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4th of July Safety Tips

Celebrating Independence Day is a cherished American tradition that is the perfect occasion to gather with family and friends for some summer fun. While this 4th of July might look a little different than years past with the COVID-19 epidemic we are experiencing, staying safe while you are having fun is still very important! These safety tips cover a few key summer topics to keep you and your family safe this holiday.

SPARKLER AND FIREWORKS SAFETY

  • Never disassemble or try to make your own fireworks.
  • Never point sparklers or fireworks at yourself or others, especially while they are being lit.
  • Fireworks should only be lit on the ground and in areas that are dry, fire resistant, and clear of trees and power lines.
  • Don’t attempt to light multiple devices at the same time.

Sparkler July 4th

  • Spectators should remain a safe distance from the fireworks being lit.
  • Never allow young children to handle fireworks or sparklers.
  • Always have a water hose or bucket of water handy. A fire extinguisher is also great to have on hand.
  • If fireworks malfunction, don’t relight them. Douse them with water then throw them away.
  • Dispose of all firework materials by soaking them in water before putting them in the trash.

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WATER ACTIVITY SAFETY

  • Always review safe boating practices before going out on the water and check that there are enough life preservers on hand for every passenger.
  • Never consume alcohol while driving a boat.
  • Be aware of your surroundings- the July 4th holiday attracts a high volume of boaters, so be sure to be alert at all times and aware of other boats, swimmers, water skiers, kayakers, etc.

July 4th Boating

  • Make sure your boat is in good condition and has all the required safety equipment. Make sure you are ready for an emergency situation or to help others if needed.
  • Be alert to water conditions, such as water depth and currents. Make sure novice swimmers use flotation devices and children have chaperones.
  • Check the weather before departing. Also pay close attention to sudden changes in wind and water conditions.
  • During daylight hours, protect yourself from excess exposure to the sun. Wear sunscreen and a hat.

Stay safe this July 4th and have fun from your friends at TJ Lewis Real Estate and Capital Title!

A special resource to keep you safe on the 4th of July from Capital Title!

 

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May 2020 Central Texas Housing Market Report

COVID-19 exacerbates inventory shortage in Austin area; home sales drop

AUSTIN, Texas—The Greater Austin area continued to feel the stark effects of COVID-19, as housing inventory dropped to critically low levels of less than 2 months of inventory in Austin, Travis County and Williamson County, according to the Austin Board of REALTORS® (ABoR) latest Central Texas Housing Market Report.

Compared to May 2019, residential sales in the five-county Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) decreased 29.2% to 2,697 sales, while sales dollar volume dropped 30.8% to $1,092,374,935. At the same time, the median sales price increased 0.7% to $329,893 and homes spent three fewer days on the market—an average of 47 days. 

“We’re seeing home sales drop because we simply don’t have enough inventory on the market,” Romeo Manzanilla, 2020 ABoR president, said. “We recognize there’s still an element of discomfort with listing one’s home during the pandemic and Austin REALTORS® are taking every precaution to ensure safe and efficient practices across the market. There’s a lot of opportunity for sellers who are ready—new listings have increased visibility and homes are spending less time on the market.” 

Mark Sprague, state director of information capital at Independence Title, said that although real estate was deemed essential, it was significantly impacted by the slowing economy. 

“If you compare Austin’s home sales to the majority of large cities in the U.S., you’ll find Austin’s market has remained strong,” Sprague said. “But, because sales numbers have a one-to-three-month lag time, it was no surprise May sales declined and we’ll likely see the same in June and July. The solution is increased housing stock. Until more homes are put on the market, we won’t see home sales recover anytime soon.” 

In the Austin-Round Rock MSA, an 18.8% decline to 6,086 active listings pushed housing inventory down further to 2 months, 0.6 months lower than May 2019. During the same period, new listings declined 15.8% to 4,151 listings, while pending sales jumped 14.2% to 4,287 sales.

“Pending sales growth is the first sign of recovery, so the strong gains in May pending home sales throughout the MSA is encouraging,” concluded Manzanilla. “With continued population growth and pent-up demand for housing, our region’s housing market will ultimately rebound.”

