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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

Hays County tax appraisals rise

After five years of strong demand, limited supply, and rising sale prices in Austin-area residential real estate, it’s no surprise that the taxable values of homes are also rising.  Here’s a summary from Hays County:

Hays County home values rise nearly 9%

For comparison, these are similar recent reports about Travis and Williamson counties:

It’s Tax Appraisal Season!

Williamson County Tax Appraisals Are Out

So, Hays County appraisals are up almost 9%, Travis up 10%, and Williamson rose 6%.

I have provided data to quite a few of my clients this year to help them protest their appraisals.  Everybody’s situation is unique — how long they’ve owned the property, whether they have a homestead exemption, and over-65 exemption, etc., how long those exemptions have been in place … and, of course, where the property is located.  Yes, prices have trended upward pretty much everywhere over the past few years, but some areas and some specific neighborhoods have experienced this market very differently, rising much more than the average, or somewhat less.

As I commented a couple of days ago, it looks like another very busy year with an out of balance real estate market, so buckle up for similar increases in tax appraisals next year.

 

 

How Was Austin-Area Real Estate in 1Q 2018?

I commented in a couple of posts late last year that things seemed somewhat calmer in the residential real estate market than they had been earlier in 2017 and for the previous few years.  I was uncertain whether we were seeing a genuinely slower market, or just a return to something like “normal” seasonality.  With residential listing inventory still at half of what market economists consider “balanced,” the slower market theory didn’t make any sense, with possible exceptions in some specialized market segments.

Now, with final data in for the entire first quarter of 2018, I can report that we have NOT returned to “normal” this year.  Here’s a look at the percentage of active listings that sold each month from 2005 through 1Q ’18:

The fact that the traditionally slow month of December was the fastest-paced month in all of 2017 was a clue that we had not seen a slow-down.  For comparison, the average “odds of selling” for all of 2016 was 42%.  The same calculation for the first 11 months of 2017 was 38%.  But then it went to 51% in December!

Notice, too, that the “odds of selling” calculation was edging back toward 50% in March.  The average since January 1990 was 25%, but it has now been five years since the percentage of monthly sales of active listings dropped below 30%.

That makes it very difficult to keep inventory:

The orange line in that chart is Inventory.  The dark blue line at the bottom is Sales.  Inventory divided by Sales tells how long the existing inventory will last if the pace of sales remains the same.  Market economists generally consider 6 to 6 1/2 months’ inventory to represent “balanced” market conditions, in which neither buyers nor sellers have a built-in advantage in negotiations.  The teal-colored line across the middle of the chart is that normal inventory.  The Austin metropolitan area has been at half or less of that inventory level for five years now.  The “Months Supply” figure was 2.0 in January and February, and 2.2 months in March.  If you’re a buyer almost anywhere in the metro area, you’re probably very conscious of that out-of-balance supply and demand situation.

And … being in a textbook “seller’s market” for so long has implications for home prices:

As I have said here and in conversations many times, “Market cycles happen,” and this one will too.  The local economists and market analysts that I know and trust agree, but they also know that this pace of real estate activity in Central Texas is being driven by real growth in employment and population, not by speculative investments and nonsensical mortgage products like we saw in the early years of this century.  Personally, I believe movement in the direction of better balanced supply and demand would be healthy, and home builders are trying to catch up, but the consensus of forecasts seems to be that we have at least another year or two with market conditions much as we see them now.

Williamson County Tax Appraisals Are Out

On March 30 I posted an article about rising tax appraisals in Travis County.  Here is today’s update from Williamson County:

Williamson County home values rise again in 2018

Williamson Central Appraisal District reports that the average increase in taxable value from 2017 to 2018 was 6%.  In It’s Tax Appraisal Season you saw that the increase in Travis County was 9%.  In both cases, strong demand and an under-supply of residential properties is the reason.

Of course, if you’re selling your home higher market value is good news.  If you’re staying and paying the taxes, you may have mixed feelings.  If you’re a buyer in the market now, though, you see the competition for available homes and you can watch prices increase rapidly.

I’ll have more on this as other nearby counties report, and I will offer an updated look at my market dashboard in the coming .

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Testimonials

“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.”
“We had a great time looking at properties with Bill. It took us a while, but with Bill’s help we succeeded in getting our dream home, and made a new friend in the process.”
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ABR - Accredited Buyer RepresentativeChildrenCRS - Certified Residential Specialiste-PROREALTOR® certificationNAR GreenCertified Distressed Property ExpertFive Star Professional