Photo courtesy of Gottesman Real Estate

Is the Austin market cooling down? A new report from Trulia ranks the Capital City among 10 U.S. markets where list prices have stalled — or even fallen — over the past year.

The real estate site used information from "Trulia Data Central" to identify "cool markets and give some context around the sluggish price performance," according to a release. In total, four Texas metros appear on the list: two with price decreases — San Antonio and Austin — and two with prices that stalled — Houston and Dallas.

The Austin-Round Rock metro area ranks second on the list, with a median home price decrease of 3.4 percent over the past year. Currently, says Trulia, the median listing price is $336,995, down from $348,990 in March 2017.

But, before we dare call it a cold market, Trulia's managing editor David Weidner offers a little insight into the stalled pricing and reminds that home values are still on the rise.

"First, Texas home values continue to rise. That means if you have a home in Texas, its value is appreciating," he tells CultureMap. "Second, Texas metros are building at some of the fastest rates in the country. The new housing is priced roughly at levels of a year ago, suggesting that new supply is keeping up with demand."

According to Trulia, the median home value in the Austin metro area right now is $293,945, up 5.21 percent over March 2017. Weidner adds, "In Austin, there may be a surge in smaller homes. And that seems to be the case, the price-per-square-foot has increased 1.4 percent from a year ago, to $154 from $151.89."

There's a similar scenario in San Antonio, which takes the No. 1 spot on the list. The current median listing price of $269,499 is down more than 5 percent year-over-year, but metro-area home values are up almost 7 percent year-over-year.

Houston (No. 7) and Dallas (No. 8) appear farther down the list, with relatively flat home prices but increasing home values.

In the Houston metro area, the median listing price of $299,520 has increased only $1,216, but home values are up 5.42 percent to $196,155. The median listing price in Dallas is now $356,999, up $1,671 from last year. Home values there are appreciating like crazy, up 15.14 percent to $247,130.

Photo courtesy of Redfin

Texans love this architectural style for homes the most

Home on the Ranch

In Texas, which boasts the most ranches of any state in the country, it’s fitting that ranch-style homes are the most popular architectural style for residences.

A survey by Trulia, an online marketplace for residential real estate, found that ranch-style homes push aside other types of homes — including Colonial, Cape Cod, Victorian, midcentury modern, Tudor, and Georgian — for likability among Texas adults.

As a refresher, ranch-style homes are single-story structures with features like a low roofline; open floor plan; rectangular or L-shape; and a stucco, brick, or wood exterior.

In Texas, you can find the most ranch-style homes on the market in the Fort Worth-Arlington area, Trulia reports, with Austin down the list at No. 5. Here are the top areas in the state for ranch-style homes listed on Trulia, ranked from the highest percentage to the lowest:

  1. Fort Worth-Arlington
  2. San Antonio
  3. El Paso
  4. Dallas-Plano-Irving
  5. Austin
  6. Houston

Overall, the Trulia survey shows Americans favor craftsman-style homes (43 percent), followed by ranch (41 percent) and Colonial (36 percent). However, most U.S. adults 55 and over (52 percent) vote for ranch-style homes.

“Each architectural style across the country adds character and charm to a neighborhood, making each one unique,” Lynnette Bruno, Trulia’s vice president of communications and research, says in a release.

Photo courtesy of Gottesman Real Estate

3 popular Austin neighborhoods that still boast a good bang for your buck

Welcome Home

Austin’s popularity as a hip place to live is growing every day, making the competitive Austin real estate market tough to navigate. Most Austinites (new and experienced alike) know areas like Clarksville and downtown are some of the city’s most exclusive, sought-after neighborhoods. But Clarksville and other areas in the hot 78703 ZIP code have an average listing price that's out of reach for many buyers.

Instead of limiting your search to these pricey areas, why not check out some of Austin’s most popular, up-and-coming neighborhoods? These areas have seen a large amount of growth over the last few years, making a real estate investment a wise decision, but they aren’t quite as expensive as the aforementioned hot spots, giving you greater bang for your buck.

