April 2016 Real Estate News Roundup

Spring has arrived, and it’s bringing good news for many people who are selling homes in Austin and across the nation. Home sales in early spring have exceed the rate of sales last year as the housing market continues its recovery.

The pace of home sales across the country climbed by 5.1 percent in March. In Austin, the change was even more dramatic, with a 9.3 percent increase in sales. And that’s happening while prices rise.

While more people are able to buy a home, fewer people are able to buy vacation homes, which may be a sign of more caution among high-income families. But that doesn’t mean there’s not a lot of blockbuster deals going down. One tequila baron in Austin just put one of his local homes on the market for $7.5 million.

The improving trends are a good sign for many homeowners heading into the most active real estate season of the year. Let’s take a deeper look at the top stories in real estate from April.

Austin Workers Often Can’t Afford to Live Close to Home

A new set of data put together by Austin realtors and affordable housing advocates shows that many of Austin’s most affluent neighborhoods also contain many low paying jobs. That means that many of those employees working in service industry jobs have long commutes to jobs offering relatively low pay, according to a story in the Austin Business Journal. A huge component of this dynamic is how rapidly Austin home prices have risen. The new data shows that, since 2012, housing prices have increased 39 percent in Austin while wages have increased only 2.5 percent.

Tequila Baron in Austin Puts His Massive Ranch Up for Sale

Ever wonder what it’s like to the one of the most successful tequila makers in history? You can get a glimpse if you drive out to Dripping Springs to see the home of John Paul DeJoria, who owns Patron tequila. The “Patron de Paz” ranch hit the market for $7.5 million. It has 96-acres along Fitzhugh Creek and a 7,540-square-foot home, the Austin Business Journal reported. It also comes with 120 exotic animals, including gazelle. Check out photos in the story.

After a Brief Lull, Austin Home Sales Climb Fast Once Again

Austin’s red hot market cooled off for a couple months earlier this year. But it ramped up big time in March, with 9.3 percent more homes sold than during the same timeframe a year ago. And that happened while the median price climbed by 7.8 percent to $278,000 in the Austin region. The climbing prices are only intensifying Austin’s years-long debate over how to provide more affordable housing and make sure that long-time residents can afford to stay local.

Home Sales Rebound Nationally

Across the nation, single-family home sales shot upward by 5.1 percent this March, compared to March 2015. That translates to about 5.4 million housing units sold, and many see it as a sign of the housing market’s continued recovery. That rate of sales even beat what many economists had projected. But sales continue to fluctuate in the wake of new mortgage disclosure rules, according to a report by Reuters.

The Good News in Residential Housing Doesn’t Translate to Vacation Homes

We all love the idea of a vacation home awaiting us in a beautiful location. But fewer people are able to make that dream come true. The sale of vacation homes declined by more than 18 percent during 2015, according to a new report by the National Association of Realtors. That meant 920,000 vacation homes sold last year compared to the 1.3 million that sold in 2014. It may be a sign of more caution because the median income of vacation homeowners climbed to $103,700 in 2015 from about $94,000 in 2014, Realtor.com reported.