November 2013

There are 12 blog entries for November 2013.

Dating back to 1967, the Zilker Tree lighting has been a tradition for families across the city, and it takes place this Sunday (Dec. 1). Of course, if you can't make it, the tree will be less ceremoniously lit every night until December 31. This year the tree is 155 feet tall and will have 39 streamers suspending 3,390 multicolored lights. Quite a sight to behold, indeed! Don't forget The Tail Of Lights is back this year too, running from December 8th - 22nd.
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According to the latest The Business Journals' On Numbers report, Austin's economy leads the list of 102 ranked US cities. Job growth is the real driving factor here as many large corporations, such as IBM and EBAY annouced plans to increase hiring in town. Ausin leads the nation in overall job creation over the past 5 years, a 11.8% increase since 2008, the next closest competitor being Houston coming in at 9%.
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West Lake Hills City Council is giving consideration to a plan to restrict home sizes within West the city. This follows action this September to halt all building permits in West Lake Hills which increased the existing home footprint or added a swimming pool. Fire safety is a leading cause for concern after low rates of water flow from hydrants were reported by fire crews responding to a house fire back in August.
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According to The Urban Land Institute's Emerging Trends In Real Estate 2014 report, Austin is ranked 7th when it comes to opportunities for investment and development in real estate. High growth in the job market, housing construction and attracting new businesses catapulted Austin above Miami, Boston and Orange County all of which have seen massive growth in the real estate sector since 2008. The list was lead by San Francisco, Houston, San Jose, New York City, and Dallas/Fort Worth.
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A few weeks back I made a blog post referencing an article in Condé Nast Traveler which rated the newly opened Hotel Ella as one of the top luxury hotels in Austin (along with the Four Seasons, The Driskill and Hotel Saint Cecilia). I worked for the Four Seasons and in the luxury hotel business for 10 years before real estate and since I’m always recommending hotels to my relocating clients I thought I should give Hotel Ella a try.

From the outside, Hotel Ella is striking. Formerly a mansion from late 19th century, the renovated hotel maintains all of its traditional charm. Check-in was a little bumpy as they couldn’t find my reservation right away - the staff seemed very new and flustered, but eventually they found me in the system and brought me to

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When your kids get bored of dinosaurs (NEVER!) there is a new game coming to town. Starting on November 23rd and running through March of 2014, the Bullock Texas State History Museum will feature an exhibit which covers the A to Z's of mammalian life on the planet since the dawn of history. Showcasing all things big and small, from theIndricotherium, a 15-foot tall rhinocerous, to the Batodonaides, a shrew only one and a half inches long, Extreme Mammals is sure to spark that look of wonderment in your child's eye, right before the mammalian skeleton display scares the bejeezus out of them.
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Austin's strong real estate market is resulting in massive growth in the apartment sector as the city's 20-34 year old age group is expected to grow at 2.5x the nation average this year according to market research by Marcus & Millichap. Vacancy rates remain below 5% and rents have risen by an average of 5.7% this year alone. By the end of 2013, 6,300 new rental units will be available versus 3,850 in 2012. 20% of new rental units are slated for student and senior housing.

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Lockhart's most famous family, the Schmidts, have arrived in Bee Cave, Texas! The Schmidt Family Barbecue opened its doors in the Hill Country Galleria on October 28th to a line of anxious customers. The Schmidts famously had a family dispute during the 1990's which resulted in two competing barbecues in Lockhart: Smitty's and Kreuz Market, which are consistently ranked among the best barbeque in Texas. The family has since reconciled which has manifested itself in this joint venture. Be sure to check it out, but you might want to try it during off hours for the first few months because lines extending outside have been spotted during lunch and dinner time.

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According to a recent report by USAA, Austin is ranked 5th in the nation for opportunities for veterans to find jobs. This is the second year in a row that Austin has ranked in the top 10 on the list. Austin often ranks on lists of the "Best Places To Live" in the US, particularly because of the low cost of living (median home price is $186,800), high household income, low unemployment (5.3%), high job growth rate (3.4%) and booming economy.

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Vocativ put out a unique piece based on data across the US' major cities using criteria important for those under 35, a segment largely ignored by demographers. Across 50 cities, here is how Austin ranks:

Median Age - 30.9 (Rank: 4)
Average Rent for 2-Bedroom Apartment - $1,230 (Rank: 29)
Cost of Gallon of Gas - $3.23 (Rank: 7)
Cost of Electricity - 9.00¢ (Rank: 17)
Average Cost of Groceries (Rank: 13)
Public Transportation Ridership - 12% (Rank: 12)
Green Commuter Index (Rank: 2)
Cost of Internet - $26.85 (Rank: 21)
Average Salary - $55,000 (Rank: 24)
Number of Laundromats Per 100,000 People - 4.4 (Rank: 24)
Number of Coffee Shops Per 100,000 People - 62.4 (Rank: 18)
Number of Vintage Clothing Stores Per 100,000 People - 14.4 (Rank: 11)
Number of Cheap Takeout

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