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Photo courtesy of Unicus Developmenets

Development plans for a secluded, luxury residential community have been announced in Westlake Hills, one of Austin’s most expensive neighborhoods.

Spearheaded by design firm Unicus Developments, FIVE will consist of five contemporary luxury homes on 5.5 acres of land at 3605 Stoneridge Road. Prices for the homes begin at a jaw-dropping $12.48 million.

"The neighborhood where FIVE is located is a coveted opportunity in the highly sought-after Eanes district,” says Eric Moreland of EM group with Moreland Properties, the brokerage firm for the development. “Each FIVE home has a unique finish out and delivers the ultimate experience in refined living.”

Every home in the private, gated community will be painted in aesthetically pleasing earthy tones that blend well with the native landscaping. The residences will have either three- or four-car garages with EV charging stations, a space to wash your dog, spa-inspired bathrooms, a pool, and a private, fenced green space. If a homeowner has an art collection, they’ll be able to display it thanks to thoughtfully designed lighting placed in the homes.

In a press release, Unicus Developments founder and managing principal Francisco Uzcategui said the style and architecture of all FIVE homes was “carefully curated” by his team. All design elements were developed with the goal of creating “a community of understated elegance” in mind.

“We believe this will set an innovative example of how developments can complement a space and create a sense of serenity and appreciation for home design,” he said. “The idea of Unicus Developments was born from the experiences I shared with my wife, our passion for design and construction rooted in our lifelong appreciation for all visual arts across Latin America, Europe, and the U.S. We’ve carried those design pillars and inspiration throughout the design and build of FIVE.”

The first FIVE home spans 6,700 square feet and has already been sold, with construction to completed in May 2024. Features of the first property include five bedrooms and full bathrooms, one half bathroom, triangle arched windows, a spare room for an office or seating area, and a gym.

The second home is much larger than the first, at 8,420 square feet, and is set on a 1.1-acre lot. This home will also feature five bedrooms but has seven full bathrooms, and two powder rooms on the main floor. This home will have three areas dedicated to entertainment, as well as a gym or flex room. The defining feature of this house is its walkway, with a modern water feature that evokes a sense of serenity for both homeowners and guests.

The 8,225 square-foot, two-floor residence on the third property is set for completion by the end of December. The home will encapsulate a peaceful outdoorsy atmosphere with its 1,346 square-foot covered patio, a pool, cabana, outdoor kitchen, as well as a transplanted Heritage tree. Much like the first two homes, the third property will have five bedrooms, but boasts eight full bathrooms and two powder rooms. The first floor will host the kitchen, living room, dining room, master bedroom and laundry room, while the second floor will feature the gym, a second laundry room, and additional living areas.

The fourth property will be the first in the development to be completed in October. The solid brass front door leads to the rest of the 7,947 square-foot home, which features not one but two kitchens. The two-floor home will have five bedrooms, an office, an entertainment room, a second-floor family room, six full bathrooms, two powder rooms, a laundry room on each floor, and a gym area.

FIVE subdivision in Westlake Hills rendering

Photo courtesy of Unicus Developmenets

The subdivision will consist of five contemporary luxury homes on 5.5 acres of land at 3605 Stoneridge Road.

The fifth property is the largest home of the development, at 8,900 square feet. Though design details have not been revealed, a completion date has been set for the end of 2024.

More information about the FIVE development can be found on fiveaustin.com.

Photo courtesy of SmartAsset

Austin-Round Rock has the best housing market for growth and stability, new study says

HOUSING MARKET REPORT

Despite concerns about housing prices and availability in the state, a new study deemed six major Texas metropolitan areas some of the best housing markets in the nation for their growth and stability. And the Texas Capitol city took the No. 1 spot.

In SmartAsset’s report, Austin-Round Rock earned its best housing market title due to its eye-watering 354 percent home price increase since 1998, which is vastly greater than any other area in the country.