A home for sale in this southwestern Austin neighborhood will cost you around $461,670 (the current average listing price, according to Trulia). Westgate is located near some of South Austin’s most popular neighborhoods, Barton Hills and Barton Creek, and due to its proximity and comparatively low prices, the neighborhood is almost guaranteed to continue to rise in popularity over the next few years, making this is a good time to invest.

For example, check out the listing at 7233 Manchaca Rd. #12. This home, currently listed at $334,900, features freshly installed solar panels, three bedrooms and two-and-a-half bathrooms.

In the heart of North Central Austin is the charming neighborhood of Crestview, with a current average listing price of $523,842. Crestview is in a great location for families and individuals that want to be close to downtown, but it's far enough away for a little peace and quiet and Old Austin charm.

There are many beautiful homes for sale in Crestview, but one of our favorites is the property at 1902 Brentwood St. Listed at $599,990, this darling, three-bedroom, two-bathroom home is newly renovated with updated hardwood floors and granite countertops. It's also walking distance to nearby Brentwood Park, making it an ideal location for families.

Windsor Park
Windsor Park is definitely up-and-coming, with an average listing price of $349,081 — relatively affordable for its location. Located a little farther east of downtown, the neighborhood is home to larger lots of land, with a good mix of pricier and cheaper homes. For that reason, Windsor Park has some of the best deals on this list, with homes in a wide variety of price ranges and sizes.

One such listing is 5209 Robinsdale Ln., a three-bedroom, two-bathroom bungalow listed at $424,500. This property features a beautiful, wide-open floor plan, with a fantastic kitchen featuring granite counters, wood cabinets, and a breakfast bar. It is currently under contract.

Courtesy photo

Looking for love? Then you should move to Austin, says new study.

Love Talk

Forget Paris, there is a new city of love and lucky for you, it’s right here. That’s right, Austin may be known for Longhorn fans, barbecue, and Sixth Street shenanigans, but studies show that it may also be the place to find your perfect man.

Trulia conducted a study displaying the top cities to find love and revealed that Austin is the fourth best place to find marriage-material men. Various factors went into determining which cities have your dream man, such as the single male-to-female ratio and cities with most singles broken down by age and work-life balance.

It’s safe to say that you will have better luck finding a man in a city filled with them, and cities with more single men to single women tend to be on the West Coast rather than the East Coast. The national average of single men to women equates to .850 with Bakersfield, California, being the city with highest single male-to-female ratio of 1.021. Austin came in 10th overall, with a ratio of single men to single women .932.

While many like to think age is just a number, a man’s age may have a lot to do with his feelings towards marriage. For this reason, single men were divided by age range — those in their 20s, 30s, and 40s. The city with the highest percentage of single adults in their twenties is Madison, Wisconsin, at 40.7 percent. Austin is the top city for both single adults in the 30s, at 20.3 percent, as well as their 40s, at 19 percent.

What does this all mean? New marriage trends show men waiting longer to get married, proving that those in their 30s are at an optimal age for marriage — making Austin ideal.

Finally, a work-life balance is important when trying to sustain a healthy relationship and marriage, therefore percentages of people who work more than 40 hours per week were calculated. According to Trulia, 59.3 percent of single adult males work over 40 hours each week in Austin, indicating that the men are hardworking, goal driven, and determined. However, men in Austin aren’t solely obsessed with their work and have an even balance with their social life.

Using these metrics, Austin ranked fourth with most marriage material cities, but we all know there are other factors that make Austin the perfect city to find love. The science behind this study is justifiable, but Austin has so many other factors that beat out San Francisco, San Jose, and Seattle. What makes living in Austin stand out among the top listed?

More people own homes. The cost of living is much lower in Austin than in cities like San Francisco and Seattle, which gives Austin one leg up. When someone owns a home, it shows he/she is committed and futuristic, all indicators of marriage material candidates.

Austin has a suburban feel. Big cities like San Francisco, Chicago, and New York are great for the “city life,” but it is much harder to raise a family in a dense, urban area. Therefore, people in those cities may not be thinking of marriage just yet. While Austin’s downtown area is lively and energetic, the city has a much more relaxed, family feel, which attracts more people who could be marriage material.

Friendly vibes. Austin could arguably be the friendliest city in the country. This atmosphere drives romantic relationships and cultivates the ultimate loving community.

