Austin, Real Estate, Real Estate Stories

Beth Wolff Realtors Expands to Austin

Beth Wolff Realtors was founded in 1978 by native Houstonian, Beth Wolff, to serve Houston with expertise and exceptional service in the residential real estate marketplace. Under Beth’s guidance and vision, the company has expanded with the city to include investment analysis, relocation consulting, commercial transactions, development planning, and new construction partnerships. As Houston and Texas have grown, the company network has expanded exponentially.

Beth Wolff Realtors has decided to expand to Austin to continue building upon these relationships.

Spearheaded by long-time Austin resident Lawrence Jay Sternberg, the newest location marks a commitment to superior customer service in a “new” market for the company. Beth Wolff, Founder and Chairman, has many ties in the Austin area through her alma mater, The University of Texas, her association with local charitable organizations, and extended family living in the city for decades. As Texas continues to thrive, the management of Beth Wolff Realtors recognized an opportunity to assist more clients by having a dedicated team to support Austin.

We are excited to introduce you to Lawrence “LJ” Sternberg.

A native Texan and UT Business graduate, Lawrence “LJ” Sternberg has lived in Austin for over twenty years and has been investing in local real estate since.

After a career in technology, Lawrence decided to pursue his life’s passion full-time in real estate. Bringing his extensive experience in Sales & Business Development, Proposal Authoring, Negotiation, and Technical Project Management to his clients’ transactions provide a professional approach that delivers results.

About Lawrence:

  • 20+ Years of Experience in Real Estate Investments in Austin
  • Resident of Westover Hills for 15 of the past 20 years
  • Extensive Experience/Contacts include:  Investments, Property Management, Property Tax, and Permits
  • Consulting background perfect for a broad spectrum of clients in unique situations
  • Highly approachable and ready to help

Beth Wolff Realtors’ commitment to our clients remains the unwavering foundation of our organization. We are excited for the opportunity to grow in our scope of support of our Houston clientele with interests in Austin, as well as all of the current and newfound relationships in this vibrant location.

Real Estate, Real Estate Market Data

Houston Market Update

The first “slowdown” Houston has seen in recent years has come at a time with diminished inventory, record-high prices, increased interest rates, and rising inflation. These trends helped Houston increase its supply of new listings, which boosted the inventory to two months – the most plentiful supply of homes since November 2020. Note, however, that this is still incredibly low inventory!

Unprecedented price increases and multiple offers may not be the current market in all areas of town; however, it still remains a positive time to sell.

According to the Houston Association of Realtors, “Once again, the $500,000 to $1 million housing segment drew the highest sales volume of the month, registering a 22.0 percent year-over-year sales volume gain. That was followed by homes priced from $250,000 to $500,000, which rose 2.4 percent. The luxury segment – consisting of homes priced at $1 million and above – saw its first decline in two years, slipping 2.3 percent in the number of sales throughout the month.”

The $250,000 and below market is still struggling to renew its inventory, causing those looking in this price range to consider more expensive properties, rent, or look for alternative financing methods that provide the ability to compete with investors.

Overall Housing Performance

The number of sales monthly has declined, however, this is likely to be a result of low inventory, price increases, and fluctuations in mortgage rates.

There are still many positives in the market!

Some areas are seeing a continuation of the past two years with quick sales, multiple offers, and escalating prices. According to the Houston Association of Realtors, “The average price of a single-family home rose 11.0 percent in June to $436,425 – slightly below the previous month’s record high – while the median price jumped 13.2 percent to $355,000, which is the highest median of all time.”

In the Townhouse/Condominium sphere, we have seen the first decline in sales in almost two years, dropping over 15% year over year. At the same time, the inventory fell from a 2.4-month supply to a 1.7-month supply, the average price increased 4.7 percent to $259,557, and the median price rose 2.7 percent to $220,000.

 

What is Going on with Mortgages?

The Federal Reserve recently met and just announced a 75 basis point (bps) increase to the Fed Fund Rate.

What impact is this going to have?