Considering Austin’s population has just about doubled in the last two decades, the housing market’s skyrocketing growth was inevitable. The relocation of several tech companies to the city surely didn't hurt. Even Austin’s apartment construction has the highest growth rate in the nation.

Five other Texas metro areas also earned spots in the top 10 best housing markets, making it pretty clear why the Lone Star State has the sixth highest property tax rate in the U.S. Two west Texas markets, Midland and Odessa, ranked No. 2 and No. 7, respectively, with similar growth rates of 256 percent and 226 percent.

Dallas-Plano-Irving ranked just behind Odessa at No. 8 with a 213 percent growth rate. Home prices in Austin’s Hill Country neighbors San Antonio-New Braunfels have tripled since 1998, a 204 percent increase, earning them the No. 9 spot. Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land rounded out the top 10 with a 203.90 percent growth rate.

The top 10 best housing markets for growth and stability are:

  • No. 1 – Austin-Round Rock
  • No. 2 – Midland, Texas
  • No. 3 – Boulder, Colorado
  • No. 4 – Fort Collins, Colorado
  • No. 5 – Kennewick-Richland, Washington
  • No. 6 – Rapid City, South Dakota
  • No. 7 – Odessa, Texas
  • No. 8 – Dallas-Plano-Irving
  • No. 9 – San Antonio-New Braunfels
  • No. 10 – Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land

The report looked at home value data from 400 nationwide metro areas between 1998 and 2022. Overall, home prices have grown an average of 154 percent since 1998.

Other Texas housing markets that earned spots in the report include Waco (No. 13), Fort Worth-Arlington-Grapevine (No. 14), San Angelo (No. 15), College Station-Bryan (No. 18), Sherman-Denison (No. 19), and Abilene (No. 20).

In a similar analysis of the worst housing markets for growth and stability, 13 out of 20 on the list are located in Michigan and Ohio. No Texas cities appear on the list.

The full report can be found on smartasset.com.

Photo courtesy of Realty Austin

Austin home buyers have more power when it comes to inventory, report says

REAL ESTATE REPORT

Confidence in the real estate market has grown since February, with buyers gaining more leverage through inventory increases across the Austin-Round Rock metro area, according to the latest monthly report from the Austin Board of Realtors (ABoR).

The report shows that housing inventory in February spent an average of 84 days on the market, a massive 55-day jump from February of 2022. The current median home price for the metro area is $436,419, a 12 percent drop from the previous year.

“Austin’s housing market is trending in the right direction. Buyers have more options and negotiating power with each passing month, and sellers have more time to make their next move,” said 2023 ABoR president Ashley Jackson in a press release. “Remember, a healthy housing market isn’t defined by breaking records every month, but by market activity that’s steady-paced and sustainable.”

Though Austin and Travis County's completed home sales decreased by less than 30 percent during February, active home listings skyrocketed in both areas. New home listings in Austin decreased less than one percent, while pending sales declined nearly 20 percent. Travis County's pending sales also saw a 16 percent decrease, while new home listings increased 5.7 percent.

Outside Austin, median prices continued to fall in Williamson, Hays, Bastrop, and Caldwell counties. The price decreases led to more completed home sales in Bastrop and Hays, while Caldwell's home sales stayed flat, and Williamson County's home sales decreased.

“Looking at the month-to-month data, we see that pending sales are consistent or rising in neighborhoods that are typically more affordable in areas outside Austin city limits," said Ashley Jackson. "Along with rising inventory, that’s a good sign for housing market activity this spring.”

Taylor Jackson, CEO of the Home Builders Association of Greater Austin, encourages home buyers and sellers to have a wider outlook when trying to understand the housing market. She says homebuilders are “gaining more confidence” in the market’s stability every month.

“This is evidenced by fewer cancellations and minimized supply shortages,” she said in the release. “Additionally, first quarter sales incentives have remained strong and for the first time in a long time, builders have a renewed sense of optimism in the direction the market is heading.”

