Relocating to Austin? We Can Help

September 27, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

At last count, 130 people a day are moving to Austin. Some rent and some buy homes, but all have the same concerns and needs. Top considerations are affordability, safety, good schools and commute time to work. Most are also looking for community. People want to walk or bike to parks, coffee shops, restaurants and shopping, and they don’t want to spend hours in their cars getting to and from work. The key to a good relocation experience is a good real estate team who can help sort through the data and help you make the best decisions for your family.

A good real estate professional will listen to the needs of each client relocating to the area and help them make a plan for their move. We put our plans in writing with a timeline and schedule so that the relocation is a smooth one. By coordinating with the Realtor in the previous city, we can time the marketing and closing of the client’s current property with orientation visits followed by the home buying trip on this end so that the process is seamless.

It requires a great team in place on both ends to make that happen. On both ends, a seasoned Realtor who knows the market and can negotiate the best outcome is an essential. We belong to an elite network of agents who provide outstanding service that gets top results, so ask us for a recommendation. A trustworthy and honest lender is also required—one who has competitive rates, in-house underwriting and processing, an approved list of competent and local appraisers and one who can deliver the loan at the quoted rate for an on-time closing. No one wants to sit in a hotel room waiting on a loan to be processed that was supposed to close three days ago. Yes, that can and does happen if you don’t have the right lender.  We have a list of preferred lenders based on the types of loans our clients need.  We chose them because of their honesty, their service and their track record for getting the documents to closing on time.

Many others on the team we’ve assembled make a difference too. By the way, we are not compensated in any way from any vendor that we recommend. We use them because they are experts in their field and have served our clients well time and time again.  Any benefits or bonuses are passed along directly to our clients for their use and enjoyment.

There are lots of moving parts in a real estate transaction, especially when you are moving to a new city and don’t know the professionals you’ll need to make your move a success.  As natives of Austin, we can help you narrow down the areas based on your needs and provide you with information about schools, neighborhoods, and your unique interests. We can also suggest the best inspectors, engineers, architects, designers, builders, electrician, plumber, roofer and other service providers. We are your keys to the city.



Yes, we’ve even stood in line in the pouring rain at 5:00 am to get a client’s child into the preschool they wanted. The bottom line is that we do whatever it takes to meet our client’s needs and make them feel welcome. We’ve hosted new families for Thanksgiving dinner, hosted bed and breakfast at our home, taken meals on move-in day, done a million airport runs, boarded pets and tended to medical emergencies. We love what we do and are happy to serve. It is our pleasure!


Laura Duggan, West Austin Properties, 3312 River Road, Austin, Texas, 78703; 512-750-2425;

What’s Happening in the Austin Real Estate Market?

September 12, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

I had the pleasure of speaking to the Great Hills Ladies’ Club this morning about what’s happening in the Austin real estate market. I outlined what things affect our real estate market, what statistics we watch to spot trends and specific data on current listings and homes sold in the Great Hills area.

Where we are now—

Population of Austin close to 2M; 11th largest city

11,000 real estate agents; Currently 7214 homes for sale (11% more listings than last year)

Last big boom was 2006; Last bust started in 2008

Market correction is due in the future, but how severe.  We fared pretty well in the last one.

Real estate is local and cyclical –usually runs in 10 year cycles.

In Austin, economically we are stronger than most. Our job growth is at 7.1% (the average is 6%).  The unemployment rate is around 3%, compared to 4.4% in Texas and 4.7% in the US. We have a very diverse economy—State government, the University of Texas, high tech, bio med, music and entertainment. It’s also a mecca for entrepreneurship. Even though the traffic is bad, the good far outweighs the bad. We are on everyone’s top 10 list.

What things affect the real estate market—Things we can control and things we can’t control

Cant’ Control—

Job growth and employment

Interest rates

Stock market—when stocks free fall it shakes consumer confidence; some people get out of stock market and put money into real estate

Consumer confidence—the real estate market freezes when consumers are worried. They don’t make big financial decisions if there is uncertainty.

Affordability—rising taxes, rising costs of utilities and maintenance, building infrastructure

The number of buyers or sellers in the local market at any given time

Can Control—

Educating our client to put them in the most competitive position to buy or sell.

Buyer—preapproved for loan; understanding market dynamics; learn the contracts; written offer letter to go into the presentation

Seller—market ready; professional photography; title work complete; priced correctly; marketing plan executed.

