Archive for the ‘austin new homes’ Category

Overview of Austin Housing Market

With the recent economic turmoil, many consumers may find the idea of building a home too risky. While that risk is subtantiated in some markets, overall the housing market is relatively stable and growing. This is especially true in the Austin real estate market, which continues to stand out as one of the best in the country. In contrast to the national housing and lending dilemmas, the Austin market continues to show strong numbers in relation to accumulated inventory, home purchases and overall home values.

During 2008, the Austin real estate market slowed down in response to the credit crisis affecting the country. (3) The collapse of the subprime mortgage market has led to more restrictive mortgage qualification standards, including the elimination of many down payment assistance programs and higher equity requirements for jumbo loans. The outlook may appear grim, but Austin shows more than one sign of changing that image. (1)

In the Austin area, the housing inventory stands at a 6.3-month supply, just over the standard equilibrium of 6.0 and much lower than the whopping 10.9-month supply nationally. What does this mean? It shows that our region remains relatively unharmed by the current economic crisis. It is estimated that the national real estate economy will show signs of recovery within the next three to five years. This is in stark contrast to Austin’s real estate market, which is expected to recover within the next 18 to 24 months. Signs of recovery will begin to show by next summer.
The continued strength of Austin’s housing market now is in large part due to builders making up for the slowing economy. Record numbers of homes were built in Central Texas just two years ago, providing a large inventory of homes that went unsold. This led to a dramatic decrease in new homes built the following two years. While this is an unfavorable position for builders, it is great for consumers. Increased inventory and slowing sales lead to great buyer incentives from builders hoping to get consumers into their homes. These incentives can range from free upgrades and appliances, to extended warranties and services, to large discounts that can save consumers a substantial amount of money on their loans and down payments. Opportunities like this will not last long, though and most will fade quickly as the economy regains strength. (2)

The estimates of a quicker recovery, combined with the availability of current inventory and builders’ willingness to sell for lower prices led the experts at Forbes magazine to name Austin one of just three cities in the country to “Buy Now.”(1)

Behind the raw numbers of home sales, remaining inventory and solid values, experts are looking at the strength of Austin’s job market. As a leading region for technology and research-based jobs, the Austin boasts a strong supply of new jobs, plenty of residents with dependable salaries and strong credit, and a strong cultural atmosphere that attracts new talent. Much like the Dot-Com bust in 2000, the current economic crisis has left Austin relatively untouched when compared to other parts of the nation. The city’s unique blend of great weather, distinctive culture and entertainment, and continued job growth and economic strength help Austin hold its place as one of the best places to buy. Add to that the benefits of increased inventory and many builders offering incentives to maintain their sales, now is a great time build your home in Austin.

Sources
1. Shonda Novak, Kate Morton. “Credit Crunch Squeezes Central Texas Home Starts.” American Statesman. Oct. 2008. Statesman. 12 Oct. 2008.
2. “Austin Builders Are Cutting Back, Confident of Rebound.” American Statesman. Oct. 2008. Statesman. 17 Oct. 2008.
3. Roselind Hejl “Real Estate Market Update.” Roselind Hejl’s Austin Real Estate Guide. Oct. 2008. 9 Oct. 2008.

www.buffingtonsignaturehomes.com

Buffington’s Guide to Living & Buying in Austin

Join local Austin homebuilder, Buffington Signature Homes, for a tour of the ins and outs of buying a new home in the capital city! Where to buy, what to look for, where it’s hot and where it’s cool!

There are lots of great places to live in Austin. Use these tips to find the perfect neighborhood and home for your lifestyle!

1. North, South, East & West—head any direction from downtown Austin and you’ll discover four distinctive areas of town, each with their own character and atmosphere.

  • North: North Austin and Round Rock are home to many of the region’s biggest employers, with great shopping, accessibility and family-friendly living.
  • South: The original home of “Keep Austin Weird”! South Austin offers a unique experience of the culture and style that made the city famous.
  • East: Enjoying a resurgence in economic development and investment, East Austin is home to great historical neighborhoods, arts and eateries.
  • West: As you head west, the city gives way to the Texas Hill Country. With grand hillside homes and nearby access to Lake Travis, life is good in the west.

2. Major Roads & Highways. Several major roads make getting around town a lot easier… unless you catch them at the wrong time.

  • I-35: The main North/South thoroughfare, I-35 bisects the city just east of Downtown. Connected to just about everything, but beware of rush hour traffic and backups.
  • Mopac / Loop 1: Also running North/South, Mopac loops west of downtown and can be faster and less congested than I-35.
  • 183/183-A: Running southeast to northwest, 183 takes you from the airport, north of Downtown into North Austin. From there, the 183-A toll road offers easy access from Cedar Park and Leander.
  • 290 / 71 / Ben White Blvd: Running East-West from the airport into the Hill Country, Ben White connect South Austin to I-35 and Mopac.

