Editor's note: Our top 10 real estate stories of 2015 represent the best and worst of the Austin market. From the Smart Home in Zilker to reports of high taxes and overvalued homes, here are the biggest real estate stories of the year.
1. Sneak peek at the HGTV Smart Home in Zilker Park. Each year, HGTV builds and furnishes a Smart Home to be given away to a lucky sweepstakes winner. Last year, HGTV gave away a charming, high-tech home in Nashville. This year, it was a 2,300-square-foot house in the Zilker neighborhood.
2. Austin declared the best housing market to invest in 2015. Forbes declared five of its 20 “best buy cities,” i.e., where to invest in housing in 2015, are in Texas, including Austin at No. 1. In fact, all five Lone Star locales were in the top 10.
3. The nine hottest neighborhoods to buy in Austin. We got the inside scoop from local real estate experts on where to buy in Austin.
4. HGTV Smart Home in Zilker Park neighborhood will soon be for sale. In July, HGTV announced the winner of its Smart Home sweepstakes, which included the fully furnished home, $100,000, and a 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class. Isabel Villarreal of Harlingen, Texas was the lucky winner, but she decided to sell the impeccable Austin home.
5. Surprising Central Texas town has the hottest real estate market in U.S. for 2015. In the spring, experts said Waco was slated to have the hottest market in the country, followed by Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington.
6. Austin declared the most overvalued housing market in America, but is it a bubble? According to Forbes, Austin had the most overvalued housing market in the U.S. this year. The five most overvalued markets were determined by Fitch, who weighed home price trends against economic fundamentals of each market.
7. Developers reveal plan for Austin's new and massive public market space. South Austin is getting its own Pike Place come 2018. Saint Elmo Public Market is a mixed-use development that centers around a massive indoor-outdoor marketplace.
8. See how dramatically Austin's skyline has changed since 2007. To help visualize Austin's massive real estate boom, the folks at RentCafé created nifty time-lapse sliders from Google Images to compare the vertical growth in Austin from 2007 to 2014.
9. Property taxes in Texas are higher than almost anywhere in the U.S. While every homeowner across the country is subject to real estate taxes, Texans owe a lot more than most Americans, according to a study from WalletHub.
10. Why Austin is one of the worst places in America to own a home. It's one of the best real estate markets for investors, but a fall 2015 report boldly stated that Austin is one of the worst places to own a home.