The July 2017 Real Estate News Roundup

Halfway through 2017, and Austin’s residential real estate market remains hot. Literally. But even as temperatures rise with the “dog days” of summer, the Central Texas housing market isn’t quite as hot as it was a year ago.

A new report showed the pace of sales climbed by 2 percent in the Austin metro area, and median prices climbed 6.4 percent year-over-year in June. These are still good gains — they’re just not the type we saw last year.

Meanwhile, the pace of sales nationwide slowed a bit in June as prices hit an all-time high. That’s a normal economic reaction to rising prices, and it’s one many will continue to monitor. In essence, the dip comes down to a shortage of affordably-priced residential real estate listings for sale.

Meanwhile, several exceptional properties have hit the market. For example, our roundup includes details of U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s Hill Country getaway and a massive property purchased by one of Austin’s most successful business founders.

Dig into the details in our July real estate news roundup.

A Stately Estate in Austin

Austin has long been home to famous politicians. Among them is U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who is now trying to sell his Horseshoe Bay vacation home. Tillerson, who is the former CEO of Exxon Mobil Corp., is selling his 5,900-square-foot mansion on Applehead Island for about $4 million, the Austin Business Journal reported. It has a two-slip boat dock, a wine cellar and a fireplace.

Being Green Earns You More Green

A new study by the U.S. Green Building Council found that homes built to LEED standards in Texas are worth $25,000 more than their less efficient peers, the San Antonio Business Journal reported. And, of course, those more efficient homes save on utility bills. The study showed LEED certified homes use up to 30 percent less energy.

1-800 Contacts Founder Buys Huge Swath on Lake Austin

If you’ve ever paddled down the Colorado River on Lake Austin, you know how magnificent these waterfront properties can be. Jonathan Coon, the founder of 1-800 Contacts, recently bought a big undeveloped piece of land in the area and plans to build a residential development. The 145-acre area is near Shepherd Mountain just west of the Pennybacker Bridge. We don’t know how much it’s really worth, but Travis County appraised it at $33.7 million.

Home Values Keep Rising — Reaching an All-Time High

The median value of a home in the U.S. just surpassed $200,000. That’s up 7 percent from last year. It’s not exactly news that the median price is more than $200,000, but a new look by Zillow shows the value of all homes, not just the ones that were reported as recently sold. That has its caveats, but it’s also a big indication that values have been on a steady march north. “The national housing market remains red hot and shows no signs of slowing, even as some local markets like the Bay Area have noticeably cooled,” one expert told CNBC.

A Surge in Foreign Investment in U.S. Residential Property

Foreign investors are flooding the U.S. residential real estate market by investing in big, high-rise condos and other major housing developments that portend big returns as the U.S. economy continues to churn out relatively positive numbers and the real estate market continues to heat up. Yahoo reported foreign buyers and recent immigrants bought $153 billion in residential property, which is up about 49 percent from last year. China tops the list, and investors tend to be focused on sunny Florida, California and Texas.

Sales Slow Nationwide as Prices Hit All-Time High

Perhaps the U.S. market has grown in value too much for many buyers who are on the fence financially. Home sales didn’t match expectations in June, perhaps because prices climbed considerably. Sales slipped 1.8 percent. The median price of a home increased 6.5 percent from a year ago, reaching an all-time high of $263,800, Reuters reported. The rocky market is created by a lack of affordable homes on available for low-to-mid-income buyers.