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Kitchen Features Buyers Will Pay More ForA great kitchen can help you sell a home, and real estate professionals are making sure to spotlight it in their marketing.

Of all the homes listed for sale on realtor.com®, 69 percent of the listing descriptions highlight the kitchen as a selling point. Forty-nine percent mentioned the bedrooms and 35 percent highlighted the garage, the next two most popular.

Further, homes that tout a “killer kitchen” or “luxury kitchen” in their descriptions sell 8 percent faster than a similar-sized home in the same ZIP code, realtor.com®’s research finds.

So which kitchen features could possibly add the most value to a home? Realtor.com®’s research team pinpointed the following:

Custom cabinetry: 41% (the price premium: the difference between homes with the feature

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We’ve all heard before how expensive it is to buy a home in Austin. A new ranking reveals just how much buyers might need to make for a slice of Texas capital property.

Business Insider recently ranked the Austin-Round Rock metro area at No. 22 on its list of most expensive housing markets in America. The list ranks the metro areas by the estimated salary needed to purchase a home. In Austin, that magic number is $52,578.

Here’s how the listmakers crunched the numbers, according to Business Insider:

Using NAR’s data on housing affordability, we gathered a list of the US metro areas where the minimum salary required to qualify for a mortgage, with 20% down, is the highest. NAR assumes a mortgage rate of 3.9% for all areas, with the monthly

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We always keep you up to date on Austin’s housing market but … How did the Texas market perform as a whole last year?

The answer is “Very well” … Maybe too well!!!

In a report just released by the Texas Association of REALTORS ®, the median Texas home price in 2016 was $210,000, up 7.7% from 2015. Home sales volume in the same period was up 4.6%, to 324,924 homes sold. Low housing inventory remained constant in 2016, with 3.3 months of inventory in December.

The concern with Texas performing too well is causing some alarm bells! "Rising home prices and skyrocketing property taxes are driving up the cost of homeownership at an alarming rate," said Vicki Fullerton, chairman of the Texas Association of REALTORS®.. "Growth in property values makes

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Buyers' Secret Must-Have: A Snore RoomOne in four couples admit to sleeping in separate rooms. And snoring may be a big reason keeping couples apart at night.

Snoring gets common – and maybe louder – as people age too. Thirty percent of people over the age 30 snore, 40 percent over the age of 40 snore, and by age 60, 60 percent of men snore and 40 percent of women, according to the Statistics Brain Research Institute. Architect Deryl Patterson at Housing Design Matters writes in a column at BUILDER about how homebuilders should look at how to discreetly market to the 55-plus buyer that they can sleep separately from their partner with a snore and more room. It can be done by adding rooms off the master bedroom that look like a den during the day, but can be closed off and then can offer

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Shortly after Austin was named the “best place to live in America” by U.S. News and World Report, the city has landed atop another list of best places to live.

Austin is the nation’s best state capital to live in, according to WalletHub. Their online study compared all 50 capital cities in America and graded them based off of 42 key indicators of affordability, economic strength, quality of education and health, and overall living standards.

More: Why you see so many moving trucks in Austin, according to new report

Those key indicators included things like cost of living, K–12 school-system quality and the number of attractions in the city.

Austin ranked 1st in two categories, the highest number of millennial newcomers (guilty) and lowest

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Renters Crave Smart Home TechnologyEighty-six percent of millennial renters and 65 percent of baby boomers who live in multifamily dwellings say they are willing to pay more for a “smart” apartment – that is, one that operates with automated or remotely controlled devices.

The findings come from a new survey of 1,000 U.S. renters conducted by Wakefield Research and Schlage, a brand of Allegion that creates lock products.

"Apartments won't look the same in 10 years, from the inside or the outside,” says Ann Matheis, marketing director at Allegion.

The survey revealed the following insights into the millennial renter, in particular:
• Millennial renters say they would pay about a fifth more for smart home features.
• Millennials seek tech upgrades like smart locks. More than 61 percent are

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Quick update on how our local housing market has started the year …   Stats over the last few months have been a bit erratic on the Austin housing front but it looks like the year has started off very positively with January sales and median prices up solidly over January 2016 numbers.   Add this to the ‘US News & World Report’ voting "Austin as the #1 Place to Live" and it’s a very positive start all around.   http://www.abor.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/2017_January-Stats-Release.pdf 
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Many states are facing a drought, and home owners and renters are increasingly under pressure to conserve.

“Often we’re bombarded with a message of sacrifice and cutting back,” says Benjamin Inskeep, a research analyst at EQ Research, who helped compile “The Water Short List,” a report highlighting conservation ideas. “One of the conclusions of our paper was that simple, out-of-sight and out-of-mind [actions] offer a huge opportunity to reduce your resource consumption.”

Here are a few water-saving ideas from the report that you can recommend to clients:

Swap out the shower head: Did you know showers account for 20 percent of water consumed in a household? The average American household uses up to 30 gallons a day for showers, according to the Water

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Austin has ranked as the second healthiest city in the Texas as part of a national ranking by WalletHub. Plano was ranked #1 … obviously something wrong in the accounting there!

Nationally, Austin ranked #32; San Francisco picking up top honors.

34 different criteria were used in the evaluation ranging from the cost of a doctors visit to the level of fruit and vegetable consumption and the availability of fitness clubs per capita. Austin scored highest in its availability of healthy foods.

http://www.bizjournals.com/austin/news/2017/02/13/austin-ranked-no-2-among-healthiest-texas-cities.html

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More homeowners are gaining equity and climbing out of negative territory, according to a new report released by CoreLogic. Now, 93.7 percent of all mortgaged properties—or 47.9 million homes—have more money invested in them than their estimated market value. Home equity has grown 10.8 percent in the third quarter compared to a year ago.

“Home equity rose by $12,500 for the average homeowner over the last four quarters,” says Frank Nothaft, chief economist for CoreLogic. “There was wide geographic variation with homeowners in California, Oregon, and Washington gaining an average of at least $25,000 in home equity wealth, while owners in Alaska, North Dakota, and Connecticut had small declines, on average.”

Meanwhile, the total number of residential

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