Austin TX Real Estate - Hill Country Austin Lakeway Homes for Sale: Real Estate Concerns Should Be Addressed Locally - Not Nationally

Real Estate Concerns Should Be Addressed Locally - Not Nationally

I was contacted by an Austin TX Home Buyer a couple of weeks ago to look at houses.  After we talked about her getting approved for a mortgage and her time frame, I then received an email from her with some concerns that I would like to address.

national real estate concernsShe says, "I'm dropping the search for a house because I believe the economy is way too unstable here."  Here?  In Austin TX?  We have the second lowest unemployment behind Washington DC, and we were recently at the top of a list for Best Economy.

She says, "I'm thinking we are in the middle of a big mess and prices are going to drop an additional 20% from where they are now."  An additional 20%? When did they drop a first 20%?  Prices in Austin TX have stayed pretty darn stable over the years. Granted, if you're looking over the million dollar mark, yes, that market has changed a little as a million dollar home a few years ago isn't today's million dollar home. However, the meats and potatoes of our Austin real estate market has not seen such a decline AT ALL!

She says, "I'm thinking prices are tanking now or will tank very shortly because people are unemployed, nearly 19% Nationwide."  Ummm, where are you getting your information?  Nationwide is just over 9%, no where near 19%. And Austin TX, as previously mentioned, has the second lowest unemployment because we're growing jobs!  Many big companies have recently moved to Austin like Facebook and Google, and Ebay has moved some jobs here... and Sears is thinking of moving here because of everything going on here in Austin TX.

She says, "People have difficulty coming up with 20% down payments."  You don't need 20% to buy a house!  For an FHA loan, the minimum is 3.5%. For a basic Conventional loan, it's a 5% down payment.  There are even some loan programs where you can still get 100% financing, but they have program fees that roll into the mortgage finance amount, so I suggest not doing those, but to each their own...

There were many more things in her email to me,  but these were the main ones where I questioned if she was looking at National information or Local information. Real estate is LOCAL!  Yes, National issues can effect Local economies, and no economy is immune to the outside world, however, Austin TX has shown over and over again that our real estate market is strong, and we're not facing challenges of the National market.

If you're looking to buy or sell a house in the Austin TX or surrounding area, please let me know help you gather some useful information.

**Are You Packed Yet?**

donna harris Realtor Austin TX blog

Donna Harris, REALTOR®
RE/MAX Austin Skyline

Austin TX Real Estate

and the surrounding areas of Lakeway, Bee Cave, West Lake Hills, Cedar Park, Round Rock, Spicewood, Circle-C, Steiner Ranch, and everywhere in between... Hill Country Austin TX Real Estate and beyond. Whether you're buying or selling an Austin home, I'll be with you every step of the way. 

For real time Austin TX listings,click here.

** Multi-Million Dollar Producer Year after Year **

Copyright© 2011 By Donna Harris, All Rights Reserved. You may re-blog with links back to this post.
Real Estate Concerns Should Be Addressed Locally - Not Nationally * was first published on

Comment balloon 56 commentsDonna Harris • October 18 2011 09:59AM


Hi Donna.  Couldn't agree with you more.  People hear the gloom and doom on the news and they don't understand that real estate is local.  When I am asked about real estate in the St. Louis area, I give them the statistics from the MLS and it is good news.  Real Estate sales are up and prices are stable.  Now is a great time to buy!


Posted by Delores Campbell, Your St. Louis Real Estate Resource (Keller Williams Realty - Chesterfield) over 8 years ago

You are so right!

Real Estate is very local.  South Florida is a very hot market right now.  The national news does not care to share that the averaged price home in the area is selling quickly and are even getting several bids.

Although we can not control strategic homeowners from walking away and those that are losing , I feel good where the future is going.  Home prices seem to be more stable in those areas of lower distressed sales than recent years.  Mood is optimistic for me. 

Posted by Randall Regnier, (Illustrated Properties R.E., Inc) over 8 years ago

Great post....suggested. Our market is very local as well....we did see drops in prices, but are in multiple offer situations and things go well. Stop reading just the national news.

Posted by Karen Fiddler, Broker/Owner, Orange County & Lake Arrowhead, CA (949)510-2395 (Karen Parsons-Fiddler, Broker 949-510-2395) over 8 years ago

Donna- Great post.   Totally agree it's not on a National platform that we in Texas need to me judged by when it comes to housing.   Austin, San Antonio and North Dallas doing very well. 