3. Schools. Austin area schools are consistently ranked among the best in the state and even the country. For the top rated public schools in the area, check out the Eanes School District in West Austin, and the Round Rock and Leander ISDs. There are also several highly-rated independent and church-affiliated private schools throughout the city.

4. Colleges & Universities. Austin is perhaps best known as the home of the University of Texas. UT sits right in the middle of the city, just north of the Capital, with nationally ranked undergraduate, graduate and adult education programs. Just south of the river, St. Edwards University is a private, Roman Catholic university known for quality liberal arts programs. Several Austin Community Collage campuses can be found throughout the city, offering quality undergraduate and adult programs, as well as Early College Start programs for high school students.

5. Live Music & Events. “The Live Music Capital of the World” is home to more than 200 live music venues and over 1,900 local musicians! On any given night, you can find incredible live music on the world-famous 6th Street or nearby in the Warehouse District, another growing entertainment area. Local favorites for live performances include Stubb’s BBQ, Auditorium Shores and the newly completed Austin Music Hall. You can also check out hundreds of local and national acts every spring at South by Southwest (SXSW) and at Austin City Limits Music Festival in late summer.

6. Parks & Lakes. The city’s parks, greenbelts and lakes offer endless possibilities for outdoor fun. Barton Springs is a popular attraction, at an average temperature of 68° year round! Lady Bird Lake and Lake Travis offer great places for boating and skiing, and miles of hike & bike trails throughout the city are perfect for exercise and leisure. The most popular outdoor destination is Zilker Park, located along the south shore of Lady Bird Lake. Zilker Park is home to a popular dog park, the famous Barton Springs Pool as well as one of the largest trailheads leading into the Barton Creek greenbelt.

7. Sports. Great sports action is never far away, with UT athletics throughout the school year, as well as the Austin Aztex USL soccer team and the Round Rock Express baseball team, affiliate of the Houston Astros! Coming in 2009 or 2010, the Texas Stars AHL hockey team will hit the ice in Cedar Park as the top affiliate of the Dallas Stars NHL franchise.

8. Temperature & Climate. Bring your sunscreen! Austin averages 300 days of sunshine per year, with hot summers and mild winters. The coldest month in Austin is typically January, with overnight lows averaging 40°. In the summers, late July and August are typically the hottest, with average daytime temperatures in the mid to upper 90s.

9. Shopping. Key shopping centers for the area include Southpark Meadows and Barton Creek Mall in South Austin, La Frontera and the Round Rock Premium Outlets in Round Rock, as well as Lakeline Mall and the new 1890 Ranch in Cedar Park. For great local boutiques and arts, check out the great clothing and vintage stores on South Congress, as well as “The Drag” on Guadalupe near the UT campus.

10. Dining. Whatever kind of food or atmosphere you’re in the mood for, there are great places to eat all over the city. Find your own favorite neighborhood eatery or look for local favorites scattered across town, like Chuy’s Tex-Mex, Gumbo’s Louisiana Style Cafe, Austin Java, Amy’s Ice Cream and Rudy’s Country Store & BBQ.

Buffington Signature Homes is locally owned and operated in Austin, proudly building new homes in the most sought-after communities in South Austin, Round Rock and Cedar Park. Dedicated to building homes that will last a lifetime, Buffington combines innovative floor plans, skilled craftsmanship and an exceptional buying experience to deliver homes that each and every customer is proud to live in.

http://www.buffingtonsignaturehomes.com

Expert Advice on Making Your Move-Up Home Purchase a Success

by Grant Whittenberger

Buffington Signature Homes offers expert advice how to move up the right way.

Many factors can lead a homeowner to decide it’s time to move from their current home to a new one. Some move-up buyers have growing families that require additional living space and more bedrooms. Others may have been first-time homebuyers with limited budgets who now have money and equity to put towards the home they wanted all along. Still others may be hoping to move to a different part of town or a newer neighborhood. Whatever your reason for joining the ranks of “move-up homebuyers,” there are plenty of important factors to consider before moving on to your new home.

With the help of one local Austin homebuilder, we’ve put together a list of tips to ensure your move-up purchase is a success. Buffington Signature Homes is the newest homebuilding venture from veteran Austin builder and developer, Tom Buffington. The company currently builds in two of the area’s premier communities; Silver Leaf in Round Rock and Forest Oaks in Cedar Park. In the mid-May, Buffington will begin offering homes in South Austin at The Bridges at Bear Creek and Southpark Meadows. If you’re in the market to move-up or move-down, consider these important tips to ensure you get the home you deserve.

