Archive for the ‘new homes austin’ Tag

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.

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.

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.

Wrong. It’s Actually a Great Time to Buy a New Home, Right Now.

by Grant Whittenberger

Across the nation, headlines continue to paint a gloomy picture of the current real estate market. Experts speak out in despair about mortgage rates, housing markets and foreclosures. And while much of what they say is true, the slowing market offers a silver lining for many potential homebuyers.

“A down market can offer plenty of benefits to homebuyers,” explains Grant Whittenberger, Vice President of Sales for Buffington Signature Homes. “With low interest rates, higher rents and lots of great homes to choose from, it’s actually a great time to consider buying a new home in Austin.”

To help potential buyers understand how they can benefit from the current market, Mr. Whittenberger shared these important factors that could make it the perfect time to buy a home.

Increasing Rent
With more people moving out of their homes and more potential homebuyers opting to wait, renters find themselves facing fewer options and higher prices for apartments and leases. Apartment complexes, rental agencies and rental property owners are facing higher costs for maintenance and upkeep, forcing a rise in their rates across the country. As rental rates continue to climb, the price stability of a fixed mortgage payment becomes a much more attractive option.

Low Interest Rates
Interest rates are still at near-record lows, making monthly mortgage payments considerably lower than what they would have been in the height of the real estate boom. And despite tighter standards on lending practices and requirements, lenders are still eager to work with buyers who have good credit. First-time homebuyers today can lock-in at considerably lower rates than those who bought in a few years ago, and existing homeowners can move up to a bigger or better home with substantially lower interest costs.

Competitive Prices
Many production builders are facing a surplus of inventory homes with a declining number of potential buyers, and they are cutting prices in response. “The last few years saw home prices rise at their fastest pace in history,” explains Whittenberger, “and it didn’t take long before they reached levels that a lot of buyers couldn’t afford. As builders adjust to the current market, prices are returning to normal levels and many new buyers have a chance to enter the market again.”

Great Selection
Along with lower prices, an overabundance of homes on the market can also provide buyers with plenty of opportunities to shop around for the perfect home. New community developments have been popping up throughout the region, with great new homes in Austin, as well as Round Rock and Cedar Park, offering buyers more choices than ever before. Buffington’s newest communities include Silver Leaf in Round Rock, Forest Oaks in Cedar Park, as well as two premier South Austin communities, The Bridges at Bear Creek and Southpark Meadows. The wide variety of homesites and options available in these communities means any buyer can find a home that fits their unique style and needs.

Energy Efficiency & Innovative Features
Every year new developments in appliances, construction techniques and green technologies help make homes use less water, gas and electricity. “New efficient construction techniques and Energy Star appliances help Buffington’s homes significantly reduce your monthly utility bills, potentially knocking hundreds of dollars off of your expenses,” explains Whittenberger. “We’ve also designed our homes around the way people live today, with contemporary features like additional wiring for internet and cable, specially-designed computer spaces and pre-wired setups for HDTVs.”

Investment & Appreciation
Despite the ups and downs, there is virtually no other investment or purchase that carries the same track record for value appreciation as homeownership. On the national level, home appreciation has historically risen 5 to 6 percent each year. And from 1991 to 2007 the median price of a new home rose from $120,000 to $246,900, more than doubling in value. Compared with the drastic potential for loss in the stock market, investing in a home is safe and profitable.

Tax Incentives
Added to the increased value of your home each year, significant tax incentives are in place to make owning (and eventually selling) that home more affordable. In most instances, any money you spend on interest and property taxes can be fully deducted from your income, saving thousands on taxes. Collectively, homeowners save almost $100 billion on mortgage interest and property deductions each year. And when it comes time to sell you home, more tax breaks help to ensure you make the most of your home’s appreciation.