Posted by Stephanie Stringer, Mortgage Loan Originator (First Choice Loan Services NMLS#210764) over 8 years ago

Melville CappsDonna, great example of the national news effecting local issues. Yep, real estate is local. Newton MA prices didn't take much of a hit, and have now recovered. The sales volume is still down though.

Melville Capps

Posted by Melissa Ostrom & Melville Capps Newton MA - The Mel and Mel Team ((617) 388-3151 | Century 21 Commonwealth) over 8 years ago

Hi Donna.  Some will be scared off by misinformation...

I am guessing this "buyer" was never really that close to buying...

Thanks for writing,


Posted by Ken Tracy, Helping clients buy and sell since 2005 (Coldwell Banker Residential) over 8 years ago

Misinformation and assumption are definitely everyone's worst enemies when it comes to knowledge about a particular situation. I do agree with you that Real Estate is local and should be judged as such.

Posted by Gabrielle Jeans, Real Estate Web Solution, Real Estate Trainer and Coach (WebTech Dezine, Gabrielle Jeans Real Estate Coach) over 8 years ago

I find myself reminding people all the time that New York is not the Sunbelt or the Midwest. Just because Las Vegas is foreclosure central doesn't mean that Westchester is also. 

All real estate is local!

Posted by J. Philip Faranda, Broker-Owner (J. Philip Faranda (J. Philip R.E. LLC) Westchester County NY) over 8 years ago

Hi Donna... thanks, and very well put.. suggested & reblogged...

Posted by Phyllis Lerner call 914.438.7556, William Raveis Legends Realty Group (William Raveis Legends Realty Group LLC) over 8 years ago

Donna - did she understand and change her mind after you emailed her the correct information about Austin?

Posted by Margaret Goss, Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate (Baird & Warner Real Estate) over 8 years ago

I wish the media would explain this to consumers.  I am in Mandeville, LA.  Just 30 minutes outside New Orleans.  My market is up 14.3% over last year.   

Posted by Wayne Turner, "The Only Name You'll Ever Need for Real Estate" (Turner Real Estate Group) over 8 years ago


Did you get to straighten her out or is she staying out of the market?

Posted by Dan Weis, Cincy Real Estate Advisor (Comey & Shepherd Realtors) over 8 years ago

Oy, did she change her mind after your excellent explanation?

It's simply amazing how many people rely on national news sources for local real estate needs.

Posted by Chiara Petro, Your KEY to Home Sweet Home - Knoxville TN (eXp Realty - Angie Cody Team) over 8 years ago

Well, well, well, another client listening to well-meaning friends, family and neighbors again.  I can just imagine; She was all excited; told all her friends and family about what she was planning and they talked her out of it.  Give her some time, stay in touch, she'll be back. 

Posted by Elizabeth Mosley, BIC - Shepherd Real Properties (Shepherd Real Properties) over 8 years ago

Same here. Home values have dropped 20% since 2007 but I'm seeing stabilization so far. I tell everyone real estate and the economy is local!

Posted by Jackie Connelly-Fornuff, "Moving at The Speed of YOU!" (Douglas Elliman Real Estate in Babylon NY) over 8 years ago

We run into the same thing here. Out of 500+ listings only a dozen are repo's or short sales. Thus our market is holding its own.

Posted by Rob D. Shepherd, Principal Broker GRI, SRES (Windermere/lane county) over 8 years ago

Real estate is very much local. She may not know this and may be ignorant about it too. She just have to live in her little world and listen to those who don't know jack.

Posted by Mike Yeo (3:16 team REALTY) over 8 years ago

It is amazing how decisions are made without accurate information. Great post to help correct the misinformation. Congratulations on the feature, it was worthy.


Posted by Cal Yoder, Homes For Sale in Lancaster PA - 717.413.0744 (Keller Williams Elite) over 8 years ago

Hi Donna, great post and congrats on the feature, absolutely, the local issues should be looked at in respect to the National perspective.  We here in Texas are lucky compared to other areas of the country.

Posted by Hrisco & Associates, Roanoke Homes for Sale - Roanoke Neighborhoods (Hrisco & Associates ) over 8 years ago

Hi Donna,

Austin is ranked in the top 10 places to live according to Kiplinger : send her this article ! Good luck and thanks for the post!


