south padre island

With views and playgrounds like this, South Padre is a popular destination.

Previously this week, we discussed how the housing market in South Padre Island could really give vacation home seekers a lot of bang for their buck.

Today, we’ll look at how that bang can become a boom — if you’re willing to jump through a few hoops the city says are designed to protect renters, landlords, and make sure city resources are allocated wisely.

With South Padre appearing regularly on lists of best beaches for families and best Spring Break beach destinations, it stands to reason that there are a fair amount of people looking for the freedom and room a condo or beach house might offer, as opposed to a hotel.

“Spring break brings 50,000 to 60,000 people in at one time — and the population of South Padre is only 2,800 or so,” said Gary Tate of Keller Williams Lynne Tate South Padre Island. (more…)

South Padre Island

Homes on South Padre Island can be found for as little as $100,000, or for more than $500,000 (but the latter gets you views like this).

Although they’re native Texans, Gary and Lynne Tate spent eight cold years in Alaska before finally coming back to the state. Before they left, they had a ceremony to destroy their snow shovel.

Then they moved to South Padre Island.

Nowadays, the two Realtors with Keller Williams Lynne Tate South Padre Island spend their time helping people find their new home, home-away-from-home, or investment property on the island.

“It happens every year, somebody will come down and catch more fish here than they ever have and want to get a place here,” Tate said.

“We see a lot of interest in buying around the summer,” fellow Realtor Gayle Hood agreed.

And Hood said you can find almost anything you want — inventory is wide open and very affordable. (more…)

SPI is a sliver of beauty surrounded by sand

SPI is a sliver of beauty surrounded by sand

South Padre Island (SPI) is as close as Texas gets to tropical Gulf breezes on sun-kissed shores where the water doesn’t look a mini-marshmallow away from Swiss Miss (Galveston).  SPI also isn’t an island. SPI is a city located on the southern tip of Padre Island which is the longest barrier island in the world. The whole caboodle is 200 square miles.

SPI has always served a colorful clientele operating as Texas’ laid-back Key West or a haunt for Spring Break Betty Ford wannabes.  But it’s also home to a mess of sea turtles, the SPI Music Festival, Splash SPI and … who knew … the Texas State Surfing Championships.  But all that’s so much icing on the cake.

(more…)

Get this: Austin has an unemployment rate of only 6.7%. That could be why, except for South Padre Island, Austin now has the highest priced median homes in Texas: $194,600, according to the Real Estate center at Texas A&M University. Sales of existing single-family Texas homes in August were up 24 percent from a year ago, according to the most recent Multiple Listing Services (MLS) data compiled by the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University. More than 21,200 existing single-family homes were sold, data showed. The median home price was $153,200, about the same as a year ago, and the state’s overall inventory was at 7.4 months.

So why is our little sister city to the south, the one often equated with San Francisco, kicking butt in the real estate market? I reached out to my friends at Realty Austin, an Austin real estate firm. Here’s what agent Brittanie Flegle has to say:

Based on the latest financial news, one might assume that very few people are purchasing homes this year.  However, you might be surprised to know that in Austin, July and August home sales reached record highs.  In fact, July marked the best month for Austin real estate in over 2 years!  Here is a snapshot of the Austin real estate market as compared to one year ago.

  • $524,492,455 – Total dollar volume of single-family homes sold, 23% more than July 2010.
  • $196,750 – Median price for single-family homes, 11% less than July 2010.
  • 1,973 – Single-family homes sold, 32% more than July 2010.
  • 205 – Condos and townhomes sold, 45% more than July 2010.
  • 77 – Days on market, 5% longer than July 2010.
  • 2,808 – New single-family home listings on the market, 13% less than July 2010.
  • 9,393 – Active single-family home listings on the market, 20% less than July 2010.
  • 1,994 – Pending sales for single-family homes, 28% more than July 2010.

All of those total to a 32% increase in year over year home sales. This can be explained by the sharp decrease that occurred when Federal homebuyer tax credits expired on June 30, 2010. However, there are several other positive factors driving the Austin real estate market.  These include:

  • Record low mortgage rates
  • Stable home values
  • An unemployment rate of only 6.7%
  • A limited supply of new and resale homes for the 56,000 people expected to move in 2011

One great example of an Austin community that has seen lots of growth in the past year is Scofield Farms. Price points: $300K.  Located in North Austin, it has quickly become one of Austin’s most sought-after neighborhoods for new Austinites and their families.  Scofield farms realtor Jenny Walker agrees. “Scofield is great for families because it is a very close knit community.  Neighbors really look out for one another here.  Scofield is also within walking distance of great schools and near high-tech employers like Dell, Samsung, and IBM” Jenny says.

On the other hand, if you’re in the market to sell, keep in mind that there are 20% fewer homes on the Austin market than there were at this same time last year.  In short, this means significantly less competition for those selling homes.

After a challenging year in real estate, the Austin market seems to be back and holding strong.  How do you spell a healthy real estate market? JOBS!