Monthly Archives: September 2014

Generational Real Estate By Jeff Stewart, CCIM

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The National Association of Realtors has a designation for those of us who have had extensive training in dealing with the real estate needs of seniors.  The term is Senior Real Estate Specialist.  I am proud to have been through the program, but I have to say I think the “senior” name is a bit limiting.  I prefer to call myself a generational specialist.  Perhaps now more than ever before, I find I am often dealing with more than one generation of a family when assisting them with some real estate need.  Often if the elders are ill or relocating, I may work with their children.  In the case of young, first-time buyers, it is increasingly common for their parents to be involved and occasionally help with the financing.   I think the term “sandwich generation” probably says it all.  Yes, we are trained to assist the older generation with their changing real estate requirements, but those decisions are seldom made without the input of other family members.


While the primary real estate requirements and financial concerns may have arisen because of the changing needs of the older generation,  it goes without saying that ideal strategy would be a plan that provides security  and peace of mind for the entire family.  Taking a look at the big picture requires a thorough understanding of the needs of all involved, which can only be determined with good communication and close examination.  For instance, recently elderly couple I know decided to deed their real property to their children without consulting an expert.  The end result is that they created an unfortunate taxable event for their children and could have better accomplished their goals by some better means.   A family discussion and a well, thought-out strategy could have prevented this ill-advised mistake.


When representing families I often find that the best service I can offer is that of a sounding board.  It is unfortunate, but families frequently fail to communicate well with loved ones when dealing with health and aging issues.  Sometimes the role of facilitator is more important than that of real estate broker.  It is not as simple as buying and selling.  Understanding how to create the needed cash flows and protect assets from unnecessary taxes are very important issues that must be taken into account.  In order to develop a sound strategy, most families need a guiding hand.  Helping families with these and other issues is just part of the reason that I love what I do.


Jeff Stewart, CCIM   Broker Associate


Stanberry & Associates, Realtors      512-923-1669


Austin MLS Sales Figures For August, 2014

Executive shot willogologoAustin-area home sales dip for second consecutive month in August 2014
Austin Board of REALTORS® releases real estate statistics for August 2014

AUSTIN, Texas – September 18, 2014 – Austin-area home sales declined for the second consecutive month in August 2014 as rising home prices and housing affordability issues continue to affect the Austin-area housing market. According to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) report released today by the Austin Board of REALTORS® (ABoR), Austin-area home sales decreased four percent year-over-year to 2,835 single-family home sales in August 2014.

Bill Evans, 2014 President of the Austin Board of REALTORS¬®, explained, “A majority of Austin-area homes are now priced out of an affordable range for first-time and first-time move up homebuyers, where a significant portion of home sales volume occurs. We need a regulatory environment that supports the development of affordable housing stock for the future stability of our Austin housing market. As we prepare for the new districted Austin City Council this November, ABoR encourages voters to seek leaders that will address our housing and development challenges. The Austin Land Development Code basically needs to be overhauled.”

According to the report, median price for single-family homes jumped 11 percent year-over-year to $247,500 and average price rose nine percent year-over-year to $311,414. Single-family homes continued to sell quickly as they spent an average 42 days on the market, one day fewer than August 2013.

Monthly housing inventory continued to increase in August 2014, rising 0.2 months from the year prior to 3.0 months. While still well below the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University’s balanced housing inventory level of 6.5 months, Austin-area housing inventory levels could continue to rise as much-needed listings enter the market.

In August 2014, active listings jumped 10 percent year-over-year to 6,707 listings and new listings rose four percent during the same time frame to 3,310. In addition, pending sales increased one percent to 2,430 single-family home sales.

Evans concluded, “An increase in new and active listings is giving the market some much needed breathing room, but Austin’s housing inventory is still very low and has few affordable options. The new Land Development Code will be a crucial catalyst to sustainable market growth in 2015 and years to come, but it must be heavily revised in order to create housing options throughout the city that are affordable for all of Austin’s homebuyers.”

