Austin Ranks High on Technology / Office Growth is Strong

Recon, the on-line publication from the Texas A&M Real Estate Center, reported this week that Austin ranked number 3 in cities in both the USA and in Canada that have jobs and services in the technology industry.  Tech jobs in Austin grew a whopping 33.3% from 2013 to 2015 vs. the national average growth of 7.3%.  The article didn’t state how many jobs this growth represented but let’s just agree that it is a bunch!

The article also commented on the Austin office market.  Austin ranked second in the nation on net absorption of office space.  Well this fits nicely with all of the high tech jobs coming to office because those firms can’t work out of a tent!  The Austin office market had the distinction of having the 8th highest office rent.

What does all of this mean to us investors in Austin area real estate?  It means that all of these new comers to the Austin area have to live somewhere and residential rentals provide that need.

This is especially true when taking into consideration that many high tech employees are millennials who seem to have an aversion to buying a house.  I interpret this information to mean that the high paying tech jobs spurn office growth which in turn spurns construction jobs, which spurns jobs in the retail and service industries which in turn spurns a demand for housing.  The Austin area has a strong residential rental market and the outlook seems to indicate that this demand will continue into the future.

So hang onto your Austin residential rentals,  keep them well maintained, and enjoy your profits.

Rick Ebert / Austin, Texas / 1 Dec 16

Austin Area Jobs:  Looking Good – No Looking GREAT!

According to a recent article in the Austin American Statesman Austin added 21,200 jobs from October 2015 to October 2016.  To me that figure represents a small city so it is pretty darn impressive.  Shadowing this figure is the Austin metro area unemployment rate which is reported at 3.2%.  To me this means that anyone who wants a job can have one.  In October, 2015 the unemployment rate was a whopping 3.3% so obviously the Austin area is the envy of any city, anywhere, period.  Drew Scheberly from the Texas Workforce Commission was quoted as saying that the average family income in the area is increasing as are the jobs responsible for that and he expects the trend to continue.  Namely there is a demand for people to fill positions in the areas of medical and high tech, all of which have nice pay scales.  Let’s not forget that Samsung recently committed to invest an additional $1 billon in its local chip manufacturing and plans to add 500 engineering jobs.

So for us investors in Austin area residential rentals the future looks sunny and bright.  I’m glad to hold several residential rentals. 

Rick Ebert / Austin, TX/ 21 Nov 16

Austin is a Landlord’s Market

Yesterday local news station KVUE ran a piece on the Austin apartment situation.  The reporter quoted which stated that apartment rents have increased more than 5%  this year.  This trend is expected to continue because, even though many apartment communities have been built construction is expected to slow down because of tightening lending require- ments.  The piece went on to state that renters these days are not necessarily just looking for larger spaces but want amenities.  What does this mean for us landlords of single family dwellings?  It means that we have to offer housing that is well maintained and in good repair.  It also means that we need to offer amenities to go along with the sticks and bricks.  In our area such amenities include ceiling fans in the living room and bedrooms, garage door openers, expanded decks or patios, irrigation systems, and similar items.  These amenities not only shorten the vacancy period but will be reasons for the tenant to remain in place.  Naturally it also adds value to the property.

So owning residential real estate in the Austin area is wise choice that is hard for any other investment to beat.

Rick Ebert / Austin, Texas / 1 Nov 16

Austin Employment Figures are G R E A T !!!

According to a recent article in the Austin American Statesman the employment figures for the Austin area which includes Caldwell, Bastrop, Hays, Williamson and Travis counties is 96.5%.  This is the same figure as last month and it means virtually everyone who wants a job has one.  These counties added over 28,000 more jobs than this time a year ago. That’s amazing and amounts to a 3% annual job growth rate which should be the envy of every city.  Statewide the unemployment rate for this period rose a bit from 4.7% to 4.8% but is still below the national average of 5%.  I wasn’t surprised to read that construction jobs grew by 4,800 jobs over a year ago.  Just about every area around here is seeing some kind of construction work from new construction to remodeling.  Professional and business services added 6,000 new jobs. 

These are great reasons why owning Austin area residential real estate is a good idea and a great investment.

