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Bill Morris
RE/MAX Capital City
13018 Research Blvd
Austin, TX 78750

Direct or Text: 512-785-3345
Email:              bmorris@remax.net

Texas Broker License # 505218

We take pride in our homes.  For most of us, our home is our largest physical and financial asset.  It's where we spend time with friends and family, where we may go for peace and quiet, and where we spend a lot of our hard-earned money.  It is much more than shelter, more than a residence.  It is "our place," with all the physical, mental, and emotional ties that implies.

Investment real estate shouldn't carry the emotional attachments of a home, but it can be a critical source of income and financial growth.  Financial assets -- stocks, bonds, etc. -- are an important foundation for many investors.  Real estate can provide more stability, current income, and predictable long-term growth.

I represent both buyers and sellers of residential and investment real estate throughout the Austin metropolitan area, which means first-hand market knowledge is brought to bear on serving your needs:

  • My relationship with a home seller begins with a thorough understanding of the client's objectives, needs, and timing. My ongoing analysis of properties and market areas throughout Central Texas provides the basis for a comprehensive analysis of each client's home.  Price consultation, property preparation and staging, and broad promotion of each property follow, and frequent communication -- showing feedback, market updates, and ongoing advice and counsel -- round out a successful listing engagement.  As a starting point, just ask me for a FREE Market Analysis. That may answer your immediate questions, or it could become the basis of a more comprehensive discussion.  That choice is yours.
  • My approach to buyer representation is also full service – shopping, previewing, price and market consultation, contracting, negotiating, coordination of inspections, appraisals, repairs, and closing details, and follow-up beyond the closing of your purchase to ensure your lasting satisfaction.  Looking for a new home?  Use Quick Search or Map Search to browse an up-to-date database of all available properties in the area, or use my Dream Home Finder form and I'll conduct a personalized search for you.

In both roles, honest advice and clear communication are what my clients expect.  The fact that more than 90% of my business is with repeat clients and their referred friends and family is a sign of success in meeting those expectations.  Client ratings that earned my selection for 6 consecutive years as a Five Star Professional -- representing less than 7% of Central Texas agents -- are also very gratifying, and humbling.

As you consider selling or buying Central Texas real estate, you'll find a lot of information on this website that can help.  Much of it is updated regularly, so come back often:

  • National and regional Market Trends is a thorough monthly e-newsletter you'll enjoy.
  • Average Mortgage Rates are up-to-date weekly.
  • As often as time allows, I update My Thoughts ...  on topics that I find important and interesting.
  • You'll also find regular market news on my Facebook and Twitter pages.

You'll find a details About Me and my approach to the practice of the real estate profession, and about why I am proud to be affiliated with RE/MAX and RE/MAX Capital City.

My business and personal experience tell me that service is the key to success and I look forward to serving you.

 

My Thoughts on Central Texas Real Estate

And another expert …

Last week I attended a great presentation by Mark Sprague, Director of Information Capital for Independence Title.  His view of the state of our real estate market is much like mine — that the market cycle is maturing but by no means turning down in Austin and Central Texas.  This chart is a good summary:

In case it’s hard to read, you’ll find Austin about halfway across the green band labeled “Exuberance.”  Traits described as typical in that phase are

  • Capital flowing freely
  • Surging prices and volumes
  • Affordability getting worse and/or construction getting high
  • Smart money taking some chips off the table

As I have noted, the current market cycle has run much longer than the typical  cycle, now with more than five years of housing supply significantly trailing demand, rapidly rising prices, and pronounced affordability and gentrification issues, especially the closer you get to Central Austin.  The rate of price appreciation has moderated somewhat, but year-over-year price increases will continue for this year (at least).

On the other hand, Mark doesn’t see a downturn on the horizon and was even willing to predict our “boom” conditions could continue for years.  The reasons are those that I have discussed — a strong local/regional economy, strong net job growth and consequent population growth.  Here are some relevant charts from his presentation:

Notice at least through 2017 the Austin-Round Rock metropolitan statistical area was behind the Permian Basin and its enormous growth in oil and gas production, but well ahead of all other Texas MSAs and more than three times the average growth rate of all charted U.S. MSAs.

Note also that our regional economy is diversified, unlike many other metropolitan areas:

And Mark’s summary on this topic:

That data ends with October 2018, but any cursory review of local business news will tell you that job growth has continued, and that our regional unemployment rate is even lower than a year ago.  There is every reason to believe that Austin will remain attractive and the regional economic development efforts will continue to bear fruit.

I’ll comment in a separate post with my own look at regional market data, but another respected market analyst and forecaster agrees that we’re not done with this market cycle yet.

Another expert agrees

You’ve read my thoughts about where Austin area residential real estate market is in this market cycle [Thoughts on this Market Cycle (October 2018) and Yes, Austin is different (January 2019)].

Last week, Eldon Rude (Principal, 360o Real Estate Analytics) discussed his very similar thoughts:

Expert: Central Texas housing market in for another strong year

The theme of his remarks was that “… the Central Texas region will continue to see strong housing demand from anticipated robust job growth. But he noted that ‘there are some headwinds with respect to buyer confidence that we haven’t faced in a while’….”

I’ll keep you updated as 2019 progresses and we get more information about actual market performance this year, but I agree that we’ll see demand continue even as the pace of price appreciation slows.

 

 

Yes, Austin is different …

In a previous post (Is Austin different?) I noted that the Austin area’s residential real estate market continues to expand even as much of the United States has slowed.  The reason is that our expansion is driven by job creation and population growth — real demand.  For the same reasons I have long argued against concerns that we were creating a “bubble” in our market that would inevitably reach a breaking point and crash.  Our growth is not due to “creative” mortgage financing and minimum credit requirements like those that led to the Great Recession in 2007-2008, nor to the kind of “irrational exuberance” that Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan described in the years leading up the Dot-Com Bust and the previous recession.

Here’s a recent article about the relative health of our local/regional economy now:

Dallas Fed: Austin economy still expanding at solid pace

If you live in or near Austin, you know that construction is everywhere — residential, commercial, transportation, recreational, etc.  The city of Austin and especially the urban core, are increasingly expensive, but with the caveat that sprawl will eventually be self-limiting regional in-migration remains strong.  The article linked above notes that signs of an economic slowdown are present elsewhere in Texas, but Austin’s annualized economic growth through November was well above our long-term average and approaching strength last seen almost three years ago.  Moreover, Austin’s 2.8% unemployment rate remains well below the national and state-wide numbers.

For readers who want more details straight from the Dallas Fed, here you go:

Austin Economic Indicators – Dallasfed.org

I commented in my last post that residential building permits were down in recent months and that new home construction still lags the peak pace we saw in 2006.  In spite of being under-supplied, however, our metro-area market remains only slightly less affordable than the national average (as measured by the percentage of homes sold that were affordable by a median-income family).

I have written for months that there are signs of market resistance to the fast pace of home price increases, but many indicators should instill confidence that our housing market may be in a time of transition toward “normal,” not toward a downturn.  More to come on that …

 

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“Bill helped me through the worst buying transaction I’ve ever experienced. Dealing with the seller and his agent was a nightmare. There’s no way I would have gotten through it without Bill’s help.”
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