First, the Fed Fund Rate is not directly tied to mortgage rates therefore, an increase of 75 bps doesn’t mean mortgage rates go up by 75 bps. Mortgage rates follow the bond market and are only indirectly impacted by the Fed Fund Rate. Second, the entire market expected the Fed Fund Rate increase based on previous comments by the Fed therefore, the 75 bps increase has been baked into the market for a while now. 

When the Consumer Price Index (CPI), a report which measures inflation, came out last month and measured inflation at 9.1% instead of its estimated 8.8%.   Numerous experts expected that the Fed Fund Rate increase could be 100 bps instead of the 75 bps we actually saw. Furthermore, despite the increase, the comments from Jerome Powell (Chairman of the Federal Reserve)  were overall positive. 

Within the lending environment, we have seen rates come down into the mid 5’s. “On a positive note, I believe rates will level out in the low 4’s in the near future,” says Josh Anderson.

Labor Shifts & Mortgage Lending

According to the National Real Estate Post (NREP) and the Department of Labor, the size of the independent contractor workforce is on the rise. The NREP went on to say that in 2016 there were 9.6 million self-employed people in the US, and in 2020 that number had grown to 15.8 million. They are estimating that between self-employed (business owners), independent contractors, free-lance, etc. that 50% of the population could be employed through non-traditional methods. This is extremely important to know because these employees typically need non-traditional loan programs. A mortgage professional who is flexible/knowledgeable in a multitude of lending products and employment scenarios is now a MUST-have!

Houston Lifestyle, Houston Neighborhoods

Land Bridge and Prairie Project for Memorial Park

Memorial Park’s Land Bridge and Prairie project will open this December. The traffic tunnels under the land bridge opened this spring.

Once complete, the project will create a dynamic new community space with enhanced active and passive recreation opportunities for Park users with unmatched vantage points of urban skyline views. The Prairie, which adjoins the Land Bridge to the north and the south, reestablishes endangered native Gulf Coast prairie, savanna, and additional wetlands to promote regional biodiversity and strengthen surrounding ecologies.

Highlights and benefits of the Land Bridge and Prairie project include:

  • Providing greater safety and connectivity for both humans and animals crossing Memorial Drive. The Land Bridge will establish two dynamic greenspace connections over Memorial Drive that reunite the north and south sides of the Park while expanding the existing trail network and providing increased connectivity within the Park. While the Land Bridge will provide connectivity for Park visitors and wildlife over Memorial Drive, a stream corridor constructed through the Prairie and a culvert will provide connectivity under Memorial Drive. Together these elements will provide much-needed wildlife connectivity within Houston’s largest urban wilderness park and to the natural Buffalo Bayou corridor.
  • Restoring nearly 45 acres of native coastal prairie to establish a more resilient ecology during natural disruptions and improve animal habitats. Native coastal prairie is one of the most endangered ecosystems in North America, with less than 1% of its historic range remaining today. These forthcoming ecosystems will be home to numerous species of flora and fauna.

  • Creating a new iconic destination for visitors that will offer varied and enjoyable experiences, both enhancing the urban wilderness character of the Park and providing opportunities for nature education, leisure walking, interval running and cycling, stargazing, relaxing, and more.
  • Improving stormwater management by detaining stormwater that flows through Memorial Park to Buffalo Bayou during heavy rain events, lessening the impact of peak storms. A stream channel constructed through the site, along with the network of native prairie and savanna, will support greater regional biodiversity and act as a green sponge, helping to absorb and clean stormwater. Similarly, constructed wetlands will help to purify water and reduce roadway pollutants that would otherwise be released into the watershed.

Still Curious… Want to Learn More?

For more information about the Memorial Park Master Plan and updates on the Land Bridge and Prairie Project, visit Memorial Park Master Plan.  To get involved or support the Memorial Park Conservancy, you can learn more here.