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City of Austin

In the city of Austin, continued demand and limited inventory drove home prices up, as sales dropped due to fewer listings. The median price for residential homes increased 10.7% year over year to $424,050. Residential sales decreased 36.6% to 826 sales, and sales dollar volume decreased 32.5% to $418,410,453. During the same period, new listings fell 18.7% to 1,348 listings, active listings decreased 13.5% to 1,684 listings and pending sales declined 4.9% to 1,216 pending sales. Monthly housing inventory decreased 0.2 months year over year to 1.7 months of inventory. 

Travis County

At the county level, residential sales declined 33.8% to 1,319 sales, and sales dollar volume dropped 35% to $644,917,945. The median price for residential homes increased 4.7% year over year to $398,345. During the same period, new listings decreased 17.1% to 2,162 listings, while active listings declined 19.7% to 2,959 listings. Pending sales slightly increased 1.1% to 2,016 pending sales. Monthly housing inventory decreased 0.5 months year over year to 1.9 months of inventory. 

Williamson County

In Williamson County, May residential sales decreased by 27.1% to 914 sales, and sales dollar volume decreased 26.4% to $297,560,285. The median price fell 2.7% to $290,000. New listings dropped 20.1% to 1,269 listings, while active listings slightly decreased 23.7% to 1,826 listings. Pending sales jumped 23.6% to 1,497 pending sales. Housing inventory declined 0.7 months year over year to 1.8 months of inventory. 

Hays County

In Hays County, May residential sales fell 19.1% to 340 sales, and sales dollar volume decreased 20.5% to $115,545,478. The median price for residential homes declined by 0.8% to $265,900. During the same period, new listings slightly decreased 0.4% to 528 listings, and active listings decreased 8% to 890 listings. Pending sales jumped 44% to 583 pending sales. Housing inventory decreased 0.5 months to 2.6 months of inventory. 

Bastrop County

In May, Bastrop County residential sales fell 13% to 100 sales, while sales dollar volume decreased 10.1% to $28,723,638. The median price for residential homes increased 9.3% to $260,000. During the same period, new listings decreased 5.6% to 152 listings, active listings decreased 8.5% to 323 listings, while pending sales jumped 29.1% to 151 pending sales. Housing inventory decreased 0.6 months to 3.5 months of inventory.  

Caldwell County

In Caldwell County, May residential sales decreased 14.3% to 24 sales, and sales dollar volume decreased by 13.5% to $5,077,774. The median home price dropped 12.1% year over year to $179,900. During the same period, new listings fell 7% to 40 listings, active listings decreased 14.6% to 88 listings, while pending sales jumped 42.9% to 40 pending sales. Housing inventory decreased 0.7 months to 3.5 months of inventory.  

For more information or to download the May 2020 Central Texas Housing Market Report, visit http://www.abor.com/statsmay20. All information taken from the Austin Board of Realtors May 2020 Central Texas Housing Market Report,

 

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Best Hiking Trails Around Austin

Austin is well known for being an active city – fitness and outdoor activities are a highlight for many locals. One reason is the abundance of trails, paths and hikes available to its residents. While there are too many trails or paths to put together in just one list, here are some of our top trails to check out in the area. We tried to add different trails from different areas all around our city so you always have one close to you and you have ideas of different trails to check out in the area you might not be familiar with as well!

Barton Creek Greenbelt Trail

The Barton Creek Greenbelt is one of the most popular and longest trails in the Austin area. Out and back, it is 13.8 miles and heavily trafficked with numerous activity options. Dogs are permitted on this trail and it is accessible year-round.

Twin Falls & Sculpture Falls Via Barton Creek Greenbelt

Twin Falls and Sculpture Falls are part of the Barton Creek Greenbelt Trail but are two of the most popular spots along the route. Don’t miss these falls!

Lady Bird Lake Trail

This trail runs next to downtown Austin with numerous bridges and over-water stretches. Ten miles in all, this loop has great views of Austin. It is accessible year-round and pet friendly!