Rick Ebert/Austin, Texas/26 Oct 16

Shelly Longoria Earns RMP Designation

Austin Landmark Property Services, Inc. (CRMC) is proud to announce that Shelly Longoria has the Residential Property Manager designation from the National Association of Residential Property Managers (NARPM®).  Only a few hundred members of NARPM® have earned this designation and that is because are no easy steps to obtain it.  At ALPS we strongly believe that we deliver quality service by having the best educated residential property managers in the industry, and we welcome Shelly to these ranks and invite you to do likewise.  The requirements for the RMP designation are listed below.

RMP® Requirements:

  • Be a current member of NARPM®.
  • Be a currently licensed real estate agent for a period of not less than the 2 previous years. (If your state requires licensing.)
  • Verification of 100 unit years of experience acquired over a minimum of two consecutive years. (One unit year equals management of 1 residential unit for 1 year.) Must manage a minimum of 25 residential units during candidacy period and at the time of achieving the designation.
  • Successfully complete 18 hours of NARPM® approved coursework, plus the NARPM® Ethics course.
  • Earn 50 elective points through service to NARPM®. All Service Verification should be provided on the required 
  • Attend two NARPM® state or regional conferences OR one NARPM® national convention prior to completing candidacy.
  • Submit letters of recommendation from 2 RMP® or MPM® designees and 3 clients. Letters of Recommendation should be completed through online designation packet.

Rick Ebert/Austin, Texas/27 Sept 16

High Tech Firms Flock to Austin

In a report published today by Offices/Americas the JLL Company, a real estate project and development firm, stated that high tech firms are flocking to the Austin and Dallas area. The reasons given are not to us:  relatively low cost of living, well-educated millennial talent pool, a diversified employment talent base, and room to expand (at reasonable expense I should add).  The report covered the top 15 high tech firms in the land and Dallas came in 8th and Austin came in growth.  When measured against being resilient to an economic contraction, Austin placed 3rd, and Dallas came in at 12.  The report stated that this trend is expected to continue and this fits in nicely without sources that I have examined this year.  In order to maintain this pace new buildings and those be retrofitted for high tech firms are adding amenities once considered luxury items.  These include items such as charging stations, helipads, boat launches, hike and bike paths, and the like.

What these means to us investors in Austin area residential real estate is that our rentals must be in a condition to attract these millennials that are moving here.  Start with the basics such as paint and floor coverings that are fresh, nice yards, garage openers, ceiling fans, irrigation systems, and modern kitchen appliances.  In the past I considered offering landscaping as a luxury item, but I (and you) may want to reconsider that option as millennials probably don’t like mowing lawns (do any of us really?).  In our area lawn mowing twice monthly is only needed about 9 months out of the year.  During the dormant months I have the lawn crew trim up the grass and do tree and shrub maintenance only once a month.  It is something to consider as it is a value added amenity and you can probably recoup the monthly cost and maybe even make a few extra dollars if it means that your rental will lease up faster than the completion.


Rick Ebert / 20/Sep /1

Austin Area adds 7,800 jobs in June

Wow!  According to an article in the Austin American Statesman, the metro area added 7,800 jobs in June of this year.  There are cities that don’t have that many inhabitants so I find the number quite impressive.  Texas in general and the Austin area in particular continue to have a robust economy.  Fueling this migration of jobs is the economic well-being of the state which touts no personal income tax, lots of room for expanding or starting a business, and a well-educated population in our major metro areas.  So you might say that Texas and the Austin area are “user friendly” when it comes to job growth.  Leading the charge in our area job growth in June was construction.  Not a surprise here as the businesses coming here have to have buildings in order to function.

Of the 7,800 new jobs, 1,200 were in construction which many consider to be the backbone of middle income wages.  Of course all this means that these wage earners have to spend their money somewhere and in turn this means that the service and hospitability sectors grow, which in turn creates more jobs for our area.  And so the economic wheel continues to churn for our area.  And all of this is good news for us investors or Austin area residential real estate.

Let the good times churn! 

Rick Ebert / Austin, Texas / 23 July 16

Austin is the Right Place!

