The December 2018 Real Estate News Roundup

The December 2018 Real Estate News Roundup

On the national level, the housing market has shown some signs of a slowdown. It’s likely driven by rising mortgage rates and a lack of affordable options in many big cities where first-time buyers are flocking to.

But, here in Austin, the housing market continues to boom. It’s almost certain 2018 will go down as another record-breaking year for home sales, despite quickly rising median home prices. In fact, the city continues to be ranked one of the top markets to watch going in 2019, which comes just as Apple announced plans to build a massive campus on the northern edge of the city.

You’ll learn more about the latest housing tends below in our roundup. And, if you’re looking for something more entertaining, check out this list of top real estate deals from 2018, which includes a $21 million home owned by Bernie Madoff and Prince’s amazing estate on an island in the Caribbean.

Learn about those developments and more in our December real estate news roundup.

The Texas Boom Continues

Favorable tax rates, agreeable weather and a steady stream of good jobs continue to draw a huge number of people to move to Texas. New U.S. Census data shows Texas leads the nation in growth for the timespan between July 2017 and July 2018. The 379,128 overall growth puts Texas’ population at a staggering 28.7 million, the Austin Business Journal reported. Florida came in second in population growth — followed by California.

Austin Home Sales Remain Hot

The median price of a home in the Austin metro area increased 2.2 percent year-over-year, reaching $301,391. That happened while the number of homes sold increased by one point — and new listings increased 2 percent. It’s almost certain Austin will end 2018 with yet another record-breaking year in terms of homes sold and overall transaction volume. The metro shows no signs of slowing down. Apple this month announced plans to build a new, $1 billion campus that will bring thousands of new tech employees to town.

Pending Sales Decline Nationally

Folks are a bit reluctant to sign on the dotted line, according to the latest national pending home sales stats. The index tracks contract signings for previously owned homes, and that showed a 0.7 percent month-over-month decline in November, which is the latest period for which data is available from the National Association of Realtors. The Wall Street Journal reports that rising borrowing costs and limited housing supplies are making it more expensive to buy a home, which deters many first-time buyers.

Baseball Player Vernon Wells Lists Home for $8.5M

Big time sluggers often have big time homes. Such is the case for Vernon Wells, the former New York Yankee, Los Angeles Angel and Toronto Blue Jay. His 16,238 square foot home is up for sale for $8.5 million. It’s up in North Texas and has five bedrooms, seven bathrooms and an indoor batting cage. The Dallas Business Journal reports that it also has a hair salon, gym, sauna and massage room.

The Rent is Always Due

Perhaps not surprising to renters and landlords, Austin takes the cake when it comes to rising rental prices. A new RentCafe report shows apartments climbed 4.4 percent in cost in the past year — from $1,304 on average to $1,361. Average rents in Austin are higher, on average, than Texas’ other big cities, Curbed reports.

A Big Year Ahead

Austin ranked No. 5 on Trulia’s latest list of top housing markets to watch in 2019. The Austin Business Journal reported that Austin showed relatively low vacancy rates and high job growth. The city, however, continues to struggle with affordability. It ranked No. 79 for that.

Live It Up Like Aretha Franklin

The home Aretha Franklin once owned in Detroit has been sold. The 5,600-square-foot home sold for $300,000. While it’s a historic mansion with a golf course out back, it had fallen into foreclosure a decade ago. It’s one of five Detroit properties the Queen of Soul owned, reported.