There’s nothing better than being able to wake up in the morning and enjoy a cup of coffee while you look out at the lake and see the sun reflecting off the water. If this sounds like a little slice of heaven to you, you may be considering purchasing a home with a lake view. In Austin, there are two main lakes, Lake Austin and Lake Travis. I should mention that both “lakes” are really damned portions of the Colorado River. Regardless, us Austinites refer to them as lakes, and you can find wonderful homes with great views of the water near both of these lakes.
Lake Travis is much larger than Lake Austin. Lake Travis is about 25 square miles opposed to Lake Austin’s 2.5 square mile size. So, as you might imagine there are many more homes for sale with Lake Travis views than Lake Austin views.
The south shore of Lake Travis consists of neighborhoods such as Hudson Bend, Lakeway, and Spicewood. These communities are located about 20-30 miles west of downtown Austin in the the Lake Travis Independent School District (LTISD). According to niche.com, LTISD is rated the #2 school district in the Austin area.
The north shore of Lake Travis consists of neighborhoods such as Volente, Jonestown and Lago Vista. The north shore communities of Lake Travis are about 20-40 miles from downtown Austin. However, in my opinion, it seems it usually takes longer to get to these neighborhoods from downtown than it does to get to the south shore communities.
Homes with lake view on Lake Austin, can similarly be categorized as homes on the south side of the lake verse homes on the north side of the lake. However, closer to downtown they are often categorized as west of the lake or east of the lake. Residents of neighborhoods like West Lake Hills (west of Lake Austin, duh) and Tarrytown (east of Lake Austin) can usually get to downtown in less than 20 minutes. Further out, you can find homes with lake views in neighborhoods such as Cuernevaca, Lake Pointe, and Apache Shores (all south of the lake). On the north side of Lake Austin you can find homes with lake views in Steiner Ranch, River Point, and Cat Mountain.
If you’re thinking about purchasing a home in the Austin area with a lake view, feel free to contact me for insider information on the best neighborhoods for your specific needs.
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.
Sunset Valley is a small independent city surrounded by Austin. It is located about 15 minutes southwest of downtown Austin near the intersection of Hwy 290 and Mopac. Sunset Valley is probably best known for its large shopping centers with a variety of big box retailers such as Home Depot, Home Goods, TJ Maxx, Academy Sports and Outdoors, Nordstrom Rack, Old Navy and many others. However, this small city also has some of the most beautiful tree lined residential streets.
Sunset Valley was founded in 1954, and the entire city measures just one square mile. According to the 2016 Census, Sunset Valley has a population of 696 residents. There are only about 150 residences in the City of Sunset Valley. Homes in Sunset Valley tend to be on larger lots, and residents of Sunset Valley enjoy an extremely low property tax rate of just under 1.8%. Much of Sunset Valley is dedicated conservation land; Williamson Creek runs through Sunset Valley, and a handful of residential lots are partially located in the floodplain.
In 2017, there were only 8 residential sales in the City of Sunset Valley. The following trends are based on these sales.
Average Home Size: 4 bedrooms, 3 baths (2,940 square feet)
Average Lot Size: .956 Acres
Average Year Built: 1983
Average Days on Market: 39
Median Home Sales Price: $665,950
If you are interested in purchasing a home in Sunset Valley, you can click here to view all available homes for sale in Sunset Valley.
At the site of the old Cinemark movie theatre in Westlake Hills, across the street from the Barton Creek Mall, The Walsh community has recently sprouted. The Walsh, aptly named for its location off Walsh Tarlton Lane, is a new home community of 55 townhome style residences in Eanes ISD.
The modern style luxury residences start in the 600s, and all share a similar minimalistic Scandinavian inspired design with an emphasis on geometric details. Inside, you will find finish-outs in line with a luxury product: wide plank oak floors, stainless steel Bosh appliances, oak cabinets, marble, quartz, or honed stone countertops just to name a few.
There are eight different floorplans at The Walsh, with homes ranging from 1,961-2,881 square feet. All floorplans have a garage; the larger floor plans have two car garages while the smaller floorplans only have one. The smallest floor plan at The Walsh, The Nils, has 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, a one car garage, and a small patio. The first floor is an open floor plan with dining, living and kitchen (something you will find in all units at The Walsh). Upstairs you will find the master, two additional bedrooms and a second living room/bonus space dubbed “the landing”.