Selling Your Current Home
Before you can begin to seriously think about the home you want, it helps begin by focusing on the home you already own. How much is it worth? How much would you sell it for? In this process, an experienced real estate agent can be your best ally. Some agents specialize in helping move-up buyers sell their current home and find their new one at the same time. In fact, Buffington Signature Homes works with one of Austin’s premier realtors, Kevin Elliott of Keller Williams’ Home Resource Group.  “Buyers probably have a quasi-accurate assessment of what their home is worth.  I start off by talking about what separates their home from your competition,” says Kevin.  “Just like not all builders are the same, not all realtors are the same.  In the Austin area, the ‘average’ realtor sells less than 7 homes per year, our team of experienced agents averages over 35 homes per year.”

“People coming to see your home may have no imagination, no time and not much extra money,” says Grant Whittenberger, VP of Sales for Buffington Signature Homes.  “Image is everything.  In the buyer’s mind, what they see is what they get.  This is why Model Homes are always in such great shape.  No buyer is going to pay top dollar for a home that looks like it is in need of repair, updating, even just a good cleaning—that’s why the home you are selling must be in the best shape possible if you want the best price possible.”

Figuring Out Your Budget
Your real estate agent can provide an accurate estimate of how much your current home will sell for. Combined with your current spending and savings, you should use this information to develop a clear idea of the budget for your new home. Once you’ve established your budget, you can begin looking for builders with homes in your price range. It’s important to find a builder that specializes in your particular price range, because they should have the most experience in building homes at the best quality possible while still remaining within your budget.

Choosing What’s Most Important
Now it’s time to begin looking at houses. With a wide range of options in your new home’s location, size, layout and features, figuring our what’s most important to you and your family can help simplify the process. Narrowing your search to a few key areas of interest will help ensure you’re happy in your decision to move up.

The Location
For many people, the decision to move is essentially about the location. New communities and retail centers are cropping up in great areas all over the Austin area, and new roads are providing better access to work, recreation and entertainment. If you’re looking for a new home in a prime location, Buffington Signature Homes currently offers homes and homesites in Silver Leaf, one of Round Rock’s premier new home communities, and Forest Oaks, located just off the 183A Toll Road in Cedar Park. Later this month, they will also begin offering homes in The Bridges at Bear Creek and Southpark Meadows in South Austin.

The Living Space
While some buyers are focused on the location, others are more concerned with life inside their home. One of the most common reasons a buyer seeks to move up is the need for more space. Whether it’s additional rooms, a bigger kitchen or more family gathering space, additional square footage can make a big difference. But it’s not always about the numbers. Effective use of space in a home’s layout and design can make a big difference in how “livable” your home feels. Buffington’s innovative floorplans utilize additional spaces in useful ways, like setting aside areas for desks so that the spare bedroom doesn’t have to double as the computer room.

Quality of Construction
It’s always a good idea to remember that the most important features of your new home might be the ones you can’t see. Learn as much as you can about each builder’s construction standards and materials, and beware of discount builders that use shortcuts or inferior materials to cut costs. Every Buffington home is built to the highest quality standards, with engineered frames and foundations, traditionally framed roofs and detailed construction standards for flooring and walls. Ensuring your home is built to these quality standards can help protect your investment and virtually eliminate day-to-day maintenance.

Features and Finishes
Of course, when comes to a new home, what’s on the outside can mean just as much as what’s inside the walls. Another important point of comparison is in each builder’s standard features and finishes for their homes. Different homes can include a range of features from big to small, like appliances, window treatments or high-end plumbing and lighting fixtures. While some builders pass on the additional cost of  these “luxuries” to their customers, more than 90 high-end finishing touches, called Signature Features, come standard in every Buffington home.

Building vs. Existing Inventory
In many of the area’s premier communities, you’ll also have the option of buying a home from your builder’s existing inventory or building one for yourself. Each of these options can have benefits for different buyers. Of course, building your home from the ground up offers the opportunity to select the site, design and features that best fit your needs. Buffington offers a selection of innovative floorplans and prime homesites in their communities, as well as an additional Signature Options, or special features that their customers can choose to further personalize their new home. However, if you’re a little more flexible in your tastes or if you’ve found the perfect home on the perfect lot already, buying a home from your builder’s existing inventory has its advantages. Inventory homes are typically less expensive than customized or specially designed homes. Plus, when you buy a model that’s already completed, you can start the move-in process right away! Buffington Signature Homes currently offers a great selection of homes in Silver Creek and Forest Oaks.

These are just a few of the details to consider when you’re ready to move up to the new home of your dreams. For more information on moving up to a Buffington Signature Home, go to www.BuffingtonSignatureHomes.com/aas or visit the Silver Leaf Sales Center at: 209 Aspen Trail, Round Rock, TX 78664.