Posted by Tracy Lee Parker, Buy*Sell*Lease (RE/MAX Dallas Suburbs/PLATINUM PROPERTIES & MANAGEMENT) over 8 years ago

Yes, all real estate is local. Our area was late to the recession, so we're feeling it more now than other areas. Nevertheless, if you take out the foreclosures (maybe 5-7% of the listings), prices are pretty stable, except for the high end of the market. Not what it used to be, but not as bad as your buyer believed.

You did a great job in educating her! Great post!

Posted by Debbe Perry, 828.439.3084 Morganton/Lake James NC (Real Living Carolina Property ) over 8 years ago

Amen to that Donna. Iowa City is pretty isolated from national events too. Real estate is indeed local. Great post to remind buyers of that. 

BTW, IBM is in Austin too, right? My son was there last week. (He's actuallywith IBM in Rochester MN, but gets to go to Austin every now and again).

Posted by Denise Hamlin, Broker/Owner, Helping Happy Clients Make Smart Choices (Cardinal Realty ~ 319-400-0268) over 8 years ago

I'm curious to hear if she responded to your comments once you gave her the "Local" explanation.

Posted by Bob Zorechak - ABR, GRI, e-PRO, Sells Homes in Morris/Somerset/Hunterdon Cos., NJ (Keller Williams Realty Metropolitan) over 8 years ago

Donna -- It's unfortunate that many people listen to the national news and base their decisions on that.  I am SO surprised by this buyer because I am not in your area, and I definitely KNOW that Austin is flourishing. People listen to the WRONG people. They need to consult with a local realtor, like yourself, to get specifics on the local market.  Looking ahead I can see many buyers kicking themselves for procrastinating and not taking advantage of the prices and interest rates today.

Posted by Barbara Altieri, REALTOR-Fairfield County CT Homes/Condos For Sale (Kinard Realty Group Fairfield and New Haven County CT Real Estate) over 8 years ago

I've said this over and over.  Real estate is local.  Stop listening to the media. Now if the public would just hear that.

Posted by Adam Tarr, PC -GRI, ABR, CDPE, RSPS, ePro - Designated Broker (MavRealty) over 8 years ago

Hello everyone. Thanks for the comments. It's always a busy day when you're trying to leave town for a real estate convention in another city.

To answer the main question of whether or not she "got it", not she doesn't get it. She asked more and more questions and made more comments about foreclosures, and we've got a very small market of foreclosures. She rather listen to National information and live in fear of the market, than listen to what is going on, not just from me, but from the numerous reports about Austin and our market.

I'll stay in touch with her and see if she's cooled her jets after the first of the year.

Posted by Donna Harris, Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator (Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - over 8 years ago

In my opinion the media has made this mess even worse. When will people get back to basics - real estate is local - period.

A little aside on this, though - I do think there are a lot of people testing the waters that aren't too serious in the first place - and then using the news as a copout.

Posted by Susan Thompson-Solomons, Southern MD Real Estate-Solomons Specialist (Berkshire Hathaway Home Services McNelis Group Properties) over 8 years ago

Yep, the news makes it bad for everybody.  It's hard to show people that they're thinking wrong.  Negative stuff is just so much easier to believe than the positive.  If we tell the positive truth, then we still come across as salespeople looking for the next sale.

Posted by Tamara Inzunza, Close-In Alexandria and Arlington Living (RE/MAX Executives) over 8 years ago

Note: Someone is really working on the spam; see the original #14 and spam #22.


Donna: We are very "local" here in Del Norte County too. Our prices have tanked but it looks like we are seeing the bottom. Excellent opportunities to buy right now.

Posted by Hella Mitschke Rothwell, Hawaii & California Real Estate Broker ((831) 626-4000) over 8 years ago

This is so true.  The same is true for our area.  It is resilient and prices are not going to go down  here like they did in Vegas.

Posted by Ruthmarie Hicks (Keller Williams NY Realty - 120 Bloomingdale Road #101, White Plains NY 10605) over 8 years ago

So true. We have Counties in the metro Baltimore area that are so diverse in economy that they could be in different States. Hence the need for a local Realtor!