In comparison, the largest model, The Brit, has three levels, 4 bedrooms and 4.5 baths. On the bottom floor of The Brit, you will find the two car garage, one bedroom, a full bath, and storage space. The Brit also features an elevator that takes you to the second and third floors. The second floor has the master, kitchen, living and dining spaces, and a patio. On the top level, there are two additional bedrooms, another patio, and a large game room.
The Walsh is located in the acclaimed Eanes Independent School District. Residences at The Walsh feed to Cedar Creek Elementary, Hill Country Middle School, and Westlake High School. All three schools are less than a five-minute drive from The Walsh. As I mentioned earlier, The Walsh is also conveniently located across the street from the Barton Creek Mall. Here you will find all your big name department stores, including Nordstrom’s, a variety of dining options, and a movie theater.
If you’re looking for a new home in Austin, and like the idea of a low-maintenance new construction home in south west Austin, I encourage you to take a look at The Walsh for yourself. You can view more information on The Walsh website, or contact me today to see it in person.
Between South Congress and I-35, a new community is beginning to come to life. PSW’s North Bluff community consists of 66 free-standing condos. The units range from 1,268-1,675 square feet and start at $295,000. There are seven different home types; however, they all share some great features.
All of the homes at North Bluff feature super high ceilings that amplify the open floor plan living, kitchen and dining spaces. Stainless steel appliances, gas ranges, and engineered quartz counters come standard in the homes, and there is no carpet in the entire community. First floors feature stained concrete, and upstairs there is laminate wood-look flooring.
These homes are cosmetically appealing, and they also feature a slew of green features. Low VOC paint and compact fluorescent lights are found throughout the home. High performance insulation is present at the roof and exterior walls. EPA watersense plumbing fixtures and dual flush toilets are installed in the baths, and each unit has a solar photovoltaic panel system. These are just a sample of all of the green features found in the North Bluff community.
The community features walking trails, and community green space as well. Keeping with the sustainable theme, the green space features native landscaping. HOA fees are reasonable for the area at $450/quarter. Plus, with all of the green features, your utility costs are likely to be minimal. North Bluff is being built in two phases, and Phase 1 homes are almost complete if you’re looking for an immediate move.
If you’re interested in learning more about South Austin’s North Bluff, contact me today. Alternatively, you can check out PSW’s website with up-to date info on pricing and availability.
Are you the type of person that thinks if you own your property you should be able to do whatever you please with it? If you want to build a fence, paint your door pink, or park an RV on your land, you should be able to do as you please. If so, you may be feeling constricted by all of the regulations so prevalent in most Austin communities. Well, you’re in luck. There are some areas in Austin that are a bit more liberal when it comes to building use and regulations. Consider one of these two west Austin neighborhoods where just about anything goes.
Both of these communities are located in the City of Austin ETJ, border Lake Austin and feed to exemplary schools. Cuernavaca is located off Bee Cave Rd. in EANES ISD, and Apache Shores is located off FM 620 in Lake Travis ISD. In each of these communities you will find immaculate million dollar homes as well as mobile homes.
Apache Shores actually has a POA that oversees the approved uses for any given lot. Even with these restraints, Apache Shore’s regulations are some of the most lenient in the area. The section of Apache Shores your property is located in determines what you can and cannot do on your lot. Reviewing the POA’s governing docs and deed restrictions for a particular lot is a prudent move if you are planning to purchase in Apache Shores.
Cuernavaca has a voluntary HOA. Membership in Cuernavaca’s Lake Hills Community Association grants members access to the community pool and lakeside park. However, the HOA has no governance over residential land use within Cuernavaca. There are some communities within Cuernavaca with extensive deed restrictions, but overall the community has minimal deed restrictions on most tracts. If you’re looking for a great place to put your tiny home that’s close to the lake and the city, there are lots in Cuernavaca that permit you to do so.
While both of these communities have some of the most lenient residential land use regulations; ultimately, you will need to inspect the individual deed restrictions associated with the lot in order to assess if you can do what you want on the lot. Additionally, with less regulation generally comes less public services. While both of these communities have electricity, they do not have city water service. A septic system is required for properties in both of these communities, and a MUD provides potable water services for both Cuernavaca and Apache Shores.