Important Tips for Finding a High Quality Home

by Grant Whittenberger

Buffington Signature Homes shares details on finding a new home that will last.

May 5, 2008 — Home Buying Season is in full swing and eager buyers are out touring new homes in Austin. But when it comes time to compare similar looking homes in similar locations, the most important features may not be so apparent.

Once you’ve settled on a specific neighborhood or area, it’s important to begin comparing the construction standards and features available from each of the homebuilders in that area. Grant Whittenberger, Vice President of Sales for Buffington Signature Homes, has gladly offered up a list of the most important features you should ask about to ensure the home you’re looking at is a keeper.

The Foundation

First, find out what kind of foundation the homes have. The soil in Central Texas is notorious for causing shifting and cracking in home foundations, which leads to sloping floors, cracked walls and sticky windows and doors. All of the foundations in Buffington’s homes are designed and approved by an engineer to ensure they remain stable and intact for the life of your home.

The Roof

The second most important part of a home after the foundation is the roof. Poorly framed roofs can lead to leaking and buckling on the outside, as well as cracking and nails that push through ceilings on the inside. While many volume builders use pre-fabricated roof trusses, Buffington’s homes feature traditionally framed trusses, where a little extra effort can ensure a much more stable and secure roof.

The Framing

The way a new home is framed also plays an important role in the overall stability and character of its construction. Buffington’s homes feature fully engineered, wind-braced frames. The extra bracing prevents the home from racking or twisting in higher winds, where even the slightest movement can lead to cracking walls and stuck doors or windows. The interior and exterior of these walls are wrapped in heavy-duty, half-inch OSB board, further preventing movement and also adding an extra layer of noise insulation. Additionally, all structural beams are sized by an engineer for proper load ratings, protecting against beams that are too small (and unstable) or too big (and unnecessarily expensive).

The Flooring

Many buyers are concerned with the floor coverings in a new home, but what’s underneath them can be even more important. To cut costs, many builders use pre-fabricated I-joists to build their floors, which can lead to floors that bounce and squeak. But Buffington’s floors are built with 16-inch-deep trusses, the deepest flooring support. The trusses are spaced 24 inches apart throughout the home, with just 16 inches of space master bedrooms and game rooms where the loads are typically heavier. On top of that, the homes feature three-quarter-inch tongue-and-groove sub-floors that are secured with screws and industrial adhesive, ensuring against squeaking, bouncing and those annoying nails that can stick up beneath floor coverings. Deeper floors and heavier sub-flooring also add extra noise insulation between floors.

Interior Walls

When it comes to framing the interior walls, builders can cut costs by cutting back on materials and labor. Many builders frame interior walls with studs spaced 24-inches apart where the code permits, but Buffington’s homes are built with 16-inch centers throughout. The closer spacing adds stability and further protects against cracking and shifting as the home ages. They also secure all sheetrock with screws instead of nails, preventing against nails that can push through walls and ceilings over time.

Inspections

Throughout this entire building process, Buffington Signature Homes requires four separate, independent inspections on the structure of the home. With two separate inspections on the foundation, one at the framing stage and one final inspection when the home is complete, Buffington can ensure the structural integrity of their homes, and they’ll give you the paperwork to prove it.

These are just a few examples of the many ways that volume builders can cut corners and save money at the homeowner’s expense. But for Buffington, the extra effort and extra materials are a part of creating homes that their customers are proud to live in. A little hard work during construction can virtually eliminate the daily maintenance that many homebuyers find themselves stuck with in a new home.

Background

Buffington Signature Homes is the newest homebuilding venture from veteran Austin builder and developer, Tom Buffington. The company currently builds in two of the area’s premier communities; Silver Leaf in Round Rock and Forest Oaks in Cedar Park. Later this summer, Buffington will begin offering homes in Austin at The Bridges of Bear Creek and Southpark Meadows. Even in these highly competitive areas for new homes, Buffington Signature Homes stands out from the crowd with these important distinctions.

Buffington recently opened their first sales center at Silver Leaf. The Silver Leaf Sales Center offers customers a chance to experience the builder’s quality construction and innovative floorplans in person, and the sales staff is on hand every day to help interested buyers find their new home. In May, they will also open a model in Forest Oaks, located just off the new 183A toll road in Cedar Park, with two more models coming later this summer at The Bridges of Bear Creek and Southpark Meadows in Austin.

For more information on Buffington Signature Homes, visit www.BuffingtonSignatureHomes.com/aas or visit the Silver Leaf Sales Center at:
209 Aspen Trail,
Round Rock, TX 78664.