Jackson also stressed the importance of any incentive that increases housing accessibility for buyers, since many still struggle to afford living in Austin proper.

“There is still plenty of work to do to address systemic issues in affordability, accessibility, and missing middle construction, and those should remain our community’s number one concern,” she explained.

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CultureMap Emails are Awesome

Dip your toes into these 7 Austin pools with passes, snacks, and summer events; plus more top stories

hot headlines

Editor’s note: It’s that time again — time to check in with our top stories. From hotel pools, to museums, to a show-stopping Hill Country rental, here are five articles that captured our collective attention over the past seven days.

1. Dip your toes into these 7 Austin pools with passes, snacks, and summer events. The city is getting unreasonably hot again; It's time to start planning poolside hangs, which are even better with a cocktail.

2. Breathtaking Hill Country hideaway is one of Vrbo's top 10 vacation homes in the country. The retractable floor-to-ceiling glass windows are a nice touch in this $400-a-night house.

3. 6 Austin museums are offering free admission for military families all summer long. These organizations want to help military families spend more time together without breaking the bank.

4. Space-inspired screenings invade Austin Film Society ahead of Wes Anderson's upcoming release. Austinites looking forward to the June 16 release of Asteroid City can soak up the inspirations and watch a sneak peek screening.

5. Texas ranks No. 2 best state to start a small business in new report. The state's tax framework makes the finance side of running a business relatively easy.

4 Austin-inspired cocktail recipes to whisk you away from the Texas heat this summer

SIP SIP

Now that summer weather has arrived in Austin, we can tell you’re thirsting for some new drinks to try. And with World Gin Day coming up on June 10, we’re sharing a few recipes from local Austin restaurants (and Austin’s favorite Topo Chico!) we hope you’ll enjoy.

The following recipes feature some of our favorite ingredients or mixers we’re loving at the moment. Whether your drink of choice is a cocktail or mocktail, we’ve gathered four bright and bubbly beverages to help whisk you away from the Texas heat. And if you prefer to drink them rather than make them, three of these lovely libations can be found on the seasonal summer menus at their respective restaurant.

Aba’s Rhubarb Rose Gin and Tonic
This cocktail was created by Senior Beverage Manager Thomas Mizuno-Moore.

Ingredients:
½ oz lime juice
¼ oz honey syrup
½ oz Fruitful Mixology rhubarb liqueur
¾ oz Brockmans Gin
¾ oz Hendrick’s Flora Adora
2 oz tonic water
Rosebud tea, for garnish

Directions:

  • Combine lime juice, honey syrup, Fruitful Mixology rhubarb liqueur, Brockmans Gin and Hendrick’s Flora Adora in a cocktail shaker. Add ice, shake until cold.
  • Add tonic water to the shaker, then strain over fresh ice in a double old fashioned glass.
  • Garnish with rosebud tea and enjoy!

Blueberry Sparkler Mocktail by Topo ChicoBecause everyone needs a good go-to mocktail recipe in their life.Photo courtesy of Topo Chico

Blueberry Sparkler Mocktail by Topo Chico
This beverage might not be gin-themed, but it does make a great refreshing mocktail. If you don’t have Topo Chico Sabores on hand, you can substitute it with sparkling water.

Ingredients:
1 Blueberry Topo Chico Sabores
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
½ cup water
½ oz freshly squeezed lemon juice
Lemon slices and additional blueberries, for garnish

Blueberry Syrup Directions:

  • In a small saucepan, combine the blueberries, sugar, and water. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the blueberries are soft and the sugar has dissolved, about 5 minutes.
  • Remove the saucepan from the heat and allow the blueberry mixture to cool for about 10 minutes.
  • Once cooled, use a fine-mesh strainer to strain the blueberry mixture into a bowl, pressing on the solids to extract as much juice as possible. Discard the solids and set the blueberry syrup aside.

