The July Real Estate News Roundup

It’s the heart of the home buying and selling season. And, both nationally and in Austin (HYPERLINK TO ABoR SALES STORY), homes sales continue to increase despite rising prices and other factors that have made it tougher for many first-time homebuyers to make a big purchase.

The northeast coast and Texas have both shown a variety of good trends in home sales, making it a strong market for sellers. And, while new construction home sales have slowed, an increase in renting has also opened up opportunities for investment property owners.

Ready to dive deeper? Catch up on some of the hottest stories in real estate from July…

A slowdown in new home sales: New home sales across the nation slumped in June, dropping 7 percent to the lowest level in more than half a year, according to American City Business Journals. Nationally, the median price now sits at $281,000 for a brand new home. Those recently-built properties are just a shred of the overall housing market, which has shown strong growth in recent months.

Student debt isn’t doing any favors for home sales: It’s not easy to save up for a 20 percent down payment if a big chunk of your income is flowing toward student loans. That’s the skinny of a new study from Trulia that shows that in 30 of the top 100 markets nationwide, it’s harder to save up to buy a home than it is without a college degree. A few factors here: Home prices are rising and so is the cost of going to college. That’s particularly true in hot markets like San Francisco and Austin, where home prices have soared in recent years.

Darn those taxes: Isabel Villarreal of Harlingen, Texas won the 2015 HGTV Smart Home in the Zilker neighborhood. But, as Austin Culturemap reports, she can’t afford the taxes and is putting it up for sale. That means the 3-bedroom, 3-bathroom home could be scooped up by another owner. There’s no word on the price at the moment. But with the latest in home technologies and its placement in one of Austin’s best neighborhoods will make it an attractive buy for someone who can afford the taxes.

Texas real estate booms: Need more evidence that Texas is an attractive place to live? How about a new study by WalletHub that puts 12 Texas cities in the top 25 best places for first-time homebuyers. Overland Park, Kansas grabbed the top spot. But Allen, Frisco, Plano, Carrollton, McKinney, Grand Prairie, Richardson, Garland, Arlington, Austin, Denton and Irving all made the cut. The message here: Don’t mess with Texas when it comes to great, affordable places to live.

Austin rents are climbing, but renters are smiling still: A new survey that keys on city satisfaction, local economic strength, schools, taxes and commutes shows that Austin renters are happy with what they’ve got. The city got an A+, according to a story in Culturemap Austin. That put Austin at No. 4 in the country.

Worried about a housing bubble? Read this: Home sales are up and many expect the trends to remain positive as we move through the second half of the year, according to a story on But it’s not all sunny. Wages have been rising at 2 percent a year while home prices and rental rates climb at a faster climb — around 4 percent. Meanwhile, tight credit and student loan debt have all made it tougher for many families to afford a home.

Maxavenue Staff