(Moreland Properties)

This 4-bedroom, $10 million Westlake home is privately listed by Moreland Properties. ModernWestlake.com

Welcome to austonia.com, a new local news site for Austin. We're an authentically local company—Austin stories, Austin people, Austin advertisers. News, trends, media, topics, people. No paywalls. We cover the changes that are reshaping our city. To get connected, sign up for our free daily AM newsletter update.

When businesses closed their doors in March, Austin realtor Cord Shiflet did not think he would sell another house this year.

To his surprise, this has been the busiest month he has ever seen for well-funded buyers moving to Austin.

"In my 23 years of doing this, the last month has been the craziest, most active market I've ever seen, with big buyers moving into Austin," said Shiflet, who works for Moreland Properties. "COVID has set our market on fire."

Austin realtors say business is booming in luxury real estate, which is a pleasant surprise after expecting sales to plummet due to coronavirus.

The majority of his big buyers have usually come from California, Shiflet said, but now he is seeing a drastic increase in New York executives and business owners who want to move to Austin.

After months of stay-home orders and working remotely, people from both coasts seem to be reevaluating where they live.

"We've just been seeing New Yorkers coming out here in droves," Shiflet said. "They can work from really anywhere in the world, and these people don't want to live in the tight spaces that they're currently in."

Texas has long appealed to people living in more regulated states due to a business-friendly climate and lack of state income tax. Shiflet said realtors are struggling to keep up with the increased demand from new buyers, many of whom are shocked to see how much further their money can go in Texas.

"We're going through our Rolodexes and knocking on doors, trying to find the quality product that these people want," Shiflet said. "They have a hard time believing they can have so much house and so much space and land around them as opposed to the apartments they're coming out of in New York."

Michelle Dolch, a realtor from Austin Luxury Group, said she has experienced the same thing—she even has a few buyers who are looking in the range of $20 million and above.

"We don't really have a lot of real estate in that market," Dolch said. "Our inventory is really stressed."

In addition to those from California and New York, Dolch has seen an increase in buyers coming from Seattle and Chicago, citing complaints about coronavirus and taxes.

"It just seems that a lot of people that have been considering moving here over the years are now coming here all at once," Dolch said. "A lot of people have always considered Austin as a place they'd like to live in. They're not considering it anymore—they're moving forward with it."

Want to read more stories like this one? Start every day with a quick look at what's happening in Austin. Sign up for Austonia.com's free daily morning email.
 


COVID-19 dashboard

After weeks of warnings, advisories and even an emergency text alert from local health officials, Austin's COVID-19 caseload appears to be on a post-Thanksgiving decline.

Keep Reading Show less


Friday, 5:55 a.m.: Man ripped earring out of woman's ear. 2302 Durwood St.

Friday, 10:31 a.m.: Report of attempted vehicular assault. A 911 caller reported a woman attempting to hit a man with her vehicle. 300 Ferguson Dr.

Friday, 1 p.m.: Two rescued from vehicle collision. 23926 TX-71

Friday: Travis County senior Deputy Robert "Drew" Small died after his motorcycle collided with another vehicle. Milam County

Saturday, 10:52 a.m.: Man and woman fight outside Target. 8601 Research Blvd.

Saturday, 3:06 p.m.: Person gets stuck in elevator at Hyatt Place Austin Report. 3601 Presidential Blvd.

Sunday, 7:09 a.m.: Two men armed with tasers and knives at church. Redd St & Manchaca Rd.

Sunday, 7:56 a.m.: Vehicle crashed into the fence of Austin Veterinary Surgical Center. The driver left the scene on foot. One dog, a long-haired Dachshund named Sadie, escaped. 12419 Metric Blvd.

(Nan Palmero/CC)

Thanksgiving is over and the most wonderful time of year has officially begun. Christmas light shows have been a Texas tradition for years—so beloved that not even a pandemic could stop them from shining this year.

Keep Reading Show less
(MangoNic/Shutterstock)

Before the pandemic started, Adult Care of Austin on Menchaca Road didn't offer telemedicine appointments.

Now, the private practice conducts almost all of its visits virtually, either over the phone or on HIPAA-compliant video platforms.

Dr. Steven Dobberfuhl, an internal medicine physician, said telemedicine saved his practice—and has been a boon to his patients, around 75% of whom are 65 years or older and at high risk of contracting COVID-19.

"I didn't believe it would work as well as it has," he said.

Keep Reading Show less
(Pexels)

Austin Public Health issued post-Thanksgiving guidelines on Friday, recommending that residents avoid higher-risk activities such as attending crowded, indoor gatherings; going on hayrides with people outside of one's household; traditional caroling and other door-to-door activities; and traveling for events.

Keep Reading Show less
(Laura Figi)

At the tail end of a tough year for retailers, Black Friday deals appeared to draw fewer shoppers into big box stores around Austin.

Keep Reading Show less
(Texas Longhorns/Instagram)
Game Preview: Longhorns face off against #13 Cyclones

The Texas Longhorns take the field for the first time in two weeks after postponements and bye weeks, making them one of the most well rested teams in the conference.

Keep Reading Show less