Mocktail Directions:

  • In a cocktail shaker, combine 1 ounce of the blueberry syrup, and lemon juice. Fill the shaker with ice and shake well until chilled, about 15-20 seconds.
  • Fill a glass with ice and strain the mixture into the glass. Top off the glass with Blueberry Topo Chico Sabores (or sparkling water) and give it a gentle stir to mix.
  • Garnish with lemon slices and additional blueberries, if desired. Enjoy your refreshing Blueberry Sparkler!

Tillie's seasonal summer cocktailThis colorful cocktail is a lively take on a gin martini.Photo courtesy of Tillie's at Camp Lucy

Empress Gin Martini by Tillie’s at Camp Lucy
This martini recipe was developed by Paolo Lazarich, the mixologist for Abbey Row Restaurant at The Old Bell Hotel in the United Kingdom. Fun fact: Camp Lucy owners Kim and White Hanks also own The Old Bell Hotel, which is rumored to be England’s oldest hotel.

Ingredients:
3 oz Empress 1908 Gin
1 oz dry vermouth
Splash of lemon juice
Lemon and rosemary for garnish

Directions:

  • Add the Empress 1908 Gin, dry vermouth, and lemon juice to a glass and stir gently.
  • Garnish with a lemon wedge and a sprig of rosemary. Enjoy.

\u200bSummertime Spritz by Dean's Italian Steakhouse There's nothing like a summer spritz.Photo courtesy of Dean's Italian Steakhouse

Summertime Spritz by Dean's Italian Steakhouse
This recipe is geared toward a mixologist who enjoys the little details that make a cocktail so unique, such as making their own oleo saccharum or curating the perfect flower as a garnish.

Ingredients:
½ oz lemon juice
½ oz strawberry oleo saccharum
¼ oz Aperol
¼ oz Giffard Abricot
1.5 oz Zephyr Gin
2 oz Brut champagne
1 each cocktail flower

Directions:

  • Combine all ingredients except Brut champagne into a cocktail shaker. Fill the shaker with ice and shake vigorously, about 15-20 seconds.
  • Fill a wine glass with ice and add the Brut. Fine strain the cocktail into the glass.
  • Garnish with the cocktail flower

Extravagant estate in West Austin hits the market for $4.25 million

ON THE MARKET

An imperial estate in the Lost Creek neighborhood of West Austin has become the latest addition to the city's stabilizing real estate market. The property was listed at $4.25 million.

The magnificent three-story home was originally built in 2009, making great use of Austin's Hill Country views that can be seen from every single room. The home spans 8,215 square feet on just over two acres of land, surrounded by lush trees and enclosed with a private gated entrance.

Natural light floods the inside of the home, highlighting intricate details and complimenting the high ceilings. The home boasts five bedrooms, four bathrooms, and three half-baths. The primary suite is reminiscent of an upscale resort, containing its own spa-like bathroom, walk-in closets, and access to a private balcony.

In the kitchen, the 60-inch wolf range is an aspiring chef's dream. The area has plenty of space and storage with its rich brown cabinets, a sub-zero refrigerator, a cabinet-mounted wine rack, two sinks, and more.

8105 Talbot Lane in AustinThe 60-inch wolf range is an aspiring chef's dream.Photo courtesy of JPM Real Estate Photography

A few other highlights of the home include a game room, media room, terraces, and a resort-style pool deck with an accompanying hot tub, kitchen, and fire pit. The two-car garage also includes a guest suite above it, with a single bedroom, kitchenette, and half bath.

Looking into the property's history, it was listed in June 2022 for $4.9 million, which was reduced to $3.9 million by September. The home was reported as sold in October of that year before being re-listed for its current $4.25 million price in 2023.

8105 Talbot Lane in Austin

Photo courtesy of JPM Real Estate Photography

The estate is located at 8105 Talbot Lane in West Austin.

The estate is located at 8105 Talbot Lane, which is a brief 10 minutes from downtown Austin, and is zoned for the highly-esteemed Eanes Independent School District. The listing is held by agent Wade Giles of Douglas Elliman.