If you’re looking to do something a little outside of the ordinary on your next property, you may want to consider Austin’s wild west communities of Apache Shores or Cuernavaca. Depending on your specific needs, these communities may not be the best fit. An educated real estate professional such as myself can guide you through the intricacies of zoning, deed restrictions, and municipal regulations. Contact me today to simplify the process.
I was recently chatting with a friend and she mentioned how it was odd that Austinites often refer to their neighborhood by zip code. This is often the case when talking about Austin’s 78704 zip code. You will frequently here people say they live in the ’04. Alternatively, one might mention living off of one of the zip’s major roads such as “I live off of South Congress.”
The 78704 zip code is home to the SoCo Strip, Zilker Park, St. Edwards University, and the legendary Broken Spoke, among other attractions. The 78704 zip code of Austin is bordered by the Barton Creek Greenbelt on the west, Town Lake aka Lady Bird Lake on the North, I-35 on the east and Ben White/290 is the southern boundary. Residents are attracted to this area of Austin due to its easy access to downtown as well as numerous green spaces and a plethora of fun shops and restaurants.
There are a number of neighborhoods that make up the 78704 zip code of Austin. For today’s purposes, I am focusing on the two neighborhoods located west of South Lamar, Barton Hills and Zilker. Between South Lamar and I-35 there are a number of other 78704 neighborhoods such as: Bouldin, South Lamar, Dawson, Galindo, Travis Heights, South Congress, and the St. Edward’s neighborhood.
The Barton Hills neighborhood is located south east of the Barton Creek Greenbelt, and north west of South Lamar. As you might imagine, this area is hilly. Here you will find a diverse array of housing styles; bungalow style homes built in the 50s can often be seen adjacent to newly built, uber modern homes. Barton Hills has a highly rated elementary school, and this factor combined with its convenient location attracts a number of young families to the Barton Hills Area. The Barton Hills Neighborhood is almost entirely residential; however, there are ample options for shopping and dining along South Lamar.
The Zilker neighborhood of 78704 is located northwest of Barton Hills. As you might imagine, it is also located next to Zilker Park. Barton Springs Road runs through this neighborhood and is home to a number of popular Austin restaurants such as Chuy’s, Shady Grove, Baby A’s, Austin Java Co, and a large food truck park. In recent years, a number of new condo developments have sprouted up along the north side of Barton Springs Road. South of Barton Springs Road, there are a mostly single family homes as well as a handful of multi-family properties. Historically, homes in Zilker tended to be a bit smaller than in Barton Hills. However, as is the case in Barton Hills, you are similarly seeing a number of Zilker homes being torn down and replaced with new construction homes.
If you’re considering moving to South Austin, 78704 really is a great place to call home. You can view all homes and condos for sale in the 78704 zip here. If you’re curious about other neighborhoods of Austin’s 78704 zip code or just have general questions about Austin life, feel free to contact me today.
The Homestead neighborhood is located in the City of Bee Cave, approximately 20 minutes west of Austin. As you drive into the neighborhood you are greeted with serene scenes of the hill country. The homestead allows horses, and trails meander through this picturesque neighborhood. While it once was a fairly rural neighborhood, recent commercial developments are now just minutes away. You enter The Homestead off of Highway. 71 at Great Divide Drive. This intersection is approximately one mile from the intersection of Highway 71 and FM 620 which leads to Lakeway.
Just past the intersection of Highway 71 and FM 620 are two large shopping centers, the Galleria and the Shops of the Galleria. The Shops of the Galleria were built first along the southern side of Highway 71 adjacent to the old site of The Backyard, Austin’s beloved outdoor amphitheater. The Shops of the Galleria is home to numerous big box stores such as Best Buy, Lowes, Old Navy, Ulta, Michael’s, Home Goods, and a number of smaller shops and restaurants. On the other side of the highway, you will find the Hill Country Galleria. The Galleria features an open air shopping center with a number of local retailers and restaurants as well as familiar chains such as Dillard’s, H&M, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Victoria’s Secret, Whole Foods, and Panera.
As you might imagine, this abundant supply of retail options is incredibly convenient for residents of The Homestead. Interestingly, once you are winding down Great Divide, where it’s not uncommon to see a neighbor trotting along on horseback, it’s hard to believe that so many modern conveniences are located so close.
