Much has been written about how Austin is surviving the nation’s real estate slump, and many of Austin’s houses are still selling like hotcakes. Sure, it’s not a year ago when a house was on the market for a day before it sold, but houses are still selling in two weeks in certain neighborhoods at good prices. It is, of course, now a buyer’s market rather than a seller’s market.
A year ago I bought my condo, a lovely 1 bed, 1 bath number with a study, open floor plan, and most importantly for me, yard and pool. My living room opens out onto the backyard, and since there are only thirteen units, it often has the feel of being just my own. I bought at the peak of the Austin’s dazzling market, when buyers got into bidding wars above the asking price of houses. While I still love my place and believe I paid what it’s worth, there are still three units for sale. Out of thirteen, that’s a lot. Of course, there are other factors (horrible, lazy developer, silly shortcuts like painting the concrete floors and not sealing them or leaving the original 1969 windows in place). But the market is also a factor–why pay a premium for a close-in condo when you might get a steal on a little-bit-farther-out house?
My brother and I are looking to buy a house. I don’t really need one, as I just told you I have a great place to live, but there are certain things that a condo community just can’t give–privacy, a garage, a yard I can leave my dog out in, etc. Plus, this is the only time in our lives that my brother and I can live together (without our parents!), pre marriage and kids and so on, so I want to take advantage of that opportunity. And, as I mentioned, it’s a buyer’s market. We’re hoping to get that steal on that little-bit-farther-out house. Or really, a steal on a close-in house.
I go into this long setup because I want to get more into real estate in this blog. I’ve been interested in the market for over a year, and researching this time around for at least six months. I know certain neighborhoods–Tarrytown, Clarksville, Deep Eddy, Brykerwoods, Oakmont, Downtown–as well as anyone, and others–Barton Hills, Zilker–I’m learning a lot more about. So that’s the background, and stay tuned for progress in the house hunt.
What we’re looking for, in case anyone is curious:
-2+ bedrooms, 2+ bathrooms (we’re open to having rental rooms, or a garage apt for rental income)
-Garage (or detached building or basement or … brother is in a band and they sure as hell aren’t practicing in the house)
-One of the neighborhoods I mentioned–we’d like to be in walking and/or biking distance of at least a few hang out places (restaurants, coffeeshops, bars) and close to downtown (that band thing again)
UPDATE: Hey! Just found a good article about why young people (me! my brother! you!) should buy real estate in Austin. And, come to think of it, many of my friends are buying houses. Singles, mostly, who just don’t want to pay rent. Most of them subscribe to the buy-more-house-farther-out theory, which is totally reasonable, so many of them are settling in South Austin, off Mopac, near William Canon or Slaughter where the houses are big, new, and relatively cheap.