Austin Floods: the Numbers

Here in Austin, Texas, when it rains, it pours.

For real.

In the last 30 days, Lake Travis has risen 41.45 feet.  In fact, on October 20th we reached our 5th highest water level ever at 704.39 feet.  That is just 8 feet below Mansfield Dam’s spillway.  And which is especially interesting given we were in our 3rd worst drought ever just 5 years ago when the lake reached at 618.64 feet.

IMG_2745

graph source:  lcra.org

More discussion and graphs available on the LCRA website as well as golaketravis.com

 

Austin Ranks 5th in Best Places to Retire

Austin continues to get noticed!  This time on  topretirements.com  who compiles a list annually of the 100 best places to retire. The 2010 results are in, and Austin has moved from the #9 to the #5 spot!  A complete list as well as an in depth look at why each town achieved the rank it did can be found at: www.topretirements.com/Home.html

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Domain Phase II Opens Friday

So what will phase II of the Domain include?  According to Simon Property Group:
* Dick’s Sporting Goods
* Gold Class Cinema
* Dillard’s
* American Eagle Outfitters
* Aeropostale
* Bath & Body Works
* Buckle
* Bui-yah-kah
* Charming Charlie
* Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf
* Express
* Finish Line
* The Limited
* Maggiano’s
* Payless Shoes
* Shasa Collections
* Stride Rite
* Sushi Zushi
* VANS
* Yogurt Planet
* Zumiez

Plus a 340-room Westin with 14,000 sqft of meeting space will begin accepting reservations March 11th. Simon Property Group will celebrate the opening of phase II with a fashion show on March 26-27th and an Easter egg hunt on April 3rd.

Final phase of the Domain? Coming 2012 or 2013 and includes a Whole Foods and Nordstroms. For more, read the Austin Business Journal article, or visit the Domain website.

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HUD Policy Helps Quicker Foreclosure Sales

Ann McKinley NMLS#200305, Network Funding

HUD has temporarily waived the rule on FHA loans that prohibits insuring mortgages on homes which the seller has owned less than 90 days.  Previously this requirement has both prevented the quick turn around of foreclosed property and limited buyer’s loan options when seeking affordable homes.  The current plan is for the waiver to be in effect for one year, however FHA may withdraw or extend at any time.  It does come with the following restrictions:

*Transactions must be arms-length.  No identity of interest between the buyer and seller.
*If the sales price is 20% or more above the seller’s acquistion cost, the lender must meet specific conditions for the waiver to apply.
*Waiver is limited to forward mortgages and cannot be used under the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage purchase program.

Read More: full text of waiver on HUD.gov

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Austin Ranks #1 For Job Growth

Michael Shires, associate professor in public policy at Pepperdine University, and Joel Kotkin, Presidential Fellow and director of the Urban Futures Program at Chapman University, have spent the past five years compiling lists of the best places to do business.  Kotkin recently summarized their results in an article on www.newgeography.com.  Listen to what he has to say about Texas:  “The top of the complete ranking–which, for ease, we have broken down into the two smaller lists, of the best big and small cities for jobs–is dominated by one state: Texas. The Lone Star State may have lost a powerful advocate in Washington, but it’s home to a remarkable eight of the top 20 cities on our list–including No. 1-ranked Odessa, a small city in the state’s northwestern region. Further, the top five large metropolitan areas for job growth–Austin [ranked #1], Houston, San Antonio, Ft. Worth and Dallas–are all in Texas’ “urban triangle.”” Read More

To keep in-touch with Austin news and events, follow us on Twitter:  http://twitter.com/mysolis

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Texas Ranked #1: Fastest Growing Counties

According to the Austin Business Journal, the U.S. Census report found ten Texas counties among the top 25 fastest-growing in the country.  As a state, that puts Texas in the number one position above California with 6, Arizona with 2 and North Carolina with 2.  These rankings included Travis County in 14th and Williamson County in 23rd.  Read More.

Feels good to be a real estate agent in Austin!

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Stone House Vineyard: Yoga & Champagne Brunch

Sunday, April 5th, at 10 am, Stone House Vineyard is offering a Yoga and Champagne Brunch.  Taught by Leaping for Life Fitness Studio, the one-hour long outdoor yoga session is followed by a champagne brunch on the vineyard’s terrace.  Relax, take in the scenery, and enjoy a peaceful beginning your day.  Cost: $35.

Stone House Vineyard
24350 Haynie Flat Road
Spicewood, TX 78669
512-264-3630
www.stonehousevineyard.com
Reservations: rita@stonehousevineyard.com

For more Austin area events, check out Austin Tidbits.

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Economist’s Predictions for 2009

Economist Dr. Jim Gaines of the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University gives a comprehensive look at where the economy, construction, employment, population, and housing is headed in this video 2009 and Beyond. The data is stagering and certainly leaves Texan’s feeling a bit lucky. Dr. Gaines covers a mountain of research in this 52-minute video in a manner that is clear and concise. Definitely a must-see for all Texas real estate agents. Here are a few tidbits:

Texas Outlook 2009
*Texas job growth is predicted to be 1.5-2%.
*Housing market expected to be relatively strong but “spotty”.
*Reduction in overall residential demanded related to tighter credit, less investment buying, and less second home purchases.

Research includes insight into what lead to this housing crisis and why Texas is fairing much better than most of the nation. It feels good to finally put the numbers and graphs to what we as Austin real estate agents have been experiencing, and the extrapolation of this data is invaluable to future business planning.

Dr. Jim Gaines, Real Estate Center, 2009 and Beyond

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41 Largest Landowners Reside in Texas

Forty-One of the country’s 100 largest landowners, in terms of number of acres, live in Texas according to The Land Report. Of the top 20, 9 are in Texas including the heirs of the King Ranch who rank sixth with 851,642 acres. View the Land Report’s 100

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Texas Top in Job Growth

A recent study by bizjournal.com ranked job growth of US cities for 2008. Texas took five of the top ten spots.

1. Houston – added 57,300 jobs
2. Dallas-Fort Worth – added 43,300 jobs
3. San Antonio – added 14,900 jobs
5. Austin – added 9,600 jobs
9. El Paso – added 5,300 jobs

Bizjournal Article

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