Breathe easy, ladies. While you may be single now, all of these aspects prove why living in Austin almost guarantees you’ll find Mr. Right!

Photo courtesy of Trulia

This is how much a starter home will cost you in Austin

Real Estate Rumblings

As real estate prices rise across the United States, buying a home has become more competitive than ever, and as more inventory moves off the market, historically affordable markets have become slightly less affordable. In certain areas, starter homes in particular are becoming non-existent, but in Texas, starter home prices are rising despite regular inventory levels.

On a national scale, the number of available starter homes this year dropped 12.1 percent. In addition, buyers now have to pay more than ever to get their hands on a starter home, as much as 1.9 percent more of their income, and likely to continue growing. However, Texas is faring relatively well. According to a recent Trulia research article, “Inventory and Price Watch: It’s Harder to Get Started” price, not inventory, is the problem across Texas metropolitan areas.

In Houston, the median starter home price in Q4 of 2016 was $104,967 — a 16.6 percent change over Q4 of 2015. However, buyers in Houston needed a 3.4 percent additional share of income to afford a starter home. Dallas fared slightly better. The average cost of a home in Q4 of 2015 was $117,667, only a 2.9 percent additional share of income.

Austin is one of the fastest growing metros in Texas, so it makes sense that the median starter home price jumped considerably, to $182,867, a 4.2 percent additional share of income. The Fort Worth-Arlington metropolitan area saw the smallest increase in price and share of income, with a median starter home list price of $99,633 and a 0.8 percent increase in share of income.

The good news is that Texas is still a smart place to invest in real estate, despite the overall decrease in inventory and steady increase in price.

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CultureMap Emails are Awesome

Breathtaking Hill Country hideaway is one of Vrbo's top 10 vacation homes in the country


A magnificently hidden home located just an hour away from Austin has been chosen as one of Vrbo's "Vacation Homes of the Year" for 2023. It was the only Texas home chosen out hundreds of thousands of private residences on the vacation rental site.

The Vacation Homes of the Year showcases several popular homes throughout the country (with the occasional international spot) that range from "idyllic lakeside escapes to cozy mountain retreats and desert paradises." In all, two homes are based in California, and one each in Arizona, North Carolina, Oregon, New York, Florida, South Carolina, Idaho, Colorado, and Mexico.

Texas' Hill Country Riverfront Hideaway is tucked away on five acres of land bordering the Pedernales River in Dripping Springs. The home spans 2,150 square feet with an open-concept living area, three spacious bedrooms, two lavish bathrooms, a modern chef's kitchen, fireplace, and a breathtaking wrap-around terrace.

Floor-to-ceiling windows complete the space, allowing guests to take in all of the tranquility the Hill Country has to offer. With the home's 430 feet of river access, visitors can enjoy escaping the city and relax into the views of the vast canyon below.

Dripping Springs Riverfront HideawayImagine a getaway to this Hill Country paradise. Photo courtesy of Vrbo

The property is within a half hour drive to many of the finest wineries, breweries, and must-see outdoor recreation spots in nearby Dripping Springs. Fredericksburg is only an hour's drive west for those wanting to put a greater distance between them and downtown Austin.

The average nightly cost for the riverfront oasis is $475, making it an ideal destination for small groups, a family trip, or a couple's getaway.

Dripping Springs Riverfront Hideaway

Photo courtesy of Vrbo

The Hill Country Riverfront Hideaway was the only Texas home chosen on Vrbo's list.

Expedia Brands president Jon Gieselman shared in a press release that there were plenty of eye-catching homes to wade through for the report.

"This year’s Vacation Homes of the Year range from an urban oasis and a cozy ranch home under $400 a night to a beachfront estate that can sleep the whole family and more," said Gieselman. "Every single Vacation Home of the Year has a beautiful view, and combined boast seven private pools and fire pits, eight hot tubs and even five putting greens."

