2015 was a landmark year for Austin real estate, with records set for number of home sales, home prices and number of days on market. DBP is gearing up for another great year for real estate in 2016 as analysts predict continued strength in the market. As we say farewell to 2015, let’s take a look at some of the hottest real estate stories of the year.
1. Forbes declares Austin a “best buy” city in 2015. Forbes teamed up Local Market Monitor to determine the best U.S. cities in which to buy real estate by assessing 105 largest Metropolitan Statistical Areas (a geographical designation used by the U.S. Census Bureau that generally includes a core city and its surrounding suburbs), all with populations of at least 550,000. According to the Forbes report on the analysis, “Each of our Best Buy Cities has strong population and jobs growth, and relatively low home prices. In most—but not all—of the cities, homes are still undervalued, by Local Market Monitor’s reckoning.”
2. Austin CultureMap lists the 9 hottest neighborhoods to buy a home. Castlewood Forest, Circle C Ranch and South Lamar topped the list in 2015. Popular selling points such as proximity to food and entertainment, diversity and access to great schools made these areas the top picks of real estate agents in Austin. Which neighborhoods will make the list in 2016?
3. We got a glimpse of an upcoming massive public market space off South Congress. Developers took inspiration from popular public market places like Seattle’s Pike Place and Mercado San Miguel in Madrid to create something similar, yet uniquely Austin. In a press release about the plan, GroundFloor Development President and CEO Brandon Bolin said, “We want to build the district around what makes this city so special. The idea for Saint Elmo is to be ‘native, creative, and distinctly Austin.’ There is going to be nothing like it in Texas.”
4. Software giant Oracle announces plans for a huge Austin campus. Oracle Corp., the world’s second-largest software company, told the Austin-American Statesman that the company has plans to build a new corporate campus on 27 acres overlooking Lady Bird Lake, just east of downtown Austin. The new campus will allow Oracle to grow its workforce by 50 percent.
5. The Austin skyline is about to get higher. This month, the city of Austin and local developers closed on the $14.5 million sale of 1.7 acres of downtown land where developers plan to build what would be Austin’s tallest building. Work was slated to begin this December the groundbreaking may happen as soon as early 2016. The residential high-rise called The Independent would be the tallest building in Austin as well as the tallest residential building west of the Mississippi River.
6. Austin affordable housing will get a boost. Also in December, Austin city council took the final step to approve a new zoning designation for an undeveloped area of Southeast Austin. According to Austin Business Journal, hundreds of new affordable housing options and more space for commercial projects are on the drawing board for the area near Austin-Bergstrom International Airport between McKinney Falls Parkway to the west, FM 1625 and U.S. Highway 183 to the east, and from William Cannon Drive in the north to Rodriguez Road in the south.
7. Austin Board of Realtors® (ABoR) announced that Austin real estate is on track for a record year in 2015. By the time the October 2015 real estate statistics were released, it was clear that Austin was on par for another record year. While home sales typically slow each fall, housing demand remained strong during the fall of 2015. Analysts say that sustained demand stems from strong employment and the Austin area’s high growth rate. Those factors help create a stable housing market that industry experts say won’t be significantly affected by the Fed’s then-anticipated interest rate hike. David Brodsky,broker associate with Keller Williams Realty, told the Austin-American Statesman that Austin real estate is expected to remain strong into the foreseeable future. “While I think it’s inevitable that rates are going to rise, I don’t think it’s going to skunk a very robust Austin market,” Brodsky said.
8. Realtor.com® predicts 2016 will be another great year for Austin real estate. New home construction and moderate gains in the existing home market is expected to push total home sales to the highest levels since 2006, according to the 2016 housing forecast issued by realtor.com®, a leading destination of online real estate services. According to a press release about the forecast, “The 2016 housing market is expected to be a picture of moderate, but solid growth as acceleration in existing home sales and prices both slow to 3 percent year over year due to higher mortgage rates, continuing tight credit standards, and lower affordability.”
9. David Brodsky Properties awarded Platinum Top 50 honor. We can’t end 2015 without giving thanks for at least one of our accomplishments. The Platinum Top 50 Award recognizes fifty residential REALTORS® for their outstanding achievements in sales, education, industry participation and civic leadership. According to the program website, Platinum Top 50 Winners exemplify initiative, involvement, success, and philanthropy. “We’re honored to accept this award and we couldn’t have earned it without the support of our dedicated clients and peers,” said David Brodsky, principal at David Brodsky Properties. “2016 is going to be an amazing year for our team and our clients.