The August 2019 Real Estate News Roundup

Home sales in the greater Austin area are on fire — just like the late-summer climate — with a July sales increase of nearly 12%. Despite the blaze of activity in the surrounding areas, sales in the city of Austin itself remained flat because of inventory issues.  

Commercial activity has been busy: new apartments on E. Seventh and a replacement building by Horizon Bank.  And the Obamas invest bigtime in Martha’s Vineyard, and we’ve got the scoop on celeb home values in London! 

Read on to learn more!  


It’s Not Just the Weather That’s Hot

Austin-area home sales set an all-time high for any July on record, as sales increased 11.7% to 3,439 home sales, according to the Austin Board of Realtors. However, despite the record for the greater area, home sales within the city of Austin remained flat due to limited housing inventory. The median price for single family homes rose slightly by 3.2% to $325,000. During the same period, new listings increased 4% to 3,841 listings.


New Apartment Complex on East Seventh Street

A new apartment complex on E. Seventh St. will have 279 apartment units. Austin-based Oden Hughes is developing the project, called Lenox 7th, and expects it to open in early 2021. The developer says the building will include 28 units for income-qualified tenants, and a $250,000 contribution will be made to the East Austin Conservancy, a nonprofit that works to preserve affordability and economic diversity in East Austin. 


Horizon Swapping Old for New

Horizon Bank is making plans to build a 16-story office building at 600 W. Fifth St. The bank, which has operated in Austin since 1905, already has a 9,000-square-foot building at the site, and will demolish it to make way for the planned 16-story office building. The $46 million project is expected to start in January 2020 and wrap up in August of 2021. Horizon Bank has several branch offices throughout Central Texas and is led by CEO James Dyess.


No Surprise: Another Californian Moves to Austin

Former Google marketing manager Adam Singer announced recently that, fed up with the Bay Area’s astronomical home prices, he and his wife will be moving to Austin. He’s already purchased land and says he will work with a local design center to construct his home. Real estate company Compass found that, including mortgage payments, taxes, and insurance, owning a median-priced home in the Bay Area costs about $8,500 per month.


Obamas Acquiring a Property on Martha’s Vineyard

TMZ reported that former President Barack Obama and wife Michelle Obama are in escrow on a 6,900-square-foot beachfront property on Martha’s Vineyard, the chic Massachusetts island New Englanders flock to each summer. Listed at $14,850,000, the 29-acre estate has two guest wings, seven bedrooms, a pool, an outdoor fireplace, a chef’s kitchen, and vaulted ceilings. The Obamas rented the home this summer from Boston Celtics owner Wyc Grousebeck.


Get a Leg Up with Wellness Real Estate

Celebrity housing expert Kofi Nartey of Compass, a real estate technology company, says that builders and developers who embrace “wellness real estate” will have an advantage in saturated markets. Developers who embrace wellness building practices design and build homes that optimize buyers’ physical and mental health, such as by using low-toxicity materials and including rooms specifically designed for healthy activities such as exercise and meditation. Other features might include smart refrigerators and product delivery areas on porches.


Mega Popular; Mega Home Value

Just like their American counterparts, British celebrities spend lots of money on big houses. Hello! magazine recently wrote about home values for some big names: David and Victoria Beckham’s home is worth $38.5 million, for example. Other celebs and their home’s value: Simon Cowell, $12.2 million; Jamie Oliver $10.8 million; Elton John: $8 million; Adele: $11 million. American George Clooney and his wife Amal Clooney own a $12 million home that sits on the banks of the Thames — as well as a couple other homes, of course.