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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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April 2020 Central Texas Housing Market Report

Austin-area home sales feel impact of COVID-19 pandemic

Signs of optimism remain

AUSTIN, Texas—Austin-area home sales declined across most of the region in April as the full impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and local shelter-in-place orders was felt in the housing market, according to the Austin Board of REALTORS® (ABoR) latest Central Texas Housing Market Report.

Compared to April 2019, residential sales in the five-county Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) decreased 21.6% to 2,611 sales, while sales dollar volume fell 18.3% to $1,060,228,668. A 7.3% decline in active listings to 6,349 listings drove housing inventory down further to 2.1 months, 0.2 months lower than this time last year. At the same time, median sales price increased 3.2% to $325,000 and homes spent nine fewer days on the market, or an average of 43 days.

“We anticipated a sharp decline in April home sales activity, as it directly correlates with the decline in listings activity recorded in March due to government stay-at-home orders,” ABoR President Romeo Manzanilla said. “Even with the impact to home sales, homes still spent less time on the market and sold at higher prices than last April. Austin’s housing demand is undeterred, and possibly strengthened by declining inventory.”

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Continued declines in listing activity in April 2020 could mean a second consecutive month of declining home sales. During the same period, active listings dropped 7.3% to 6,349 listings, new listings declined 21.1% to 3,516 listings, and pending sales declined 25% to 2,801 sales.

Lawrence Yun, chief economist and senior vice president of research at the National Association of REALTORS®, said while Central Texas has not been more negatively impacted than the U.S. housing market at large, he anticipates improvement in the market.

“As the economy steadily reopens, expect more listings to pop up, which will help ease the housing shortage. By the end of this year, home sales could be at levels comparable to 2019,” Yun said. “The local economy will also get an additional boost from more home construction that is needed for improving the market going into the next year,” Yun concluded.

Manzanilla is equally optimistic on the resiliency of Austin’s housing market. “It could have been much worse. Efforts to recognize real estate as an essential business helped lessen the negative impact of the pandemic during April; now listing and showing activity is already on the rise again. We’re hopeful this growth will continue in the coming weeks and months.”

City of Austin

In the city of Austin, the median price for residential homes experienced a double-digit increase of 12.3% year over year to $421,000. Residential sales decreased 33.1% to 759 sales, and sales dollar volume dropped by 23.9% to $387,921,787. During the same period, new listings decreased 24.8% to 1,158 listings, active listings fell 6.2% to 1,631 listings and pending sales declined 39% to 814 pending sales. Monthly housing inventory decreased 0.1 months year over year to 1.6 months of inventory.

Travis County

At the county level, residential sales declined 28.6% to 1,223 sales, and sales dollar volume dropped 23.7% to $602,124,601. The median price for residential homes increased 9.7% year over year to $395,000. During the same period, new listings decreased 26.5% to 1,779 listings, while active listings declined 12.8% to 2,929 listings. Pending sales also dropped 34.4% to 1,331 pending sales. Monthly housing inventory decreased 0.3 months year over year to 1.9 months of inventory.

Williamson County

In Williamson County, April residential sales decreased by 23.1% to 887 sales, and sales dollar volume declined 19.2% to $292,880,025. The median price showed resiliency and rose by 6.6% to $300,000. New listings declined 16.4% to 1,140 listings, while active listings slightly decreased 4.4% to 2,046 listings. Pending sales decreased 17.8% to 982 pending sales. Housing inventory declined 0.2 months year over year to 2.0 months of inventory.

Hays County

Despite the pandemic and stay-at-home orders, Hays County residential sales in April spiked 16.2% to 395 sales, and sales dollar volume jumped 18.6% to $136,147,504. The median price for residential homes declined by 1.6% to $284,950. During the same period, new listings increased 4.4% to 475 listings, and active listings increased 4% to 945 listings. Pending sales slightly decreased 1.9% to 368 pending sales. Housing inventory decreased 0.1 months to 2.8 months of inventory.

