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March 2016

Found 55 blog entries for March 2016.

So we all know Austin commute traffic is … not good but it is getting better! Actually, it’s probably more accurate to say other cities are getting worse!

Austin Traffic

We had seen reports from some companies saying Austin was one of the top 3 worst commute cities in the country, which didn’t seem to make sense when you experience other major metro areas, but Tom-Tom’s proprietary history, based on 14 trillion historical travel times, shows Austin coming in at No. 21 in the US.

In the US Tom-Tom reports that Los Angeles is the worst city and San Francisco is at No. 2.

Austin “improved” from No. 13 in 2015 and came in second among Texas cities behind Houston at No. 11 overall. Other Texas cities include San Antonio at No. 32 and Dallas-Fort Worth at No. 34.


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Builders say city ordinances nationwide are preventing them from constructing multigenerational housing — an increasingly popular option as more American families are living under one roof — and a shortage of this type of housing is growing.

More than 18 percent of the nation's population lives in a multigenerational household, up from 15 percent in 2000, according to a 2014 Pew Research Study. Those numbers could be even larger if local zoning laws weren't standing in the way of construction of new multigenerational units, builders say. Some laws are particularly onerous when it comes to kitchens: They require additional units within multigenerational homes to have their own kitchen. However, many local governments won't approve a second kitchen for

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Springtime is upon us, and as warmer temperatures start to roll in, many buyers will be thinking about how they can use a home's outdoor space. If you want to draw more attention to your listing's outdoor features, there are some fairly simple ways to heighten their appeal. Take some helpful hints from our friends at HouseLogic:

1. Create a seamless flow from indoor to outdoor. Replace a standard door opening with sliding glass or French doors, which will give the feeling of a more open passageway that integrates the indoors with the outdoors. Also, use the same weatherproof flooring, such as stone tile or scored concrete, for both the room leading to the backyard and the backyard itself. It'll make the two areas feel connected.

2. Make comfort paramount.

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We knew it but it’s now official … The US Census Bureau has confirmed Austin metro area is officially more than 2 million people.

From July 2014 to July 2015, the Austin-Round Rock area increased by nearly 60,000 people with the area growing from 1,943,465 to 2,000,860. This makes our Central Texas area the fastest-growing metropolitan area in the country for cities with a population over 1 million for the fifth year in a row.

The ingredients for this stunning population growth … excellent job growth and a high quality of life.

From 2010-2015, Williamson County has grown 19.2%, Travis County 14.2% and Hays 23%. Texas is at 8.8%

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When NAR's 2016 Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends study came out earlier this month, many were surprised to learn that the millennial generation, much like their parents, want to buy a single-family home in the suburbs. This contradicts the perception that most millennials prefer an urban lifestyle.

What this change in housing preference really shows, according to USC urban planning professor Dowell Myers, is that we have now reached 'Peak Millennial.'

As he pointed out to CityLab, "In 2015, those millennials born in 1990, the largest cohort born in any one year—turned 25." This age represents a turning point, where young people start thinking about their living and working situations in a different way, eventually leading them buy housing in the

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According to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) report released today by the Austin Board of REALTORS®, Austin-area single-family home sales increased by 2.9 percent to 1,783 home sales in February 2016 compared to the same month the year prior. Median single-family home price also increased 8.0 percent year-over-year, reaching $269,900 in February 2016.

New listings increased by 11.1 percent to 2,793 listings in February 2016 and active listings increased by 10 percent year-over-year reaching 4,871 listings. Additionally, pending sales increased by 12.3 percent at 2,346 sales.

For the full report, check out … 

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A® article recently highlighted several new studies that reveal ways to increase happiness based on where you buy, how you renovate, and other characteristics on what makes a home happy. Among the recent findings to unlocking true happiness with home ownership:

1. Green or yellow walls: Could the color of your walls have the power to change your mood? A study from Vrije University in Amsterdam found that yellow and green walls brought about the most feelings of happiness. “Green gives a feeling of comfort and serenity, so it’s an ideal choice for a bedroom, while yellow brings out creativity and playfulness, so you might consider that tone for a playroom,” Victoria Shtainer, a real estate broker for Compass, told®.

2. Short

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Mortgage Rates Edge Higher AgainMortgage rates inched higher for the third consecutive week, but you shouldn’t sweat it too much. Mortgage rates are still hovering below levels from a year ago.

Freddie Mac reports the following national averages with mortgage rates for the week ending March 17:

• 30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.73 percent, with an average 0.5 point, rising from last week’s 3.68 percent average. Last year at this time, 30-year rates averaged 3.78 percent.

• 15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 2.99 percent, with an average 0.4 point, increasing from last week’s 2.96 percent average. A year ago, 15-year rates averaged 3.06 percent.

• 5-year hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages: averaged 2.93 percent, with an average 0.5 point, increasing from last week’s 2.92

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Home buyers are looking for storage, energy efficiency and outdoor space, according to the latest preference survey released by the National Association of Home Builders and Better Homes and Gardens during the NAHB International Builders’ Show in Las Vegas this week.

Some of the top new-home desires cited by home buyers of all ages include separate laundry rooms, energy-star appliances and windows, exterior lighting, and a patio.

On the other hand, buyers are showing less interest in cork flooring, elevators, pet washing stations, expensive outdoor kitchens and fireplaces, and two-story entryways and family rooms, the survey reveals.

More homebuilders are particularly focused on the wants of the millennial generation when it comes to home design, ensuring

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As expected, the Federal Reserve decided against raising its federal funds rate, which affects interest rates charged to businesses and consumers.

But it trimmed its outlook for future rate increases. The median outlook by Fed officials is for the federal funds rate to reach 0.875 percent by the end of this year, up from its current level of 0.25 percent to 0.50 percent. That indicates two small rate increases this year, instead of the four projected by Fed officials in December.

Fed Chairman Janet Yellen, emphasized, however that these projections "are not a plan for future policy. Policy is not on a preset course."

Fed members will make their decisions on a meeting-by-meeting basis, depending on economic data. But ite expects the federal funds

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