There are a few hundred homes in The Homestead with lots ranging from 1-8+ acres. Many of the properties have unbelievable views of the Hill Country and a large percentage of properties have pools. The architecture style varies significantly throughout The Homestead. You will find Tuscan style homes, juxtaposed to single story ranch homes; you will find farm house style homes and an increasing number of modern homes as well. Homes also vary in age; there are homes built in the 70s and new construction houses.
There is no formal HOA for The Homestead. Residents do have an informal list serve that is used for neighborhood announcements, and informal events such as the annual chili cook off bring residents together. The Homestead is located in Lake Travis Independent School District (LTISD). LTISD is known for being one of the best-performing school districts in Austin. Houses in The Homestead feed to Bee Cave Elementary, Lake Travis Middle School, and Lake Travis High School.
If you are looking for a private, peaceful neighborhood that is minutes from modern amenities you may want to consider looking at properties for sale in The Homestead.
Are you considering buying a home in Westlake? If you are looking at houses for sale in Westlake, it is important to understand the Westlake housing market. Most people refer to Westlake as all of the homes that feed to Westlake High School. In fact, there are many mini-neighborhoods that make up the greater Westlake area.
Houses in the Westlake area tend to be some of the most expensive houses for sale in the Austin area. This is primarily due to the fact that houses for sale in Westlake allow access to one of the best school districts in Austin, EANES ISD. If you have kids and are looking for houses for sale in Westlake, it is important to know which areas feed to which middle schools. There are two middle schools that feed to Westlake High School, Hill Country Middle School and Westridge Middle School. Homes that are located east of Loop 360 are in the MLS area 8E and these Westlake houses feed to Hill Country. Houses west of Loop 360 are in the MLS area 8W and these homes feed to Westridge.
This is important to know. If you are looking at homes for sale in Westlake Hills, you will find many affordable options in the Lost Creek neighborhood. This neighborhood is way closer to Hill Country Middle School, but houses in Lost Creek feed to Westridge Middle School. This means if you have younger kiddos and buy a house in Lost Creek or the Woods of Westlake, they will have a much longer commute during their middle school years.
Westlake houses for sale in the 8E area tend to be a bit pricier than those in 8W since these houses are also closer to downtown Austin. In 2016, houses for sale in the 8E area of Westlake had a median sales price of $1,031,750. Conversely, homes for sale in 8W sold for a median price of $725,000 in 2016. When you are considering buying a home in Westlake it is important to understand these intricacies of the Westlake area. You also want to look at the tax rate in different neighborhoods as these can vary substantially.
Take a look at this post on tax rates in the Austin area if you are looking at houses for sale in Westlake.
Still wondering where the best house in Westlake for your family is located? Give me a call today and we can discuss your exact needs and identify the best house for sale in Westlake for you and your family. Ready to start looking at houses for sale in Westlake, click here to view homes for sale in Westlake's 78746 zip code.
Austin based developer, Capsa Ventures, is creating a buzz in Austin surrounding the group’s latest venture in Austin’s incredibly popular East side neighborhood. The development, coined Fourth &, by Capsa Venture’s CEO, Rance Clouse, is named after the idea of endless possibilities. Rightfully so, the project is full of green features, technical building advancements and resident amenities (resort-style pool, club room, conference room, a lobby, key fob access, movie lounge, a dog wash and more). Situated within walking distance to popular eateries and bars such as Counter Café, Whislers, Chicon, The Grackle, Yellow Jacket, and many others, the project is being built to complement its surroundings.
The mixed use development includes residential units ranging from 510 sqft. micro lofts (efficiencies) to 1464 sqft., 2 story town home style units called urban walk-ups. Additionally, the ground level includes 42,000 feet of commercial space (for sale) so local businesses can own the space they work from.
While these amenities are sure to entice, the coolest features of this development are not apparent from an initial glance. The exterior of the building is built with a Syntheon Accel-E thermal panel wall system made from recycled steel. The panel system boasts 4.5 inches of foam that creates a thermal envelope that is virtually unbroken on the entire exterior. The interior is framed with light gauge steel and there is virtually no wood throughout the project. Solar panels line the roofs, LED lights are omnipresent, and the building uses variable speed air conditioning systems so you don't waste energy in heating or cooling your unit.
They are currently on track for an estimated completion date of late summer 2017, and are accepting reservations now. For more information on pricing for individual units, and commercial spaces, email me.
Erika Rae Albert
Sharing my Austin real estate updates, home owner tips, & more.