Walnut Creek Trail

Located within Walnut Creek Metro Park in North Austin, this 1.3 mile loop trail includes a river and is accessible year-round. The creek is a common place for dogs to play and people to sunbathe and there are other interconnecting trails to explore

McKinney Falls (1)

Onion Creek and Homestead Loop

McKinney Falls State Park is a popular stop in the Austin area and features the Onion Creek and Homestead Trail Loop. They are good for all skill levels and allow dogs as long as they are leashed. The waterfall is a popular spot but reservations are required during COVID-19 so make sure to check the park’s website before setting out. 

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Great Hills Park Trail

Great Hills Park Trail is a 2.3 mile loop located in Northwest Austin at Quarries Park. The trail is great for hiking, walking and trail running and will allow leashed-dogs with you. 

Upper Bull Creek Greenbelt

Close by Great Hills Park Trail is another great trail, the Upper Bull Creek Greenbelt Trail. This trail is 2.2 miles with beautiful wildflowers!

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Lake Austin – 360 Bridge Overlook

The 360 Bridge Overlook provides one of the most popular photo spots in all of Austin. The hike up from 360 is a little steep but short and the views at the top make it all worth it. You’ll probably recognize the Pennybacker Bridge over Lake Austin from postcard and tourism photos – you’ll want to stop to take your own too! There is a gradual path off the top running about 1.7 miles. 

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Mount Bonnell Trail

Mount Bonnell Trail is one of the shortest in the Austin area – only .5 miles. In reality, it is a short climb up the steps to the top of Mount Bonnell. At the top, you’ll find great Austin views and picnic areas to rest or relax. 

Three Falls Hike

Another trail on the Barton Creek Greenbelt, the Three Falls Hike is 7.3 miles out and back with a waterfall and activity options along the way. 

Austin is a great place to live with plenty of indoor and outdoor activity options! Did we list your favorite trail or hike?! Let us know your favorite in the comments below! 

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Managing Your Mosquito Problem

Mosquitoes have been around for millions of years and are one of the most irritating pests known to man. Most mosquito bites result in itchy red bumps that last for a few days. However, mosquitoes may also transmit diseases such as Zika virus, West Nile virus, encephalitis and chikungunya.

Where Do They Live?

The majority of mosquito bites you receive on your property are from mosquitoes living around your home.

  • Foliage – A large portion of adult mosquitoes tend to hide in the foliage surrounding your home
  • Standing Water – Standing water is a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Clogged gutters, containers or even forgotten toys left outside can produce hundreds of new mosquitoes in just a few days.

Taking the Initiative as a Homeowner

As a homeowner, how do you deal with Mosquitos? There are a number of steps you can take on your own to reduce the number of mosquitoes in your lawn before calling for professional help.

  • Clean and change the water in any birdbaths regularly
  • Remove any cans, bottles or other open containers in your yard that might collect water
  • Remove any tree stumps where water can collect
  • Clean our your gutters to prevent water buildup from clogs
  • Drain any kid-sized wading pools when they are not being used
  • Avoid overwatering your lawn

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Getting Professional Help

Maybe you don’t have the time to deal with mosquitoes on your own or maybe you are ready to take your mosquito treatment to the next level. Professional pest control can address mosquitoes with a number of different treatments:

  • Apply a larvicide treatment to areas where
    there is standing water
  • Provide a barrier application around your
    entire property
  • Apply residual material to all likely mosquito resting areas, such as shrubs, as well as under decks and patio furniture
  • Provide a list of recommendations explaining what you can do to help reduce the population of these pests, beyond what you are doing already

Program Options

Most pest control companies have two different program options for treating mosquitoes. We recommend Massey Services when you are ready to really rid your yard of these pesky insects.

  • Annual or Seasonal Program – This treatment is the most effective plan for your home. It includes a monthly inspection and treatments to reduce the population of mosquitoes around your home and property.
  • One-Time Treatment – This treatment can be useful for one-time events. The entire area will be treated in the days leading up to the event. A mosquito trap will also be provided just before the start of the event to help eliminate these pests throughout the evening.