Another month, another double-digit increase in Austin's median home sales price.
The median home sales price in the five-county Austin metro increased 41.6% year-over-year, to an all-time high of $460,000, in April, according to the latest monthly report from the Austin Board of Realtors. In the city of Austin, the median home sales price increased at a slightly less dramatic rate—31.7% year-over-year—to a significantly higher price: $550,562, also an all-time high.
For prospective homeowners, it likely means an even more arduous buying process. "Homebuyers are having to get creative as the Austin housing market continues to be competitive," John Schutze, regional director and senior home loan officer at Texas Loan Experts, said in a Tuesday press release accompanying the report. "Potential buyers must be prepared to have a source of extra funds to make up for potential appraisal shortages."
High demand and low supply have been driving up Austin home prices for years. Since last summer, however, this dynamic has grown more acute. As a result, it is increasingly common for prospective buyers to face dozens of competing offers, many of which are well above the asking price, and to receive an appraisal value less than their offer price, which can drive up their down payment.
Because of the steep competition, many buyers are also waiving an appraisal, which means they commit to buying a home even if it receives a low appraisal, in an attempt to convince the sellers that they are serious. Sydney Schuster, a realtor at Open House Austin, recently told Austonia that this is the case 98% of the time.
Despite these challenges, aspiring homeowners have some reasons to be cautiously optimistic. "Austin-area housing inventory was slightly higher in April than in March," ABoR President Susan Horton said in the same release, "and the pace of home price appreciation month to month is slowing, indicating that the rush on the housing market at the beginning of the year could be easing."
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The original Z’Tejas location on West 6th Street is closing its doors after more than 30 years on the lot to make way for new development.
Z'Tejas owner Randy Cohen told Austonia the restaurant will be open at least through the end of 2022, possibly through March 2023.
Cohen said the owners—Larry McGuire of McGuire Moorman Lambert Hospitality—of the land have something new planned, though he’s not exactly sure what. Additionally, Cohen said maintenance costs for the old building were becoming prohibitively expensive.
“I think the people who own the dirt will tear it all down and build condos or some other development,” Cohen said. “I mean, it's a 60-year-old building, Z'Tejas has been here for 33 years and before that, it was something else. So it's just progress, that's all."
The restaurant isn’t going away though—Cohen said Z’Tejas is already looking for a new spot in the downtown area to move into. Z’Tejas also has a location in Avery Ranch, another in the works for Kyle and two in Arizona.
“We have all our ducks in a row right now and the management team is all rowing in the right direction,” Cohen said. “We're just excited, we're excited to build this iconic brand back.”
Once he finds a new place, Cohen plans to bring along its mural, “The Last Zupper,” which features Willie Nelson, Matthew McConaughey and Barbara Jordan. Cohen also plans for the adjoining ghost kitchen, Woo Woo Burgers, to follow to the new downtown location.
“We're still booking events through the end of December,” Cohen said. “Come ‘Z' me at Z’Tejas, we'd love to see you before we’re gone.”
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Two towers could be coming just south of the Austin American-Statesman’s former headquarters in the South Central Waterfront district.
According to city filings, the proposed planned unit development agreement is set for 200 East Riverside Drive, an area Project Connect’s Blue Line is slated to pass by someday.
Carrying this out involves removing the existing building, which is a state office complex and surface parking.
The new towers in place would reach just over 400 feet at their maximum and include office space and space for retail on the ground level. The mix of office and retail is a trend that’s been cropping up in downtown sites like the Perennial and the Meta tower.
The proposal on a plot of about four acres aims to incorporate green infrastructure and create a lively environment for pedestrians. It’d also be adjacent to the 118-acres of the South Central Waterfront Initiative, which is aimed at enhancing connections to and along the waterfront over the next couple of decades.
The filing lists architects STG Design, a group involved with work on the sailboat-like Google tower.
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