Houston Lifestyle, Uncategorized

New Season for The Arts

As the Fall approaches, the new seasons for Houston’s world-class performing arts bring new expressions and classic favorites.  We have included an overview of some of our favorites below:

Houston Symphony:

Performance When 
Juraj Valcuha Inaugural Weekend:Verdi Requiem September 16-18 2022
Joshua Bell and Shostakovich 5 September 23-25, 2022
Gershwin Conerto in F September 30 & October 1-2, 2022
Itzhak Perlman Plays Beethoven October 20,22 and 23, 2022
All Mozart October 28-30, 2022
Holst’s The Planets November 11-13, 2022
Brahms 3 November 18-20, 2022

To purchase tickets or one of the numerous packages offered to enjoy these amazing upcoming concerts, visit the Houston Symphony’s Online Ticket Office.

Houston Ballet:  

Who When
Peter Pan September 9-18, 2022
Good Vibrations September 22 – October 2, 2022
Season Add on’s
The Nutcracker November 25 – December 24, 2022
Margaret Alkek Williams Jubilee of Dance December 2, 2022

Visit the Houston Ballet Ticket Office to purchase individual performance tickets, mini packages or a season pass for all the upcoming programs.

Houston Grand Opera:  

Performance When
La Traviata Oct 21 – November 6,2022
The Wreckers Oct 28 – November 11, 2022
El Milagro Del Recuerdo December 8 – December 18, 2022

Enjoy all the Houston Grand Opera has to offer with one, or all, of these phenomenal performances by purchasing tickets at their Online Ticket Office.

A packed crowd enjoying a performance at the Alley Theatre.
Photo by John Everett

Alley Theatre:

Performance When
Clue July 22 – August 28,2022
Ken Ludwig’s Lend me a soprano September 16 – October 9, 2022
Edward Albee’s Seascape October 14 – November 13, 2022
A Christmas Carol November 18 – December 30, 2022
What-A-Christmas December 2 – 24, 2023

Enjoy these upcoming theatrics by purchasing tickets at the Alley Theater Website for both season and flex pass offers.

Houston Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Houston Texans

Things to Keep An Eye On This Season

General Manager, Nick Caserio, and newly promoted head coach, Lovie Smith, will be working with the young talent on the roster to catapult the team forward. Top pick cornerback, Derek Stingley Jr., will work to strengthen the defensive secondary. Rookie Kenyon Green is tasked with solidifying the interior offensive line to pave wider lanes for free agent acquisition Marlon Mack to improve the Texans’ run game.  Go Texans!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To purchase both season and individual tickets, visit https://www.houstontexans.com/tickets/

 

 

Houston Lifestyle

Botanic Garden

Houston Botanic Garden is a spectacular daytrip for Houstonians and visitors alike. The 132-acre Garden’s Global Collection Garden offers the Tropical at Heart with exotic tropical plants and forests; the Subtropical with temperate plants and forests from around the globe’s temperate – and incredibly fertile – regions; and the Arid with desert grasses and succulents. There is also a Culinary Garden with Mediterranean and Americas plants as well as an Apothecary Corner with herbal and medicinal species. Additional attractions include the Woodland Glade, a popular wedding venue; Stormwater Wetlands; Coastal Prairie; the Susan Garver Discovery Garden; and the neighborhood’s Community Garden. Houston Botanic Garden is located at One Botanic Lane, Houston, TX, 77017, along meandering Sims Bayou just south of downtown Houston and east of Interstate 45. Visit hbg.org

Houston Lifestyle

What’s Happening in Memorial Park

And speaking of Memorial Park, two projects associated with the Park’s Master Plan reboot, the Land Bridge and Prairie, are nearing completion this year. The Land Bridge will unite the north and south sides of the Park through a wooded hill (land bridge) built over Memorial Drive whose double roadway will be rerouted through a pair of breathtaking tunnels underneath. The Prairie adjoins the Land Bridge on both sides and will re-introduce native Gulf Coast prairie and wetlands severely damaged by Hurricane Ike and the 2011 drought. Even unfinished, both projects are visually stunning and, more importantly, serve the habitat and stormwater management functions of the Park’s Master Plan. Memorial Park is located at 6501 Memorial Drive, Houston, TX 77007. For more information visit memorialparkconservancy.org.

