Approximately five miles south of downtown Austin is an area locals are now referring to as St. Elmo. This area which has previously been referred to as East Congress encompasses the subdivisions of Greenwood Hills, Battle Bend and Colonial Trails. In recent years, Austinites have begun referring to this area as St. Elmo. The Yard at St. Elmo opened a few years ago- transforming a previously industrial space into a mixed use site with a variety of amenities including restaurants, a co-working space, and a fitness studio, as well as a distillery and brewery.
Additionally, the St. Elmo Public Market will open next year. The mixed use space will feature offices and retail as well as a large open indoor/outdoor market similar to the Chelsea Market in New York City.
With the commercial growth in this area, you would expect pricey homes. However, homes in the St. Elmo neighborhood are still relatively affordable. In the past year, homes in this area sold for approximately $315K on average. On average, these homes were 1,311 square feet, featuring 3 bedrooms and 2 baths, and were built in 1975.
Considering that the median price for a single family home in the City of Austin was right around $350K last month, the St. Elmo neighborhood is still relatively affordable. Many of these homes may need a bit of a face lift to bring them up to current design standards, but they also offer a great investment opportunity.
Developers of the Market at St. Elmo envision the space as becoming a must visit hot spot for locals and tourists alike. If the St. Elmo district explodes as expected, home prices will surely rise. Thinking about purchasing a home in Austin’s St. Elmo neighborhood? Click here to take a look at all St.Elmo homes currently for sale.
The July market report just released from the Austin Board of REALTORS® reveals a steady increase in sales volume and increasing prices across the greater Austin area. In both the City of Austin and the entire Austin-Round Rock MSA, median home sales price figures reached all-time highs last month. Within the city limits, the median single family home price rose to $390,000. In the greater Austin area, that figure reached $320,000.
According to Vaike O’Grady, Austin regional director for Metrostudy, “Housing construction is at an all-time high in Central Texas.” However, even with the steady influx of new homes, we’re still facing a major housing shortage in the Austin area. A balanced market shows a six month supply of housing inventory. I honestly can’t remember the last time we even came close to that amount. Last month, the housing inventory decreased to 2.1 months within the City of Austin.
The struggle to create more housing in Austin is similar to the fight against congestion on our highways. We add more lanes hoping to alleviate traffic and by the time the new lanes are completed the number of cars has increased so that the efforts are essentially futile. We build more homes, but then there are more buyers either moving to Austin or simply entering the market for the first time after renting.
As land prices become less and less affordable, so too do new homes. Coupled with cumbersome regulations and lengthy processes through an inundated city office it’s easy to see why new home supply continues to fall short of buyer demand.
In short, if you’ve been on the fence about selling your home, there’s no better time to sell than now. The universal rules of supply and demand show that sellers certainly still have the upper hand in Austin. Contact me today to see what your home is worth or click here for a free home value estimate.
Feeling discouraged as a prospective home buyer? Obviously, the market is tough for buyers right now. However, you must also consider that interest rates are rising with no signs of slowing down either. Your home purchasing power today is likely greater today than in it will be next month. Interest rates are up about one-half percent since last year. For every .5% percent increase in interest rate your purchasing power may be decreased by 4 to 5 percent (the percentage is smaller for lower loan amounts). Click here to view all homes for sale in the Austin area.
Just ten years ago, buyers had many more options when looking to invest $200 K in the Austin real estate market. The median sales price of residential homes in 2008 was only $192,000. You could buy a cute little Bouldin cottage, pretty much anything east of I35, or a modest sized home in Lakeway.
Today, options are far more limited. In my opinion, with a $200,000 budget in Austin you have four options: a condo, a home in the suburbs, a fixer-upper in a less desirable area or land.
If you’re thinking about putting that $200K into a condo, you’re in luck. There are quite a few condos available for that price today. Unfortunately, the majority of them are 1 bedroom units, and they average around 600-700 square feet.
Need a little more space? You will likely need to go farther out to find the right home. New construction neighborhoods in Buda and Kyle have three plus bedroom homes starting at under 200K. You can also find move-in ready homes at this price point in northern suburbs such as Round Rock, Hutto, Pfluggerville, and Leander. East of Austin in Manor, you can also find homes at this price point.
Considering going the fixer upper route? If you want to be as close to downtown as possible. Your search will likely occur mostly in the East Austin neighborhood of Montopolis. Approximately five miles from Downtown, you can’t find another pocket with this many homes for sale under 200K so close to the city’s center.
If you want to follow the wisdom of Mark Twain and buy land, you have a few options with a $200K budget in the Austin area. You could buy a tiny, postage stamp lot in Crestview or close-in East Austin. Or, you could have your money go a little further and get almost half an acre in Oak Hill. Take your money up north, and you can likely find an acre or more in someplace like Hutto or Liberty Hill.
Erika Rae Albert
Sharing my Austin real estate updates, home owner tips, & more.