July 2014

Luxury Houston Real Estate Must Haves

Have you ever wondered what ultra-luxury buyers are looking for in their Houston property?  While the common items are expected, there are a few that you may not have thought of.

While a home media room is one must have that may come to mind, Houston luxury homebuyers are instead seeking out amenities that focus on their children.  Luxury homebuyers are looking for large garages that can accommodate their children who are in college, along with their older children that have moved out when they come to visit.  They are also looking for bedrooms with separate lofts that can be used as playrooms for younger children that live at home.  Homebuyers are also looking for homes that can accommodate their parents.

Houston homebuyers are also looking for luxury in their kitchens.  In fact, homes nowadays are getting more outdoor kitchens and patios that are being decorated with furniture to make it look like they belong inside.  Light colored Carrara marble is also becoming a popular item in kitchens.  This is a high quality white or blue-grey marble that is popular for its use in sculpture and building décor.  Also very popular is the mega-island, which is extra-long and wide to provide space for cooking and socializing.

Luxury homebuyers are often buying property with incredible views or a beautiful landscape, and they want to capitalize on that with oversize or floor-to-ceiling windows. Larger windows also let in a lot of natural light and can make rooms feel bigger.  Nothing feels bigger than walking into a home and having a panoramic view of a garden.

If you think a home theater may seem extravagant, you may be surprised to hear that it is just as common to a luxury home as the dining room is. Homeowners usually keep it stocked with a popcorn machine, candy, and all their favorite movies.  This is a great place to spend time with the family, and for entertaining.

Home elevators are becoming a more sought out amenity in today’s luxury homes.  What’s more luxurious than stepping off an elevator right into your own foyer?  As the baby boomer population gets older they are realizing that climbing stairs may not be easy in 20 or 30 years.  Home builders are actually starting to line up closets with proper dimensions so they can be converted to an elevator shaft as the homeowners grow older.

When it comes to luxury real estate, the list of wants has changed, and new design trends are emerging in the market.  When an average person hears elevator or movie theater, they probably think of a mall, but for ultra-luxury buyers, these are must haves for a home.

Austin Real Estate Appreciation

Over time, the value of a home will rise and fall.  In most cases, however, home values appreciate in the long term.  It is important to remember that with real estate, there is always a certain amount of risk.  Let’s take a closer look at real estate appreciation in Austin, TX.

2000 was a great year for Austin, as the annual appreciation rate was about 12.50%.  Shortly thereafter, the bust occurred, and disaster struck.  In 2001 the rate dropped to 9.44%, and dropped even further to 1.54% in 2002.  A low point came in 2003 when rates dropped to a shocking -0.29%.  The rate then slowly rose to 1.02% in 2004.

Good news came in 2005 when the appreciation rate climbed back up to 4.90%.  In 2006 it rose to 8.19%, and in 2007 rates reached 9.34%.  Unfortunately in mid-2007 a serious financial crisis occurred, and the appreciation rate began to fall.  In 2008, rates went back down to 4.81%, and in 2009 they plummeted to 0.01%.  While the years between 2009 – 2014 saw a downturn (the Great Recession), the rates eventually returned to normal.  The average growth during this period was 3.4%.

If Austin had not experienced the and Great Recession downturns, and maintained a 6% appreciation since 2000, the median price today would be about $326,388. It is actually at a more affordable price of $230,000.  With inventory at an all-time low, homebuyers are finding themselves competing for homes, and offering more than the list price.  Once inventory becomes low and demand rises, appreciation rates will rise.  Mark Sprague, State Director of Information Capital of Austin, was quoted as saying “Appreciation in Austin ranges between 5%-9% during growth periods.  We think that 9% appreciation is predictable for 2014 and 2015.  At least 6% appreciation for the following three years is likely.”

While appreciation rates in Austin have fluctuated over the past 14 years, they are expected to rise in the next three to five.  Prices will move up once demand exceeds supply.



Heji, Roselind. “Austin Appreciation – A Long View.”  29 May 2014.