Communication—For buyers it is scanning the market for all sources of homes (silent market, networking groups, social media, letters to neighborhood) For sellers it is following up after each showing, market updates and being available to answer any questions and concerns. Constant communication with both.

What things do I look at monthly to watch for market changes?

Real estate is all about supply and demand—Inventory is a big key. # of houses, seasonal, building or contracting.

More houses on the market and inventory is high, prices drop over time. (Buyer’s market)

Fewer houses, prices increase over time.  (Seller’s market)

Months of inventory is a key stat that we look at. Take active number of listings and divide by the numbers of sold in one month.   12 actives divided by 3 solds = 4 months of inventory.  If no other houses came onto the market it would take 4 months to sell 12 homes.

Days on Market is another statistic that we watch. How many days is it taking for listings in an area to go from active to pending.

We publish our market report monthly on

Other things to watch:

Unemployment numbers

Job growth

Interest rates

Venture capital funds

Tax values and tax rates

Where are we now?

For the past 3-4 years we have experienced 8-10% appreciation in house prices each year. This year, it’s slowed to 5-6%. I see lots of Realtors selling their own properties. For the past 3-4 years we’ve had extremely low inventory, demand has been high, multiple offers, bidding wars, rising prices. Buyers drove until they could qualify.  For the first time in a long time, we are starting to see price reductions, lower than asking price offers, appraisals coming in lower than buyers expected even agent bonuses and pleas to Bring Offers. Days on the market are increasing. The average days on the market is 43, 5 days longer than last year. Inventory is building slowly. This usually happens in late summer, but it started earlier this year. Buyers are looking at more homes before making offers, and then making offers at or below list price. They are studying the numbers harder.

What about Great Hills?

Currently 17 homes on the market;  In the last 90, days 22 homes sold and closed

List prices ranged from $474,500 to $1,100,000; sold prices $462,500 to $1,000,000

Days on Market 8; Median sq ft. 2650; Median sales price $560,000; Median price per sq ft. $225

Only one zip code selling faster, excellent schools, access, area and subdivision amenities

As always, real estate is local and specific to your neighborhood.  To find out the data for your home, I invite you to contact me for a consultation. Thank you to the Great Hills Ladies Club for inviting me to speak.

Laura Duggan, Broker/Owner, West Austin Properties, 3312 River Road, Austin, TX 78703. 512-750-2425; 

August Real Estate Market Report Shows Early Slowdown in Austin

August 23, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

As temperatures in Austin start to broil, the real estate market typically starts to cool this time of the year. This year, sales began to slow a little earlier than normal causing real estate agents to wonder a little earlier than usual why their listings aren’t flying off the market like they were a few months ago.  Part of the answer is that seasonally, we always have a build up in sales during the late winter and early spring months then a crest generally around mid July. This year that peak came at the beginning of June.



Do you think buyers are just worn out? Rising prices, multiple offers on multiple properties, investors with cash and the sheer number of buyers competing for homes can wear a buyer out. Buyers may be waiting for the market to cool slightly, prices to level off and for fewer buyers to be competing for the fall inventory. We’ve had more pending home sales in July than in the past 8 years, but there is also a higher inventory, almost 12% more homes for sale than last year at this time. More inventory, fewer buyers. In most price ranges, we are moving from an extreme seller’s market (under $500,000) to a more normal seller’s market. ($500,000 to $1M). Over $1M we go to a normal to an extreme buyer’s market.


It’s hard to believe that there are 139 homes in the MLS, and a number more that are on the silent market, above $3,000,000. Luxury home sales have been slower this year than last and I expect that trend to continue at least into next year. Falling oil prices, market instability, the economic woes overseas and an unpredictable election year are causing luxury home buyers to sit on the sidelines. Even in Austin where our economy is fed by many different sources and our outlook remains good, housing at the luxury end will see increased days on market and prices falling as they go up price band.

Real estate is local, and as always, we invite you to contact us directly for specific data in your areas of interest. We are here to serve you!  For a copy of our latest Market Report, visit our website.

Submitted by Laura Duggan, REALTOR, 512-750-2425,

West Austin Properties, 3312 River Road, Austin, TX 78703.