Nationally apartment rents have risen 64% from 1960 to 2014 according to Apartment List.  They also state that income for the same period have risen only 19%.  Reportedly 37% of all households nationwide rent their domicile, the highest figure in decades and renters are struggling to pay rent.  Austin in contrast has a much different and a much better story.  In Austin almost 53% of the population is renters and it has been this way since I moved here in 1981.  Of course the numbers have fluctuated, but Austin has a high concentration of renters for decades.  Apartment List states that the average apartment rent is currently $1,092 and the average renter is making $4.262 a month.  In 1980 those figures were $761 and $30.227 respectfully.  So in Austin wages are keeping up with the increases in rent and this is good for us owners of local residential rentals.  According to Apartment List the reason for Austin’s success are strong employment growths, attractiveness of the city, and our good friends the millennials. One definition of a millennial is someone born from 1982 to the early 2,000’s.  The USA has a reported 83.1 million millennials in 2015. These folks like their freedom to move about and therefore a big contributing influence to the overall rental population and certainly within the Austin area.  I see them coming to Austin to take good high paying jobs and rent a house.  They are also renewing their leases more frequently than in the past.  In 1971 the typical renter was someone who just graduated from UT and didn’t want to leave and either rented an apartment, condo or a duplex – that has changed a lot.

So how is Austin stacking up to her sister cities?  Apartment List reports that Dallas has increased rents from $761 to $968 on the average since 1980 but the average wage for a Dallas renter actually decreased to $37,237 from $38.406 in 1980.  And Houston has fared even worse.  In 1980 the average rent was $807 and is currently averaging $940 a month.  The average wage for a Houston renter in 1980 was $42,225 and now is only $38.447.

Now is a great time to own Austin area residential rentals!

Rick Ebert / Austin, Texas / 12 July 16

Spring 2016 Realtor® Party magazine

In the spring 2016 Realtor® Party magazine there was an article stating that  the U.S. Census Bureau reports that rental housing accounts for “more” than 1/3 of the nation’s housing and that this trend has been strong during this last decade in part because of the number of folks that went to foreclosure and in part because of the recession.  Apparently a lot of would be homeowners also are spooked by the perceived risks of owning a home.  Another reason is that renting a home vs. owning a home gives one the mobility and financial flexibility they desire and also frees them from the maintenance responsibilities that with home ownership.

The article stated that in towns having a university that housing is often a premium and that demand is high making the conversion of single family homes into rentals is often an attractive investment.  Austin, San Marcus, and Georgetown are local examples of this claim.  On the flip side of the coin renting is often the only option for low income families.

Now that the recent recession is behind us renting has caused shortage of affordable housing nationwide and in the Austin area I must add.  This is good news if you own rent housing and not very good if you are a renter.  Putting pressure on the availability of affordable rent housing is the increasing number of short-term rentals that have been popping up nationwide.  These short-term rent houses obviously are not on the long-term rental market which adds to the shortage.

When you add to the equation that many would be first time homebuyers, folks in their mid-twenties – and mid-thirties are strapped with large student debt and find it tough to save for a down payment that moves upward with the increasing value of housing, it becomes apparent that there is a great need to provide them with a basic need:  a rent house.  And that is where you and I come into play.  As owners of residential real estate we are in a position to provide a well maintained rental that will bring us financial reward.

Rick Ebert/ Austin, Texas/ 8 July 16

Mike Gonzales Earns RMP Designation

Shown on the right is Mike Gonzales being awarded his RMP designation from Michael Ebert, RMP current president of the Austin Chapter of the National Association of Residential Property Managers.  We at Austin Landmark Property Services, Inc. are proud to have shared in Mike’s achievement as we have seen him work diligently through the years to obtain his RMP designation.  The course of study and work includes 200 unit hours of continuous property management experience over 2 years (Mike is way beyond that point), eighteen hours of course work study, provide service to the local NARPM chapter and or to national, and attend state, regional, or national NARPM conferences.  Mike has been very active in NARPM and will serve as next year’s Austin Chapter President.

Again, congratulations Mike Gonzales!

Rick Ebert | Austin, TX | 24 June 16