New-Home Sales Reach 2-Year High

Sales of newly built homes climbed to the highest level in two years, driven by limited supply of previously owned homes and record-low mortgage rates.

New single-family homes sold at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 369,000 in May, up 7.6% from April and nearly 20% from a year earlier, the Commerce Department said Monday.

Read the full article at the Wall Street Journal

Economists Expect 2013 Home Price Rebound

Homeownership rate expected to drop in next five years


After experiencing a slight dip this year, home prices will see modest increases starting in 2013 and through 2016, according to a quarterly survey of more than 100 economists, real estate experts and investment strategists.

The survey, conducted by research and consulting firm Pulsenomics LLC on behalf of real estate search and valuation portal Zillow between May 31-June 14, 2012, asked 114 participants to project the path of the S&P/Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index over the next five years.

When last published May 29, the index showed that national home prices in the first quarter hit a record low, declining 1.9 percent from first-quarter 2011. Prices were down 35.1 percent from their second-quarter 2006 peak, to levels last seen in mid-2002.

Read the full article at Inman News


Summer Update - Monday, July 21, 2008
By Kenn Renner


With the summer season half over – we are experiencing an unusual market in the Austin area. While some areas are selling quickly other segments of the market are experiencing longer selling times and in some cases very little activity. The lower end price range is still very robust with first time homebuyers snapping up homes to get out of the rental rate race. The mid-range homes are selling but buyers are more cautious and are not in a hurry – looking at many more homes than usual – cautious optimism. The higher end market is slow and there is increasing inventory and longer selling times. Builders are cutting back building specs and are offering deep discounts – it is very much a buyer’s market.

The investor market is very interesting. Rents are rising as the supply of rental homes available for lease is declining. Financing on investment property is getting very restrictive with no more “stated income” loans and limitations on “properties owned”. This is good news for those who are on a buy & hold strategy because there will be less and less rental homes in the area as current investor/owners liquidate and new investor purchasers becoming scarce. Those with good income and good credit can still buy investment property (and they are wise to in a buyer’s market).

The Shining Star of the South - Austin, Texas – 2008
By Kenn Renner

At the dawn of 2008, many parts of the Nation have been experiencing a real estate market hangover after the irrational exuberance of the past five years came to an end. Headlines of market corrections splash across newspaper and websites. What the spin doctors would have us believe is that the whole nation is in a real estate recession. However, there is no such thing as a “national” real estate market. While the coasts are suffering - Austin, Texas has appeared as a shining light of optimism and confidence. For those that study real estate cycles, the strength of Austin’s market is no surprise. For the past thirty years Austin has been on a counter-cycle market to the Coasts.

All sectors of the real estate market in Austin have experienced solid growth in 2007 with the commercial retail & office markets being one of the strongest segments. Huge regional retail centers were completed or were announced including the Endeavor’s South Park Meadows power center in South Austin and 1890 Ranch in Cedar Park. Simon Group completed the Round Rock outlet mall and announced plans for continued expansion of it’s successful developments. The grand opening of the Hill Country Galleria brought high-end retail to the wealthy demographic near Lakeway west of downtown. Scores of retail and commercial projects are on the books for 2008 pointing to the confidence that developers believe will continue.

Downtown Austin is experiencing a renaissance of development with the skyline being transformed by the construction of dozens of high rise luxury condominium complexes. A new urbanism is being fueled by the high income demographic these projects are attracting. Downtown will continue to team with real estate market activity as the new urbanites - with their high disposable incomes - come to live, work and play in the “Live Music Capital of the World”.

East of downtown Austin is experiencing a phenomenal revival spurred by the redevelopment of the former Mueller airport. The residential areas of east Austin are experiencing numerous rehabilitation projects, both large and small. Condo conversions are dotting the landscape providing low cost housing near downtown to accommodate students and those wanting to live closer to downtown employers.

The residential market continues it’s steady and solid growth with strong appreciation and a healthy supply & demand dynamic. As the investor buying frenzy of the past few years has slowed the rental market remains strong & improving with low vacancy rates and moderately increasing rents. The rental market is also being helped by the influx of immigrants from other states that relocate to Austin and choose to rent before buying. And, as a silver lining of the sub-prime loan fallout, renting has become the alternative for those that don’t qualify for today’s tighter lending standards.

According to the, in 2007 Austin ranked #7 in the nation for appreciation with an increase of 9.6 percent over the previous year. Price increases are steady at local subdivisions as land and development costs continue to push prices upward. Many of the national homebuilders have pulled back their speculative building as part of a nationwide conservatism. This is bolstering the resale market as homebuyers have less new inventory to choose from. All this news is very exciting for investors who purchased over the past few years as prices and rents move upward and vacancy factors move down.

Even though the credit crunch has caused some ripples in the market, the historically low interest rates and government sponsored mortgage programs have help mitigate any significant crisis in the Austin housing market.

Huge transportation projects have become the talk of the town with the completion of 39 miles of brand new toll roads in north and east of the metro area. Traffic that once was a problem has now been alleviated in many areas because of the new roads. The new commuter rail from Leander to downtown will open in 2008 allowing for an alternative to traffic altogether.

As once overheated areas of the country struggle - Austin becomes the beneficiary as people relocate and take advantage of a high quality of life, jobs and fine homes at bargain prices.

In 2008, expect a continued bright destiny for Austin and the Central Texas region.

Kenn Renner is a writer & national speaker on the subject of real estate and finance. He is the top real estate broker in Austin for investor sales with over $80 Million in closings in the past three years. His website, is the premiere web address for the Austin real market. If you want more information about the Austin market or would like a personal consultation, please call or text Kenn at 512-423-5626 or Email