The December 2019 Real Estate News Roundup

The holiday season was no reason for a slowdown in Austin’s ever-busy real estate activity. Lots of redevelopment is in the works, properties are changing hands, and of course, our fair city made another “best of’ list — good news for people with rental property. 

Newly constructed homes are getting smaller, and we have a list of expensive celebrity home transactions in 2019. 

Read on to learn more!

Apartment Complex Going In Near Historic Subdivision

Big changes are in store for a small neighborhood off East Riverside, as a 300-unit apartment complex is about to break ground next to the historic Penick Place subdivision, which backs up to Riverside Golf Course, and where golf legend Harvey Penick’s 1951 house remains. The three acres of land that front the neighborhood and border East Riverside are home to numerous wildlife types, having somewhat miraculously remained undeveloped all these years. But that will change with the new development, called Zoey, which will bring 446,000 square feet of space in two buildings, along with a seven-story parking garage with 421 spaces.

Good News for Landlords

Austin has come in at No. 1 on another national list. Zillow found that Austin had the highest rent increase in 50 markets measured by the digital real estate database company. Zillow says Austin renters are paying twice as much as they were 10 years ago, and the average rent paid has gone up 5% in just the past year. After Austin, Raleigh and Denver had the largest rent increases in the 2010s, according to Zillow, while Memphis, New Orleans and Virginia Beach had the smallest increases.

New Owner for Important Property

One of Austin’s most high-profile downtown developments will soon change owners. The property, known as Block 21 and anchored by the Moody Theater and the W Austin, will be sold by Austin real estate company Stratus Properties to Ryman Hospitality Properties of Nashville for $275 million. Ryman is a lodging, entertainment, and media conglomerate, and owns and operates the Grand Ole Opry and Ryman Auditorium, as well as hotels and resorts.

Old AISD Headquarters to be Redeveloped into Office, Retail Space

As AISD plans to move to its new headquarters in the nine-story Southfield Building at I-35 and Ben White Blvd, the soon-to-be owner of the districts’ existing HQ, Schlosser Development Corp., indicates that they will develop the site into a mix of office and retail space. The 2.7-acre tract at 1111 W. Sixth Street, west of Baylor Street, will be largely torn down and redeveloped. Demolition is expected to begin in early 2020, and the first tenant should move in in the fall of 2020. 

Newly Built Single-Family Homes Continue to Be Smaller

Digital real estate database company Zillow predicts that the square footage of newly built single-family homes will continue to shrink nationwide in 2020, a pattern they’ve seen since 2016. Zillow says that millennials prefer denser, more urban homes, and older homeowners are looking for smaller, easier-to-maintain homes as they prepare to downsize. Furthermore, a shortage of buildable land in desirable areas, volatile building-material prices and competition for skilled construction labor have impacted the trend to smaller homes. 

Most Expensive Celebrity Home Sales in 2019

2019 was a big year for big property transactions by the rich and famous. One of the biggest included actors Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner’s post-divorce sale of their eight-bedroom Pacific Palisades, Calif., mansion to Adam Levine for $32 million. Actor Bruce Willis sold his estate on Turks and Caicos for $27 million. Supermodel Christie Brinkley sold her mansion in Sag Harbor, New York, for around $17.5 million. And tennis superstar Serena Williams sold her six-bedroom mansion in Los Angeles for $8.1 million, netting a cool $2 million profit. Oprah purchased actor Jeff bridges Montecito, Calif. compound for $6.85 million.