The full list of Vrbo's 2023 Vacation Homes of the Year are:

  • No. 1 – The Oasis Estate in Palm Springs, California
  • No. 2 – The Happy Roadrunner in Phoenix, Arizona
  • No. 3 – The Chasestone in Lake Norman, North Carolina
  • No. 4 – The Contemporary Gem in Manzanita, Oregon
  • No. 5 – Ocean View Oasis in Montauk, New York
  • No. 6 – The Riverfront Hideaway in Dripping Springs, Texas
  • No. 7 – 30A My Way in Rosemary Beach, Florida
  • No. 8 – Port of Call in Isle of Palms, South Carolina
  • No. 9 – Salmonfly Lodge in Victor, Idaho
  • No. 10 – Trestle House in Winter Park, Colorado
  • No. 11 – Villa Luna Nueva in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
More information about Vrbo's 2023 Vacation Homes of the Year can be found on their website.

Whataburger weighs in as healthiest cheeseburger in the nation


With its love of greasy enchiladas, gluttonous fried steaks, and fat-speckled brisket, Texas isn’t always known as a healthy eating mecca. But it turns out that one locally beloved dish isn’t as unhealthy as one might think.

Inspired by February’s American Heart Month (albeit belatedly), Gambling.com decided to dig deep into which fast-food burger was best for the ticker and the body overall. What that has to do with online slots is anyone’s guess, but perhaps open-heart surgeries are not conducive to risk-taking.

Surprise, surprise, surprise! Local favorite/ food cult Whataburger took the top slot, earning honors with its standby cheeseburger. Assumably, the gambling site considered the mustard-slathered original, eschewing calorie bombs like bacon slices and creamy pepper sauce. Where’s the fun of Whataburger if you can’t get it just like you like it?

To arrive at the rankings, Gambling.com analyzed each burger for sugar, fat, salt, and calorie content per ounce. Each metric was given a one to ten score that factored into the final report card shared with content-hungry food journalists everywhere.

Coming in a close second was In-N-Out’s cheeseburger, a comforting fact for Texans who enjoy complaining about Californians. Rounding out the top five were Checker’s Checkerburger with Cheese, Culver’s ButterBurger Cheese, and Del Taco’s del Cheese Burger.

For those trying to make better eating choices, that list should give some pause. Yes, Whataburger beats out other fast-food faves, but it was competing against a chain that literally toasts all their buns in churned cream. Health is a relative concept.

Elsewhere on the list was another Texas darling, the No. 6 ranked Dairy Queen. Apparently, all that “hungr” is being busted by a hefty dose of sodium. Yes, we will take fries with that.

Texas ranks No. 2 best state to start a small business in new report


Texas regularly ranks highly among business-friendly states, earning the No. 1 spot in Chief Executive magazine's recent annual report and the No. 5 spot in a February study of the best states for female entrepreneurs. Now, new research shows the Lone Star State stands out as one of the best places to start a small business, specifically.

Business credit card experts Capital on Tap determined Texas is the second best state to start a small business, right after Florida. They retrieved their data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics based on several factors, including new firm survival rates, corporate tax rates, the number of entrepreneurs per state, and more.

Texas has very friendly tax frameworks when it comes to small businesses; it is one of five total states that don’t impose any income tax. Furthermore, all Texas businesses that make less than $1.08 million in revenue don’t owe any franchise tax. That also includes all businesses that have less than $1,000 in tax liability.

If a small business owner in Texas needed to take out a loan, they’d be able to secure $4,811 per employee, which is the fifth-highest average loan amount in a calculation of all 50 states.

Capital on Tap COO Damian Brychcy says in a release that the decision to start a small business involves assessing several factors and risks, but he hopes his team’s research can provide future guidance for businesses and entrepreneurs no matter where they reside.

“Entrepreneurship is driven by the desire for independence,” he says. “This includes the freedom to pursue your passion, choose your workplace and working hours, and foster personal growth.”

Florida earned its top spot in the report due to its strong support of local economies with the highest number of jobs created by start-ups per 1,000 residents in the state. However, unlike Texas, Florida small businesses have to pay a 5.5 percent corporate tax rate.

The top states that are the best places to start a small business include:

  • No. 1 – Florida
  • No. 2 – Texas
  • No. 3 – Idaho
  • No. 4 – Nevada
  • No. 5 – North Carolina
  • No. 6 – Colorado
  • No. 7 – Washington
  • No. 8 – Georgia
  • No. 9 – California and Montana (tied)
  • No. 10 – Utah