Area real estate experts say trends in Southwest Austin include housing inventory shortages, mixed-use developments and energy-efficient homes.
Low housing inventory continues to drive up Southwest Austin home prices, according to Marc Warshawsky, market manager for Realty Austin Southwest.
Over a 12-month period beginning in May 2016, the average price for a home in the area was $325,371 according to data from the Austin Board of Realtors.
The average months of inventory for the same time period was 1.9 months. Months of inventory measures how much time it would take for the market’s current inventory of homes to sell if no additional homes were added. A balanced market has an inventory supply of about six months.
Still the area is inching toward gaining more inventory in the near future. The availability of land means builders are looking to the area to develop residential properties, Warshawsky said.
2. Area developers migrating toward mixed-use zoning
Area developers are beginning to favor mixed-use zoning, which opens up more options for development, said Jorge Rousselin, CodeNEXT project manager for the city of Austin.
Mixed-use zoning combines residential, commercial or industrial uses within one property.
When deliberating the approval of a zoning change, Rousselin said, City Council also considers the area’s neighborhood plan. Most rezoning in Southwest Austin is happening along the major corridors and at the Y in Oak Hill, he added.
Mixed-use developments currently underway in the area include Lantana IV and Belterra Village.
Due to the area’s position over the recharge zone for the Edwards Aquifer, developers face harsher impervious restrictions when building in Southwest Austin, said Chuck Lesniak, the city’s environmental officer.
However, Lesniak said the lower allotment for human-made surfaces that do not absorb rainfall, ranging from 15-25 percent of the development, does not discourage builds in the area, where available tracts are in “high demand.”
4. Southwest Austin sees rise in eco-friendly home trends
Energy-efficient, or green, additions to homes are gaining traction in Southwest Austin, statistics show.
Heidi Kasper, energy efficiency services manager with Austin Energy, said over 3,300 single-family homes in Southwest Austin have earned a “green building” rating since 1993. To gain the designation, a single-family home must meet a number of requirements, such as heating, ventilation and air conditioning efficiency.
To save on electric bills, homeowners are installing solar panels, said Travis Jennings, client manager for Self Reliant Solar, a Southwest Austin-based business offering consultation, design and installation of solar panels for residential and commercial clients. Several options for installation exist, but he most cost-effective choice is roof installation, Jennings said.
5. Homebuyers looking to master-planned communities
Some Southwest Austin residents are opting to reside in master-planned communities to avoid commuting to the city’s central core, real estate experts say.
“It’s a built-in social life—they can get anything a true urban environment offers,” said Marc Warshawsky, Realty Austin Southwest market manager.
Across Southwest Austin, communities such as Belterra, Goodnight Ranch and Circle C Ranch offer quick and convenient access to amenities, allowing residents to avoid the city’s traffic dilemma.