NY Times Article on the Austin Real Estate Market: A Backcountry City with Manna from Heaven?

21 02 2008
Lady Bird Lake

This goes to show you, not all news is bad. But as John Stewart aptly stated [referring to mainstream reporting] last night in a humorous interview with Larry King, “at this point, unfortunately, you have to judge each piece of [news] material. There are very few [news] organizations left that have a credibility savings account that they can draw on anymore.”

So while this piece comes as a breath of fresh air in the long chain of doom and gloom national market reports, I caution readers from reading too much into the headlines [both positive and negative] simply because the national media says it’s so. If you are buying or selling in Austin, study the market and more importantly the neighborhood and street in which you are looking, then make your assertions about the market.

That being said, I did agree with much of what the article had to say, minus the characterization of Austin as a backcountry city. It has its quirks, no doubt. But for a city that doubles in population every 15 to 20 years and has the number 1 projected GMP growth for the entire US [32% over the next  5 years],backcountry it is not. The secret is out, Austin continues to be a destination. 

Here’s the NY Times article:

February 15, 2008
Some Cities are Spared the Slide in Housing 
By Clifford Kraus and Ron Nixon
Correction Appended

AUSTIN, Tex. — The real estate market these days is a tale of two Americas, and one of them is not doing too badly.

In the America of big-city housing markets, especially on the coasts and in the struggling industrial Midwest, the huge run-up in values in recent years has given way to big drops in prices and sales volume. Millions of people owe more than their houses are worth. 

But in the other America, specifically in cities like Austin; Grand Forks, N.D.; Yakima, Wash.; and Salem, Ore., the available evidence suggests the real estate market is holding up. Prices there never boomed as crazily as they did in the big cities, and now, even though volume is down almost everywhere, prices in many of these towns are firm or rising.

Consider the experience of one Austin resident, Dan Clark. Forced by a job change to put his house here on the market, he wondered whether he would get anything like the $385,000 he paid for it a year ago. He was floored when the second potential buyer to look at the place snapped it up for $429,000. “Manna from heaven,” he said.

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