The Economy in Austin & Texas
Despite the national downturn in the housing market, the economy in Austin and throughout Texas has remained comparatively strong. Thanks to Austin’s thriving business and technology industries, and large defense and oil industry influences across Texas, the housing market has remained relatively insulated from the extreme highs and lows found in other areas. In fact, Entrepreneur magazine recently placed the Austin/Killeen/Round Rock area at the top of its “Best Places to Buy” list, citing low prices and high job growth as key indicators. While that may insulate the market from the extreme low prices found in other parts of the country, it also means your home will likely be a more secure investment with a greater resale potential.

The time is NOW
Production builders continue to adjust their business to meet the conditions of the market, cutting back on their new supply of homes and cutting prices on their existing inventory. Many experts believe the production and inventory of homes on the market will return to normal levels by later this year. “Then the opportunity will be gone,” says Whittenberger. “As builders adjust the market, there are great chances for buyers to come out ahead, but once the adjustment is over, most of those chances will have passed.”

For those hoping to “time the market” and make the most of current conditions: The time is NOW.

For more information on the best new homes in South Austin, Round Rock, and Cedar Park, visit

About Buffington Signature Homes
Buffington Signature Homes is dedicated to building homes that will last a lifetime. A locally owned company with a wealth of experience, Buffington Signature Homes combines innovative floor plans, skilled craftsmanship and an exceptional buying experience to deliver homes with value that each and every customer is proud to live in. Proudly building fine communities and new homes in South Austin, Round Rock and Cedar Park. Home prices vary per community, from the $210’s to the mid $300’s, ranging in size from 2000 to 3700 sq ft with new plans in development to go over 4000 sq ft.

Media Contact:
Grant Whittenberger
Vice President of Sales & Marketing

Tuscan-style is All the Rage

Old World Italian Architecture Gains Popularity in US

Old World aesthetics have recently been embraced by the United States. The proof is in the architecture! By far, the most popular housing style in the United States these days, including the Southern state of Texas, is Italiante, also known as Tuscan, the Lombard or simply, the bracketed style.

New homes in AustinTuscan-style home plans typically feature distinctive stucco exteriors and low-pitched barrel tile roofs. Tuscan-style designs may also include arched windows, raised entries and a courtyard in addition to the following:

  • Balanced, symmetrical rectangular shape
  • Tall appearance, with 2, 3 or 4 stories
  • Wide, overhanging eaves with brackets and cornices
  • Square cupola
  • Tiles
  • Porch topped with balustraded balconies
  • Side bay windows
  • Molded double doors
  • Roman arches above windows and doors

About the Tuscan-style

The Tuscan-style originated in England in the 1840s. Prior to that time, British homes were more formal and classical in appearance. With the picturesque movement, builders began designing elegant recreations of Italian villas. When this style was adopted by the US, it was reinvented again with an American twist. By the late 1860s, the Tuscan-style house was the most preferred architectural style for homes in the US, and it has maintained its popularity to this day. Why?

Historians say the Tuscan-style became prevalent for primarily two reasons:

  • Tuscan-style homes can be built with many different kinds of materials, and the style can be adapted to a wide range of budgets
  • New technologies have made the production of cast-iron and press-metal fast and affordable

If you’ve ever had the good fortune to travel to Italy, then you are already well-acquainted with the richness of the warm colors and beautiful style of this type of architectural design. Now, you no longer have to travel abroad to experience Italy; make your next house or give your current house a taste of Tuscany.

Take a moment to view an extensive photo gallery of homes that stress Tuscan design.

This article was written by Jeff Watson Homes, a custom home builder in Austin, TX who specializes in Tuscan home design. If you are looking to build a Tuscan home in Central Texas, drop Jeff Watson a line and he will be happy to talk to you about your ideas.

As a Design/Build company, Jeff Watson Homes can assure you get exactly what you are looking for. Whether you purchase one of our new homes for sale on our lot or let us help you design a new custom home to build on your lot, Jeff Watson Homes is committed to see that you remain satisfied every step of the way.