Posted by Ellie McIntire, Luxury service in Howard County & Catonsville (Ellicott City Clarksville Howard County Maryland Real Estate) over 8 years ago


An excellent example of how mis-informed some people are about the market, and the economy, either locally or nationally. Whether it comes fom erroneous headlines, mis-information on the Internet, or elsewhere, it's something we hear pretty often. Are there some tough issues? You bet. But there is no national housing market at least from the perspective of consistency (and obviously the media doesn't know this or care), and there often seems to be alot of contradiction about the data we hear flung around on the news/media/Internet. It's no wonder people are confused.

You asked some good, revealing questions.

THe highest unployment I have heard about in Nevada at about 13% or so. Of course we know that the numbers we hear are not really the true state sicne they ignore the underemployed and others.


Posted by Jeff Dowler, CRS, The Southern California Relocation Dude (eXp Realty of California) over 8 years ago


i came from Ellie's reblog. I left her this comment:

"I know how tempting to bring it all to the local level, but it is, actually, both. And what is great here today may change to morrow based on natinal trends, national economy, national policies.

Local markets put together form a Market, and yes, it is not homogenous, but without the ability to see a bigger picture, smalle pictures are snippets of today without a trend, and the letter deals with the trends.

Real estate is not in the vacuum. Agents can be good on a very local level, but agents do not usually have a good understanding of the economy."

I think we, agents, also need to exercise balanced approach. Seeing local market within the bigger picture of bigger trends

Posted by Jon Zolsky, Daytona Beach, FL, Buy Daytona condos for heavenly good prices (Daytona Condo Realty, 386-405-4408) over 8 years ago


We have a pretty good national market here too in the shadows of DC, but there is a national psychological malaise going on in the country right now that is affecting real estate as well.


Posted by Richard Iarossi, Crofton MD Real Estate, Annapolis MD Real Estate (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) over 8 years ago

I just had a potential buyer pull that on me. She was getting all sorts of info from friends and relatives, scaring her away from buying. The house she wanted was here. Her friends, etc were all in an another state. Those friends just didn't want their friend buying another home so far away. They all know NOTHING about this market.

She won't be buying. And I found the PERFECT house, one the buyer really never expected to find.

Posted by Jon Quist, Tucson's BUYERS ONLY Realtor since 1996 (REALTY EXECUTIVES ARIZONA TERRITORY) over 8 years ago

I hear a lot of those same things here ... and sadly they're much more accurate. Interesting that three previous commenters (8, 34, and 36) also referenced Las Vegas and NV. I'm really looking forward to us getting out of the national news as "foreclosure central."

Posted by John Novak, Henderson, Las Vegas and Summerlin Real Estate (Keller Williams Realty The Marketplace) over 8 years ago

Buyers have some very interesting perspective. Educating them and addressing their concerns, like you have illustrated, gives them the confidence and desire to make the purchase happen. Thank you for sharing.

Posted by Laurie Clark CRB Angel Realty LLC Your Monument Realtor 719-502-6572, Angel Realty, LLC (CRB-CCSS-ASD-HBS-RSD-Denver Short Sale Agents) over 8 years ago

Excellent points.  Our market is great here as well and I still hear some of those same excuses.  People are so quick to glam onto the most negative news.

Posted by Paula McDonald, Ph.D., Granbury, TX 936-203-0279 (Beam & Branch Realty) over 8 years ago

Sounds like cold feet to me and she was using any ole excuse she could find.               

Posted by Sandy Acevedo, RE/MAX Masters, Inland Empire Homes for Sale (951-290-8588) over 8 years ago

I have to agree with those who think she wasn't ready to buy anyway.  She protests too much...and your point is excellent, real estate is local.

Posted by Marge Piwowarski, Phoenix AZ Horse Property, LLC (Phoenix AZ Horse Property) over 8 years ago

Donna,  My guess is that even within the Austin real estate market, there are many sub-market (I don't want to say 'mini-market') variations by neighborhood.  At least that's true out here.

Doesn't it just figure that when you're trying to get away to a convention, you get a Featured post with tons of comments?  You'll probably get an offer or two on listings, also.

Posted by Lloyd Binen, Silicon Valley Realtor since 1976; 408-373-4411 (Certified Realty Services) over 8 years ago

Yes Donna, don't you love these 'experts' that give you all this information about your market and are just plain wrong.  More often than not, they refuse to listen to you, no matter how many facts you present, they have already heard about in on FOX or NBC.

