The February 2019 Real Estate News Roundup

The February 2019 Real Estate News Roundup

The new year is off to a hot start. Although slower home sales in December showed a few signs that the housing market is struggling, lower interest rates are foreshadowing a potentially strong spring for home sales.

The new stats come as Austin completed yet another record-breaking year of home sales. But the data is only part of an interesting month of real estate news in January.

In our latest roundup, we show you two ways of living large. One is all about big city living and the most expensive home ever sold in the U.S. Hint: It’s on the 79th floor overlooking a famous park. The other story is all about west Texas ranch living — and this newly-available property is next door to where “Giant” was filmed.

Learn about those developments and more in our January Real Estate News Roundup.

Austin’s Record Year in Home Sales

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

Austin once again set a new record for home sales in 2018. A new report from the Austin Board of Realtors showed that $11.9 billion worth of residential real estate was sold in Central Texas last year. Meanwhile, the median price of Austin metro area homes increased 3.6 percent compared to 2017. Sales climbed annually by 2.1 percent. Inside Austin city limits, median prices climbed 4.1 percent annually to $375,760. The number of single-family home sales logged remained mostly flat. That said, December was a little slower in 2018 than in the year prior for the metro area. Sales decreased 11 percent in the Austin metro area. Meanwhile, median prices climbed 3.6 percent to $310,400.

A New Form of Affordable Living

Low-income millennials may have a new option to keep rent down. Some of the new companies known for their coworking spaces, such as WeWork, are opening co-living business models to American cities. That typically means shared amenities and short leases. The New York Business Journal reported that Berlin-based Medici Living Group plans to open 1,300 units in the U.S., including some in Austin.

The Most Expensive U.S. Home Ever

It’s pretty obvious that a penthouse overlooking New York City’s Central Park costs a lot. But this sale is turning almost everyone’s head. Billionaire hedge fund founder Ken Griffin has reportedly purchased his still-under-construction penthouse for $238 million, NBC News reports. That’s a record in the United States. Prior to this, the most expensive home sale in New York was that of Austin’s Michael Dell, who spent a reported $100 million on his condo.

U.S. Home Sales Slow

December was a rough month for home sales in the U.S. Home sales hit their lowest level in three years, according to data form the National Association of Realtors. Single-family home sales fell 6.4 percent nationally. Reuters reported that economists expected a dip — but only of 1 percent. Meanwhile, overall 2018 home sales fell 3.1 percent in the U.S. But falling mortgage rates are expected to help in the short-term.

A Texas Ranch Suited for a Giant

If you’ve ever dreamed of owning a big ranch in West Texas, there’s a real gem awaiting. The Austin Business Journal reported that a 9,155-acre ranch in the Davis Mountains is on the market for $30.4 million. The main home on the property has three bedrooms, an office and there are plenty of barns and pens to accommodate your ranch working dreams. The property is prime for hunting, and James Dean and Elizabeth Taylor once filmed a movie just a few miles away — “Giant.”