Dwell Downtown Austin Blog

Home Buyer’s Tax Credit About to End

Posted in Real Estate Finance by Bryan Cady on March 2, 2010

Qualified 2009 and 2010 first-time home buyers can get up to 10% of the home’s purchase price or a maximum of $8,000. In November 2009, legislation extended a tax credit of up to $6,500 (or up 10% of the home’s purchase price) to long-time residents of the same primary residence if they purchase a new main home. To qualify, eligible taxpayers must show that they lived in their previous homes for a five-consecutive-year period during the eight-year period ending on the closing date of the new home.

Important details to remember:

  1. You don’t have to pay it back (as long as you stay in your qualified home for at least 36 months).
  2. If you qualify for the credit, you can still apply it to this year’s taxes, even if you’ve already filed your returns, or save it for your 2010 returns.
  3. This is a true tax credit, not a deduction. If you qualify for the full credit, there will be an actual dollar-for-dollar reduction of up to $8,000 (or up to $6,500 for qualified repeat buyers) on your tax bill now or in 2010.
  4. New income qualification limits have been put in place that expanded the pool of qualified buyers.
  5. If you purchased a qualified home or plan to after reading this article, you must have a contract in place by April 30, 2010 (with closing to take place by June 30, 2010), so don’t wait!

There are, of course, other details and qualification requirements and restrictions that you’ll need to consider. For a comprehensive explanation, contact your CPA.

Source: Stephen Steakley <stephen@urbanam.com>

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The Results are in! Sabine on Fifth Auction Results in Downtown Austin

Posted in Uncategorized by Bryan Cady on March 1, 2010
Sabine on Fifth Downtown Austin Condos Results are in!

Downtown Austin Condos - Sabine on Fifth Auction Results are in!

There were no surprises at today’s auction. 31 units were auctioned at an average of 30% off the original list price. This is no surprise since there have been other developments that have offered similar discounts without having to compete in an auction environment. In other words, the downtown Austin condos that were bid upon today represent today’s market value of The Sabine on Fifth at an average $234/SF.

See attached Sabine on Fifth Auction Results matrix for detailed chart

The two-bedroom units turned out to be the best deals. The final bid price for Unit 605 represented the best deal in the entire auction in my opinion. The final bid price was $276,000*; however, once you account for the mandatory 4% buyer premium, the actual final bid price was $287,040* (or $196/SF)! That was approximately 34% off the previous list price for a large 2-bedroom with downtown Austin views. Pound-for-pound Unit 907 was the best price per SF at approximately $185 per SF (or a final bid price including the 4% premium of $263,120*)…39% off previous list price!

What can be concluded from this auction? Here are some initial thoughts: 1) The units were sold at fair prices; in other words, no steals or bad deals. 2) The downtown inventory is shrinking; in other words, similar deals are becoming more rare to find. 3) There is strong demand for living downtown in a building with limited amenities; in short, buyers want to be in downtown Austin whether it’s a block from Whole Foods, in the Entertainment District or on the lake.

*Please note: All bids were subject to final seller approval, so the final bid price does not necessarily reflect the final contract price agreed upon both parties.

Restaurant Tenants Announced for Newest Super Luxury Condo in Downtown Austin

Posted in Uncategorized by Bryan Cady on February 21, 2010

The Austonian, 1 of 3 super luxury condominiums in downtown Austin, will have two local restaurants run by Former Driskill Grill chef David Bull: 1) An upscale concept called “Congress” and 2) a casual concept called “Second at Congress”. In addition, a local yogurt shop called “BerryAustin” will open its second location on the ground level retail.

Source: Austin American Statesman

Foreclosures higher in car-dependent neighborhoods

Posted in Condos, Downtown Austin Condos by Bryan Cady on February 20, 2010

This article is centered on location relative to train stations; however, in my opinion it is not too far of a stretch to conclude that this is applicable to downtown Austin and its surrounding areas within the urban core.

“Can living near a train station save your house?

Researchers looked at mortgage defaults in three cities and found something curious — the chance of foreclosure is higher in neighborhoods more dependent on cars, according to a report by the Natural Resources Defense Council, which included data from Chicago’s Center for Neighborhood Technology. The report examined 40,000 mortgages in Chicago, Jacksonville and San Francisco.”

The link became more obvious in looking at foreclosures after July 2008, when gas spiked over $4 a gallon, said CNT President Scott Bernstein, who studied foreclosures in the Chicago area. Bernstein found that gas price spikes provide an “early warning” of a rise in foreclosures in car-dependent communities.

“Nobody should be surprised this is happening,” said Bernstein, noting that the cost of a gallon of gas doubled between 2000 and 2008. “In the suburbs, two or three cars and all that driving can cost more than the mortgage,” Bernstein said. “If gas prices go up, some percentage of people will find those pressures to be too much.

