Not the smartest way to look into purchasing a home.

If you would like to discuss our market and gain a better understanding of it and Austin in general, please contact me by phone or E-mail and we can begin an honest discussion of Austin and the surrounding area that will satisfy your curiosity.

Ron Cullinan
Realtor, GRI, ABR, CRS, e-Pro, CLHMS
Avalar Austin
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 23, 2014
Hi Hameed,

To add to something Roland said - You can get access to actual sold pricing data here in austin. All you need is an account with Redfin.com. As a RedFin user, you will have access to ACTRIS data, and thus actual sales prices. This information can be very interesting and useful.

0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 27, 2014
I think you received a very accurate and concise answer from Ronald Cullinan. I would like to one other thing to that. Homes that are in the $450,000-600,000 tend to have a fewer pool of buyers than homes that are in the 300s. Since there are less people that are qualified to buy these homes, the sit on the market longer and will frequently see price decreases as a result.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 24, 2014
Thanks that makes sense.
Flag Mon Feb 24, 2014
Is there a lot of crime in Austin - I guess that is a very general question as I'm not being specific about any area in particular.

I live in Ontario, Canada (very close to Toronto) and its considered very safe where I live, that's why I'm asking this strange question.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 23, 2014
Comparable to other cities of this size, no. Austin has a relatively low crime rate.
Flag Mon Feb 24, 2014
For a major city the size of Austin, generally speaking, no. There are certain parts of town that tend to attract more crime than other areas, but the general city is consistently ranked as safe. For more information, please visit http://www.austintexas.gov/GIS/crimeviewer/CrimeReportSearch.html
Flag Mon Feb 24, 2014
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