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April 2016

Found 24 blog entries for April 2016.

Austin has been ranked the #1 best city in the US for startups, with the number of small businesses increasing by 9.7% from 2010-2013 as rapid metro growth continues.

Austin’s metro version of ‘GDP’ (Gross Domestic Product) was up 18.2% between 2011 and 2014, while the area added 161,210 people, up 9.1%, from 2011-2014 (the equivalent of 147 newcomers per day).

“That growth and the city’s performance in many other metrics make Austin the best place in the country to start a small business” according to the American City Business Journals report.

Clouds on the horizon that need to be addressed by local government and business leaders are seen to be traffic and housing affordability.  

A newer cloud that Austin will need to be careful of for continued future

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Home owners can overdo it when it comes to the upkeep of their home. This Old House recently spotlighted several ways that home owners’ enthusiasm for home ownership may actually harm the house.

1. Having light bulbs that are too bright. You want a well-lit home, but exceeding a lamp or light fixture’s recommended wattage can be dangerous, particularly with incandescents or halogen lights, says John Drengenberg, consumer safety director for Underwriters Laboratories. "Using a bulb with too-high wattage will cause the fixture and its wiring to overheat," he notes, which could then allow the heat to travel to the wall or erode the insulation on the wires and lead to a house fire. Check the fixtures label to make sure you use the correct wattage.

2. Planting

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Take advantage of Central Texas' perfect spring time season and check out some of Austin’s best patios. From restaurants to beer gardens to coffee shops, check out some of Austin’s best as compiled by Austin Eater.

The link below highlights 18 patios and maps to guide you, too.

Enjoy before the summer heat arrives!

http://austin.eater.com/maps/austin-best-patios-restaurants-bars

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This is the Hottest Color in Home DecorWhite still remains the top seller when it comes to color for most home furnishings but gray may soon edge it out. Home owners are reaching for shades of gray to decorate their spaces, with grays serving as a new neutral in all tones, from soft silvers to dark charcoals.

“Gray plays well with other colors,” Dee Schlotter, a color brand manager for Glidden Paints, told The Washington Post.

Kate Watson-Smyth, a London-based interior blogger, told The Washington Post that “gray gives life to everything in a room. Gray makes everything look more modern and fresh. Gray makes all your possessions pop out. It gives them presence. A good picture on a gray wall — it’s amazing!”

Gray is edging out the beige era. As Jackie Jordan, director of color marketing at

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In March 2016, year-over-year sales increased 9.3% and area median home prices were up 7.8% to $278,000 over March 2015. Inventory was a very low 2.0 months.

Concerns are being voiced with our area’s ongoing price increases: from Austin home-owners being priced out of the market and the impact on neighborhood diversity. These issues are now affecting neighborhoods such as Manor and Kyle.

“Home sales continue to rise throughout the region, but for many Austin-area residents, home-ownership is just not a feasible option,” said Aaron Farmer, 2016 President of the Austin Board of REALTORS¬®. “Longtime Austin residents are being priced out of their homes and many are unable to live close to their work or school. As a city, we have to start being mindful of how

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Mortgage giants like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac believe that educating home buyers about the home ownership process will help prevent mistakes. But new studies are questioning the effectiveness of these education efforts.

“There is widespread agreement in the industry that home buyer counseling can help prevent some of the mistakes made during the housing boom,” Freddie Mac officials note in this month’s Insight and Outlook edition. “However, early studies of the impact of counseling produced sometimes conflicting or inconclusive results and raised questions about the effectiveness of borrower education and counseling.”

For example, a study of 40,000 participants involved in Freddie Mac’s Affordable Gold Loans Program found that borrowers who underwent

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In December 2014, the principals behind Austin-based MileStone Community Builders LLC, one of the largest local homebuilders in Austin, spent nearly $47 million to purchase a prime parcel of land, about 75 acres, owned for years by the Texas Department of Transportation.

Now, some 18 months later, the formal process of obtaining approvals from the city of Austin to develop the land near 45th Street and MoPac Expressway is just beginning.

After dozens of public meetings, the mixed-use plan for the Grove at Shoal Creek is either being bolstered or criticized by neighbors who love the plan or those who loathe it.

It will be up to city appointees and politicians to determine whether developer "ARG Bull Creek Ltd." can proceed with its plans to create

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U.S. News & World Report’s new national High School ranking shows a big success for some local magnet and charter schools.

Austin Independent School District's Liberal Arts and Science Academy is ranked the best high school in Central Texas and ranked No. 7 in Texas and No. 43 nationally on the list, with KIPP Austin Collegiate, a public charter school, coming in second in the Austin area and No. 10 in the state.

The full list ranked by Austin standing (with State/National ranking):
1. Liberal Arts and Science Academy (7/43)
2. KIPP Austin Collegiate (10/62)
3. Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders(23/125)
4. Chaparral Star Academy (35/224)
5. Westwood High School (41/249)
6. Westlake High School (45/275)

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Kitchen redos can be pricey. That means home owners on a budget must be choosy when trying to decide what kitchen projects to spend money on and what improvements can wait. Realtor.com® recently launched a new series “Renovations That Really Pay Off," and their first article focuses on kitchen projects that have the best return on investment and won't be too much of a financial burden for your clients.

Here are a few of the kitchen projects highlighted:

“Amped Up” Appliances
New appliances like a refrigerator, stainless-steel dishwasher, and stove can have a strong pull with home buyers, says real estate pro Al Cannistra. For example, Cannistra says he had a listing that lingered on the market with outdated appliances but as soon as the owners updated the

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A glitzy new student housing project will be constructed at West 23rd and Nueces streets in the West Campus area near the University of Texas.

Johnson Trube & Associates is building Skyloft, a luxury 22-story tower on the site of the historic Dabney-Horne house — home to one of UT’s first professors, Robert Dabney.

Austin City Council approved an amendment April 7 to a restrictive covenant on the historic property, allowing the developer to relocate the house and build the student housing.

This is the second major student housing project announced by Johnson Trube in the past six months. The Austin-based developer also is building The Corner, an eight-story student housing project at 2508 San Gabriel St.

The proposed Skyloft project will be

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