May Austin Real Estate Market Report Summary

May 15, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

The Austin real estate market continues to boom, and in fact, is hitting record sales. Between January and the end of April, more homes sold in 2016 than any time in Austin history.  2016 even surpassed the prior two highest years of 2006 and 2007.  For homes sales by zip code and price band, take a look at our latest real estate market report.



4,764 homes are currently pending, the highest number of pendings in Austin history for any month. Inventory is higher this year and that is helping boost those pending numbers. In fact, if we had more inventory, we know we’d have more home sales as we are still seeing multiple buyers compete for our listings and other buyers competing with our buyers for homes. There are currently more homes for sale than the previous three years.  There are 13.88% more homes for sale now than last year at this time.
Austin has two types of markets though:  Under $1,000,000 it is a Seller’s Market, where demand outpaces the number of homes for sale.  Over $1,000,000 it is an “Extreme Buyer’s Market.”
  • 47% of all Austin homes listed for sale are priced under $400,000.  At all price ranges under $400,000 the market is an “Extreme Seller’s Market” resulting in High Appreciation.  There are now only 119 homes listed under $100,000 in the entire Austin area, representing 2% of all homes listed.
  • 40% of all Austin homes listed for sale are priced between $400,000 and $1,000,000.  At all price ranges in this price band, the market is defined as a “Normal Seller’s Market”, with Moderate Appreciation.
  • 13% of the Austin homes listed for sale are priced over $1,000,000.  In every price band over $1,000,000 thee are so few sales compared to inventory that it is defined as an “Extreme Sellers Market” with High Depreciation.
Interests rates remain at record lows. Only three times in history have rates been any lower. Conventional rates are running around 3.6% and qualifying is easier this year than last year because some of the lending guidelines have been relaxed.
Of the homes that sold in April, the average number of days they had been on the market was 44 days.  This is 13.73% LESS than a year ago.
Historically during May and June, the number of homes sold each month increases, pending sales start leveling off, the total number of homes for sale increases, and the average days a home is on the market before being sold decreases.
Historically starting in July or August, the number of homes sold each month, the number of pending sales, and the number of homes for sale begins to decline.  Days on the market for homes sold begin to increase.
Affordability in Austin    Five years ago in 2011, 41% of all home for sale were priced under $200,000.  Today only 10% of all home for sale are priced under $200,000.  And 5 years ago there were more choices for buyers with 3931 homes to choose from.  Today there are only 525 listed for sale under $200,000.
It is still a great time to buy or sell a home in Austin, Texas!  We would love to assist you with all of your real estate needs.
Posted by Laura Duggan, West Austin Properties, 3312 River Road, Austin, Texas 78703, 512-750-2425.

Austin Real Estate Market Remains Strong for 2016

January 12, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

As we begin the new year, the Austin real estate market continues at a strong pace. The average sold price in our market is up 12.4% over the same time last year, and more homes sold in December than in any previous December. In fact, our holidays were filled with more buyer showings and closings than in recent memory.  Take a look at all of the sales by zip code and price band in our January 2016 Real Estate Market Report.



Demand for homes is still high with the consistent growth in our city causing homes to continue to appreciate at sometimes double digit rates. Even in the first week of January our buyers have been competing for houses that have received multiple offers, a phenom that usually takes place during the spring and summer months. For the last 6 months, pendings have been at record levels.

Currently, there are just under 5000 homes on the market in the Austin MLS., a few more than in the previous two years but still way short of normal. That number translates to an average of 2.3 months of inventory, still a buyer’s market.

Dr. Ted Jones, Chief Economist at The Real Estate Center at Texas A&M, gave Austin a “full speed ahead” rating for Austin in 2016 today at his Outlook for Real Estate and the Economy because of our strong job growth.  Jones reports that we have more jobs than ever before in our history and that our retail boom is just beginning. Income here went up 6.6% of last year and new companies are relocating their headquarters and regional offices here. To those coming in, our real estate is still a bargain compared to the places they are leaving.  Jones also predicted that the Austin market won’t be affected by rising interest rates, that he said would reach 5.5%  or by the oil industry because of our growth.

Real estate is local. If we can help you with an equity analysis of your current home or help you start building equity in another one, please call on us. We are all natives and happy to help you with all of your real estate needs. As Jones pointed out, real estate has proven time and again that it is the very best investment one can make. That certainly proves true for Austin, Texas.

Submitted by Laura Duggan, Broker, West Austin Properties, 3312 River Road, Austin, Texas 78703. 512-750-2425 and

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