August 2014 Statistics
• 2,835 – Single-family homes sold, four percent less than August 2013.

• $247,500 – Median price for single-family homes, 11 percent more than August 2013.

• $311,414 – Average price for single-family homes, nine percent more than August 2013.

• 42 – Average number of days single-family homes spent on the market, one day fewer than August 2013.

• 3,310 – New single-family home listings on the market, four percent more than August 2013.

• 6,707 – Active single-family home listings on the market, 10 percent more than August 2013.

• 2,430 – Pending sales for single-family homes, one percent more than August 2013.

• 3.0 – Months of inventory* of single-family homes, 0.2 months more than August 2013.

• $882,858,690 – Total dollar volume of single-family properties sold, four percent more than August 2013.
The following sections describe trends in other sectors of the Austin-area real estate market.
Townhouses & Condominiums
The volume of townhouses and condominiums (condos) purchased in the Austin area in August 2014 was 308, which is 13 percent less than August 2013. In the same time period, the median price for condos was $212,000, which is nine percent more than the same month of the prior year. These properties spent an average of 34 days on the market, six days fewer than August 2013.

In August 2014, a total of 2,109 properties were leased in Austin, which is three percent more than August 2013. The median price for Austin-area leases was $1,500, which is seven percent more than the same month last year.

The Austin Board of REALTORS® (ABoR) is a non-profit, voluntary organization dedicated to educating and supporting Central Texas REALTORS®. ABoR proudly serves more than 10,000 members, promotes private property rights and provides accurate, comprehensive property listing information for the Greater Austin area. Home sales statistics are released by ABoR on a monthly basis. For more information, please contact the ABoR Marketing Department at or 512-454-7636. Visit, a public resource on Austin real estate, for the latest news on the local housing market

* The inventory of homes for a market is measured in months, which is defined as the number of active listings divided by the average sales per month of the prior 12 months. The Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University cites that 6.5 months of inventory represents a market in which supply and demand for homes is balanced.

Thirteen Offers Makes an Unlucky Number         By Jeff Stewart, CCIM

logologoI have been working with a young couple for almost a year.  We looked at houses a year ago and every home they liked had already attracted a crowd of buyers.  Multiple offers on every house you like really are discouraging.  After a while, they decided to rent for a year and see if the market cooled off, which it has slightly.  We resumed looking at homes the past few weeks and it seemed that the 100 degree days, the start of school, or both had caused a bit of a lull in the market.

logoLast week we viewed several houses before we saw “the one.” the exterior was in slightly better condition than most.  The neighborhood was excellent.  The interior was perfect.  Every surface had been made like new.  New cabinets through-out, almost completely new bathrooms (only the old tubs remained). All the popcorn on the ceilings had been removed and the entire house was retextured.  It was picture perfect . . . too perfect.

I warned my clients that they would have to fight for this house. As is now the trend, I felt certain that the seller would sit on all offers for several days and only then call for the highest and best offers.  It would be another bidding war, unfortunately for my folks.  Sure enough, we wrote the offer $5000 over the asking price and did not get any response from the seller. Buyers often ask me how long a seller has to respond.  The answer is they NEVER have to respond.  I have written offers in which I have never even gotten an email back.

In this case, I was correct.  The agent properly sent out an email explaining that there were multiple offers and that all parties needed to submit their highest and best offers.  All offers were presented two days later.  Since the recent sales comps indicated that the house was highly unlikely to appraise for anything more, my clients chose to stay with their initial offer. Actually, I was pleased that they did not get caught up in the frenzy of trying to out-bid the unknown.

In the end, we lost out.  The agent called me to say that she had received an incredible thirteen offers . . . easily the most I have been involved with as far as I know. The MLS stats reflect a slight slowing of the market, but that is apparently not the case when that special home hits the market.  I think we have more buyers sitting quietly on the sidelines than we realize.

Jeff Stewart, CCIM     Broker Associate

Stanberry & Associates, Realtors