Posted by Gabe Sanders, Stuart Florida Real Estate (Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales) over 8 years ago

Donna, proof again that all real estate is local and people should take what the media says with a grain of salt.

Posted by Michael Setunsky, Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA over 8 years ago

Donna, so very true, real estate is a local condition, don't get caught up in the news hype, they are out to sell papers.

Posted by David Popoff, Realtor®,SRS, Green ~ Fairfield County, Ct (DMK Real Estate ) over 8 years ago

Donna a fantastic point. Real Estate is indeed local and the national averages do not reflect a lot of states and local areas within states. Here in Nh we have a 5.1% unemployment rate, listing inventory is down 30% overall, pending and closed sale are up nearly 18%. I find myself answering the same questions as you are you. Thanks for starting a great conversation.

Posted by Scott Godzyk, One of the Manchester NH's area Leading Agents (Godzyk Real Estate Services) over 8 years ago

I agree 100% and I wish someone would share the message with our state associations and NAR. They love to give interviews and put out meaningless statistics about the "housing market" knowing full well that all real estate markets are local. They look great in the publications or on the talk shows, but they make life much more difficult for the people whose dues pay their salaries.

Posted by Jim Kouns over 8 years ago

It could be that she is just plain nervous and not yet serious  and is selectively listening to news that backs up the course of action she has chosen.  But real estate is LOCAL, just like you tried to tell her.  If she doesn't get it, just move on to the next client.

Posted by Kathryn Maguire, Serving Chesapeake, Norfolk, VA Beach ( (757) 560-0881) over 8 years ago

Donna- great responses - that's where it pays off to keep tabs on numbers like unemployment, average sales price trends, etc. She's just in fear - and many times people will hold onto what they believe until they allow themselves to truly HEAR outside information. Congrats on the feature!!

Posted by Kim Dean, Simply Texas Real Estate - Broker/Owner ( over 8 years ago


The first thing we have to do when we talk to buyers and sellers is to set them straight about the economy in our area.  National statistics are just that.  Sometime they have no relationship with our local statistics. 

Posted by Evelyn Kennedy, Alameda, Real Estate, Alameda, CA (Alain Pinel Realtors) over 8 years ago

It 's amazing how even local media can give so much weight to a negative story and so little to good news. Recently  Phoenix was among the top 10 nationwide in creating new jobs. This would certainly be good news for our community as a whole and would give a lot people that have been looking for work a little bit of hope. Not one local TV station carried the story the day it broke on my internet news feed or the next day. I got busy and am not sure if they ever reported it. But we did get our usual dose of fire, crime, violence, and celebrity news... I guess the old adage is true; if it bleeds it leads.

Posted by Nancy Laswick, Your REALTOR® For The Valley Of The Sun (United Real Estate) over 8 years ago

Good writing is something I can appreciate. You have made your points in a smart way. I am impressed with how interesting you have been able to present this content.

Posted by David Wylie over 8 years ago

Dear Donna -

Lots of great comments but the belief point is inside the Buyer's mind.  Perception vs reality every time! As someone above said, perhaps it was na excuse or just change of heart.

Have a happy day -

Posted by Lynn B. Friedman, Concierge Service for Our Atlanta Sellers & Buyers (Atlanta Homes ODAT Realty Call/Text 404-939-2727 Buckhead - Midtown - Westside -- and more ...) over 8 years ago

It is easy for buyers to mistake national or even a geographically close markets as the same as the one they are considering, good info, thanks.

Posted by MichelleCherie Carr Crowe Just Call...408-252-8900, Family Helping Families Buy & Sell Homes 40+ Years (Get Results Team...Just Call (408) 252-8900! . DRE #00901962 . Licensed to Sell since 1985 . Altas Realty) over 8 years ago

It is difficult when the consumer hears info and does not know how to interpret it.

Posted by Tim Lorenz, 949 874-2247 (TIM LORENZ - Elite Home Sales Team) over 8 years ago

Tip O'Neil said All politics is local. i say all real estate is local. Good post

Posted by Joe Jackson, Clintonville and Central Ohio Real Estate Expert (Keller Williams Capital Partners Realty) over 8 years ago

I still get consumers who believe that 20% is going to be required.  Amazing.  I set them straight quickly.

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) over 8 years ago