Austin’s exceptional growth and strong economy are the envy of many American cities. But those attributes come with their own set of challenges — rising prices and growing pains.
Take, for example, a proposal to build a Major League Soccer stadium near the already booming Domain area in North Austin. Meanwhile, the median price of a home hit an all-time high in May, according to the latest figures from the Austin Board of Realtors.
While major efforts are underway to accommodate the city’s growth, we also spotted a few more light-hearted stories this month. That includes the sale of Lance Armstrong’s Austin home and a new list of rankings that puts an unexpected Texas city at the top when it comes to quality of life.
Learn about that and more in our May real estate news roundup.
Lance Armstrong’s Mansion Sells
Lance Armstrong, a long-time Austin resident and former pro cyclist, has sold his mansion in Pease Park in Old West Austin for an undisclosed price. The buyer? One of the biggest names in the fan business, Carey Smith, who founded Big Ass Fans, reports the Austin American-Statesman. The 8,000-plus square foot home had been listed for $7.5 million a few months ago. Smith plans to remodel it.
A Small Break for Some Tax Bills
As home values rise, many homeowners feel like taxes are on a never ending climb. Well, there’s a small break in the works. The Austin City Council approved raising the homestead exemption from 8 percent to 10 percent of a home’s appraised value, the Austin Business Journal reported. So, for someone with a median value $303,500 home, that could save about $19 a year. Overall, that’s a decreased of $4.8 million in tax dollars in the city’s property tax revenue coffers.
Austin Mulls North Austin MLS Soccer Stadium
Austin is on the verge of getting a Major League Soccer team. But, first comes the stadium. And, no matter where it goes, it will have a huge impact on the neighborhoods around it on game days — and as businesses crop up around. The prevailing plan, for now, is to place it at the “McKalla Place” site near the Domain in North Austin, KVUE reported. That part of Austin has already undergone a major and rapid transformation with the influx and growth of big tech companies and mixed-used development at the Domain.
U.S. News & World’s Report on Best Places to Live
Austin came in as the 21st best place to live in a new list of the 25 best places to live in the U.S. for quality of life in U.S. News & World Reports’ latest rankings. Austin ranked first overall as the best place to live in 2018, but this quality of life ranking put Austin lower on the list. Brownsville came in at No. 3, in part because of its short work commutes. Lancaster, Pennsylvania, ranked second and McAllen took the top ranking for quality of life — although it was 115 overall as a best place to live.
New Home Sales Climb Nationally
Homebuilders have been busy building. Now buyers are busy buying. The Commerce Department’s latest report shows new home sales increased 6.7 percent in May. That’s the highest rate since November last year. The South has the strongest increase in new home sales. Meanwhile, new home sales in the Northeast decreased by 10 percent. The West saw an 8.7 percent decline, and the Midwest was flat, CNBC reported.
Existing Home Sales Fall Nationally
While Austin’s market is booming, the national picture wasn’t as great in May. The National Association of Realtors reported that existing home sales fell by 0.4 percent in May. Economists had expected it to climb by about a percent. The decline marked the second month in a row of slowing sales. The slower sales are likely caused by a slight increase to mortgage rates, rising prices and a limited supply of affordable homes, CNBC reported.