By Design's Chief Communications Officer
July 8 2010 - Austin Rankings
- Austin was ranked as the #5 city in the annual "100 Best Retirement Towns by TopRetirements.com, February 2010
Texas is the second most popular state for retirees, so it is no wonder there are many great Texas retirement communities. Low costs, plenty of space, warm weather, exciting cities, lively college towns, charming small towns, and hundreds of interesting active adult communities are just some of the reasons why. It is easy to get used to Texas' friendly people and a slower pace of life.
Having no income tax and a state sales tax of 6.25 percent is another big plus. In 2007, the Tax Foundation ranked Texas as having the seventh lowest total tax burden of the 50 states. The Texas Legislature also recently lowered certain property tax rates.
Texas also ranks eighth nationally in the Tax Foundation's State Business Tax Climate Index. The Index compares the states in five areas of taxation that impact business: corporate taxes; individual income taxes; sales taxes; unemployment insurance taxes; and taxes on property, including residential and commercial property. Neighboring states ranked as follows: New Mexico (23rd), Oklahoma (19th), Arkansas (35th) and Louisiana (32nd).http://www.retireintexas.org/rit/channel/retire_channel_render/0,1504,19589_19672_0_0,00.html
June 2010 - Brookings Institute "Austin 3rd Healthiest in US"
The Brookings Institute analyzes the health of America ’s 100 largest metropolitan economies. It examines trends in metropolitan-level employment, output, and housing conditions to look “beneath the hood” of national economic statistics to portray the diverse metropolitan trajectories of recession and recovery across the country. MetroMonitor looks at the particular industries that drive national economic trends, and takes into account metro areas’ unique starting points for eventual recovery.
Click here for the full report. You can also view many interactive reports for employment, REO properties and other economic measurements.
The top 10 stable cities identified by MetroMonitor are:
1. Albany, N.Y.
2. Augusta, Ga.
3. Austin, Texas
4. Baton Rouge , La.
5. Buffalo , N.Y.
6. Columbia , S.C.
7. Dallas , Texas
8. Des Moines , Iowa
9. El Paso , Texas
The Regulatory Environment is changing - RESPA changes begin in January, and shopping for a mortgage should become more precise. HUD has provided a standardized form for lenders to fill out so that borrowers can easily compare loan terms and a new GFE will be a standard document. In addition, it has also put some limits on how much difference there can be between the estimate of fees and their final total (usually not revealed until closing on the required HUD-1 form).
One, Home-Buying Tax Incentives will expire in April. Perhaps, there will be a flurry of activity to take advantage of the credit in the near term, which could push mortgage rates up to some extent as well. Secondly, the Federal Reserve’s program of purchasing of mortgage-backed securities will come to an end on March 31.
Broadly speaking, we should expect interest rates to be lowest in the early part of the year, as support programs remain fully in force, with 30-year fixed-rate mortgages hanging around the 5% mark during the first quarter. However, we’ll start see a transitional period described above with some activity. Borrowers should expect one-half to even a full percentage point higher. So, rates for the rest of the year are likely to be closer to 6% than 5% for the final two quarters of 2010. With the banks balance sheets improving we should start to see a loosening consumer mortgage lending, if jobs and home prices stabilize.
There will continue to be excellent opportunities for strong and liquid borrowers to get great homes at reasonable prices, and financed them with attractive interest rates.
Austin Real Estate Market Activity Report for December 2009
This is a snapshot of the Austin Home Market Activity as of 12/20/09. While this data reflects the overall Austin market, the data for your specific home and neighborhood will vary. Contact us to get a more detailed market and price analysis performed with refined market criteria to establish the true comparables for your home. Additionally, this snapshot includes both short sale and foreclosure information.
On the supply side we have remained close to 7,000 homes in our available Austin inventory. The second chart illustrates that we have approximately 7 months of inventory on the market. This is confirmed by the average days on market for this inventory at around 210. The charts also show that we have more than 50% of our inventory below $250,000 and 6% above $1,000,000.
Sales were strongest in June and July which helped with overall inventory absorption. The 2009 figures show a much stronger sales activity than 2008, with November showing a 63% increase overall. It is worth noting that the average days on market for homes that have sold is around 75 days. It is true across a broad range of prices, with list price to sales prices ratios in the 93-95% figure. The market price for these homes appears to be reflective of one in line with condition, function, and the market value.