Source: http://www.suntimes.com/news/transportation/2048241,CST-NWS-ride15.article?utm_source=mortgagenewsclips+test+list&utm_campaign=0d45ce3b47-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email

Legacy on the Lake achieved LEED Certification

Posted in Uncategorized by Bryan Cady on January 20, 2010
Highrise Apartments in Downtown Austin, Texas

Highrise Apartments in Downtown Austin, Texas

Legacy on the Lake achieved LEED certification by 30% reduction of water use, 10% recycled material use, 43% of building materials sourced locally, 77% of construction waste recycled, use of low VOC interior finish materials, and 90% of interior spaces having access to daylight and views.

Other green design and construction features of Legacy on the Lake that contributed to its LEED Certification:

  • Reserved parking for hybrid/fuel efficient vehicles
  • Electric vehicle charging stations
  • Bicycle storage and changing rooms
  • Energy efficient building envelope
  • Water efficient landscaping
  • Treated storm water run-off
  • Commissioned mechanical systems
  • Construction Indoor Air Quality Management Plan during construction

Legacy on the Lake achieved LEED Certification despite having a tight construction budget. Total upcharge to achieve certification was about 1 percent of the total construction hard costs.

Source: EDI Architecture

Parking Surplus or Deficit in Downtown Austin?

Posted in City of Austin, Downtown Commission by Bryan Cady on December 13, 2009

Downtown Austin Available Public Parking

Chris Schorre of the City of Austin Downtown Commission has put together a map of public parking currently available in downtown Austin that may help answer this question (See Map).

The Overlooked Condos with a View – Resale Opportunities in Downtown Austin

Posted in Austin Steals and Deals, Condos, Downtown Austin Condos by Bryan Cady on December 12, 2009

View from Milago Condominiums of Downtown Austin Texas and Lady Bird Lake

Milago Condominiums – 54 Rainey St, Austin, Texas 78701

Most buyers new to the downtown Austin condo market focus on the super luxury condominiums currently under construction including W Hotel Residences, Four Seasons as well as the Austonian Condos; however, Milago Condominiums (completed in 2006 approximately)  is a often overlooked alternative to downtown Austin living. Milago offers many of the same amenities as these super luxury condos such as 24-7 concierge, exercise facility, club room, WiFi lounge and rooftop pool at a fraction of the cost. For example, you can buy a 2-bedroom, 2 bathroom condo with 1,164 SF (per tax record) for $300,000 to $500,000 depending on the views; there are also penthouse homes available below $1M! Not only are sales prices less; the respective HOA dues (Approxiamtely $0.315 per SF per month) and property taxes are proportionally lower. See themilago.com for an overview.

City of Austin Green Standards Could Change

Posted in City of Austin by Bryan Cady on November 18, 2009

In response to developers’, city officials’ and commission appointees’ concerns that the city’s energy standards are confusing and that they slow development, Austin Energy is proposing a standardized green building rating system across development types.

Currently, different rating systems apply to commercial, residential and multifamily projects. The proposed changes, which are planned to go before the city manager for approval early next year, would implement the same criteria across all sectors that the city council has already adopted for master-planned communities, or planned-unit developments.

Austin Energy is also proposing a required pre-approval for buildings outside of city planning and commissions, along with a signed waiver by developers acknowledging agreed-upon requirements and their responsibility to communicate these to their architects and builders.

Source: Austin Business Journal

Open Architecture East – Austin Architect Studio Tour

Posted in Architecture and Design by Bryan Cady on November 18, 2009

Architecture Studio Tours in East Austin

AIA Austin is hosting their first annual OPEN ARCHITECTURE event, an “open house” of Architects’ studios. Get a behind-the-scenes look at the architecture studios of East Austin, get a sneak peak into plans for future projects and developments direct from the Architects and experience the unique styles and personalities of each studio.

Self-guided Tour
Saturday, December 12, 2009
1-5 PM
$5 Wristband

All proceeds benefit UpLift Austin, offering an innovative environmental education program for at-risk youth.

Visit AIA Austin website for more information

Downtown Austin W Condos – Financing in Place

Posted in Condos, Downtown Austin Condos by Bryan Cady on November 6, 2009

W Hotel Residences and Condos - Downtown Austin

The Dallas office of Holliday Fenoglio Fowler LP (HFF) has arranged a $120 million recapitalization for the W Hotel & Residences, a mixed-use project under construction in downtown Austin’s 2nd Street District.

Working on behalf of Stratus Properties Inc. and the Canyon-Johnson Urban Fund, HFF placed a new five-year construction loan originated by CLG Hedge Fund LLC, a hedge fund affiliated with Beal Bank Nevada. This loan is replacing an original $165 million construction financing through Corus Bank that HFF secured on behalf of the borrowers in 2008.

As part of the recapitalization, Stratus and Canyon-Johnson are also contributing $45 million to the project.

Due for completion in December 2010, the W Hotel and Residences will have 252 guest rooms and suites, about 159 residential units and approximately 54,000 sf of retail and office space. There will also be an entertainment venue operated by Live Nation and a new studio for KLRU-TV’s Austin City Limits show.

Source: Holliday Fenoglio Fowler LP