Houston Lifestyle

And if You’re Hungry…

Kiran’s

Chef Kiran Verma serves world-class Indian cuisine at her eponymous restaurant in Upper Kirby. Chef Kiran is a self-taught chef who has been guided by her Indian upbringing and a love of fine food. She defines her cuisine as a combination of cultures, philosophies and cooking techniques. The restaurant is known for serving up Indian hospitality with French sophistication and American informality. Kiran’s award-winning wine list of over 300 labels, along with monthly wine dinners, complements the delicate flavors of her food. Chef Kiran also has her own chai blend, available every Saturday at afternoon tea. Visit kiranshouston.com for information and reservations.

Amalfi

If you are longing for the Amalfi Coast, Chef Giancarlo Ferrara shares his native Campania’s exquisite cuisine every day in his restaurant, Amalfi. Ferrara’s inspired menu emphasizes fresh seafood, vivid citrus, and regional olive oil in addition to fresh pastas, meats, family-made cheeses, crafted cocktails, and an extensive, intelligently assembled wine list. Located at 6100 Westheimer in the Galleria area, Amalfi presents a sophisticated dining experience. Visit amalfihouston.com for information and reservations.

Costa Brava

“Con pan y vino, se anda el camino” (With bread and wine, you will journey well). Angeles Dueñas, owner and general manager of Costa Brava, founded her restaurant on this simple principle. Dueñas and co-owner and executive chef, Kitty Baily, combine more than 60 years of top-end culinary expertise to offer Houstonians authentic Spanish and French cuisine. “La vie est trop courte pour boire du mauvais vin” (Life is too short to drink bad wine). Costa Brava is located in Bellaire at 5107 Bellaire Blvd. @ S. Rice, Suite 100, 77401. Visit costabravabistro.com for information and reservations.

Étoile Cuisine et Bar

One can pretty much assume from the name, Étoile Cuisine et Bar, that something very French happens inside this Uptown Park bistro. What one might not know is that a legion of Houstonian Francophiles dines here on a regular basis, drawn by owner and Master Chef of France Philippe Verpiand’s amazingly accessible, modern, and unassuming rendition of classic, seasonal, French cuisine. Gifted with a carefully crafted wine list and innovative cocktail bar, and housed within a farmhouse-inspired space, Étoile Cuisine et Bar is, as one review described it, “a fresh, pretty island of calm.”  Étoile Cuisine et Bar is located at 1101-11 Uptown Park Blvd, Houston, TX 77056. Visit etoilecuisine.com for information and reservations.

Ragin’ Cajun

Longtime Houstonians will remember “Ray Hay’s Cajun Po-Boys” as the premier purveyor of authentic Louisiana bayou cuisine in Houston. From its humble beginnings as a beer and po-boy joint to its present, more upscale but still “down home” restaurant, the Ragin’ Cajun, named for the University of Lafayette’s “Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns,” is a Houston institution. Like Ninfa’s, there’s more than one Ragin’ Cajun now, but the location at 4302 Richmond, owned by Luke Mandola, Sr., and son Dominic Mandola, is the original and still pulls in the old regulars for the best fried oyster po-boys and spicy crawfish in town. Visit ragin-cajun.com for information and to order online.

Houston Lifestyle

Houston Arboretum & Nature Center

Nature thrumming with wildlife beckons from the Houston Arboretum & Nature Center. Entered near the western edge of dynamic Memorial Park, the 155-acre Center was founded in 1967 as the first nature education facility in Texas. Today it continues to offer stellar educational programs for school children and adults as well as spring-break and summer camps, field trips, and special events. Just want a day outdoors with nothing planned? The Arboretum offers miles of woodland trails to stroll at your own pace. Houston Arboretum & Nature Center is located at 4501 Woodway Drive, Houston, TX 77024. Visit houstonarboretum.org

Real Estate, Real Estate Market Data

2021-2022 Home Sales Market Snapshot

The Houston real estate market started the new year on a positive note with a strong emphasis on sales at the higher end of the current housing market with a 52.2 percent year-over-year gain. This is a continuation of the progress made at the end of last year. This progress is also continued throughout the $500,000 to $1 million dollar range with an increase of 47.1 percent and the $250,000 to $500,000 range experiencing an increase of 36.1 percent.

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