Bastrop County

In April, Bastrop County residential sales dropped 6.5% to 87 sales, while sales dollar volume marginally increased 3.1% to $24,229,255. The median price for residential homes increased 10.6% to $260,000. During the same period, new listings tumbled 41.7% to 98 listings, active listings slightly increased 0.9% to 339 listings and pending sales fell 9.3% to 98 pending sales. Housing inventory decreased 0.3 months to 3.6 months of inventory.

Caldwell County

In Caldwell County, April residential sales declined 36.7% to 19 sales, and sales dollar volume decreased by 45.2% to $4,095,899. The median home price slightly dropped 1.9% year over year to $202,500. During the same period, new listings fell by 51% to 24 listings, active listings decreased 10% to 90 listings and pending sales declined by 12% to 22 pending sales. Housing inventory decreased 0.5 months to 3.6 months of inventory. 

For more information, and to download the April 2020 Central Texas Housing Market Report, visit http://www.abor.com/statsapr20. All information taken from the Austin Board of Realtors March 2020 Central Texas Housing Market Report,

 

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Best Burger Restaurants in Austin

Burgers are a staple of any classic American cuisine and Austin’s food scene is no different. From local fast food joints to “hole in wall” Austin classics or gourmet creations, the Austin area has a little bit of everything. Here is our list of some of the top restaurants to enjoy a burger at in our hometown. Some we like because of the amazing tastes, meat or creations and others we like for the history, ambiance or overall meal. If you want our FAVORITE burger or restaurant, ask your local TJ Lewis agent – we’d love to help!

In alphabetical order…

3

Arlo’s

Arlo’s serves plant-based comfort food in a bistro style setting for the Austin nightlife scene. Their food is designed to satisfy omnivores and herbivores alike, offering a fantastic alternative to the usual late night trailer eateries.

Clark’s Oyster Bar

Don’t be confused by the name – the Pan Roasted Black Angus Hamburger at Clarke’s is one of the top burgers in the Austin area!

1

Dan’s Hamburgers

Dan’s has been an Austin tradition since 1973 and is still family owned and operated – one of the Austin “Classics” you should check out!

Hat Creek 

Another Austin trailer restaurant that grew into much more, now with locations all over Texas. Hat Creek is a great environment for kids and adults to enjoy amazing burgers, fries, and shakes (their lettuce wrap burger is delicious!). 

5

Hop Doddy’s

An Austin original that where it’s gormet burgers might actually be outdone by it’s shakes. And we didn’t mention the parmesan truffle fries with Truffle Aioli…Yum!

2

Jewboys

JewBoy Burgers is a food truck that mixes a US/Mexico Border Culture and a traditional Reform Jewish upbringing together to make burgers and latkes that honor both cultures. 

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Mighty Fine

Another Austin original with delicious burgers, fries and shakes but set apart with their fanatical focus on quality and service. So much so that they were the recipient of a Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award: the nation’s highest presidential honor for performance excellence!

4

P.Terry’s

Austin’s fast food burger stand – a simple menu with an open kitchen, featuring premium quality ingredients, all served at affordable prices. To the burgers, add fresh-baked cookies, banana bread, house veggie burger and fresh-squeezed orange juice and lemonade!

Phil’s Icehouse

Started in 2003 by Steven and Amy of Amy’s Ice Cream (another Austin original servicing made to order ice cream creations), Phil’s Icehouse has burgers named after local Austin neighborhoods. It’s a popular spot with kids as each location has an enjoyable outdoor play area. 

Sandy’s

A favorite for true Austinintes, Sandy’s has been serving burgers, fries and ice cream on Barton Springs Rd for generations – since the 1940’s actually! Perhaps your most afforadalbe burger in Austin – taste the history of Austin!

Top Notch

If you are not from Austin, you might recognize Top Notch Burgers from the 1993 movie, Dazed and Confused. Austinintes have been coming here since 1971 for the charcoal-grilled burgers and fried chicken.