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February Market Report

Before we take a look at this extremely volatile housing and mortgage market and how it is impacting Austin, I want to introduce you to the best real estate search engine available, which we now have on our website. This tool allows you to:

1. Easily search for residential, lease, commercial, investment, and land/lot properties
2. Define search criteria using mapping, schools, subdivisions, zip codes, or many other fields
3. Save searches for ongoing use
4. Setup email alerts for any new properties that meet your search criteria

Do you want to know the sale price of homes that have recently sold around you? By using our real-time market snap shot you can receive an interactive map of your neighborhood or area of interest showing the location, description, and price of each sold and listed home near you.

There are a number of off-setting factors that are having huge impacts on the Austin housing market. Though economic forecasters are predicting a slowdown, Austin is still projected to create 17,000 new jobs in 2008, and ramp up to 24,000 new jobs in 2009. That said, new home starts dropped 31% in 2007, even though Austin and Raleigh-Durham are the only two areas in the United States that appreciated in value last year. The sale of homes below $180,000 has declined from a year ago with a dramatic decline in the sale of homes below $140,000. This is due largely to lenders tightening lending requirements for marginal first-time home buyers and investors. Demand has actually increased, however, for homes exceeding $180,000, due to the availability of exceptionally low interest rates for properly qualified borrowers and a solid inventory of available homes. Currently, single family listings in Austin are up 21% to 8,279 units, and condo listings are up 80% to 1,587 units. Pending sales, however, are down 48% and 79%, respectively.

As we move into Spring expect buying to pick up significantly as Austin home owners leverage this lull and low interest rates to move up to nicer homes or into more desirable neighborhoods that are temporarily more affordable.

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