Schulle Farms could be home to more than 800 single-family homes, plus a potential commercial development. SCREENSHOT OF CALDWELL COUNTY DOCUMENTS

Austin Business Journal reports, "hundreds of acres of housing are set to rise on the southern reaches of the Austin metro, the latest indication that it just keeps on growing.

Caldwell County commissioners on Jan. 9 unanimously approved a development agreement for a subdivision in Maxwell, potentially encompassing more than 200 acres. With the Austin area embroiled in a seemingly never-ending struggle to build enough affordable housing, the homes in this new development would be going up in one of the most affordable pockets of the region.

The subdivision, known as Schulle Farms, would be built on 227 acres off Maxwell’s Fifth Street if the development goes forward. Schulle Farm Partners LP is behind the project, although the identities of those controlling the limited partnership weren't immediately available.

Schulle Farms would consist of 831 homes, with street frontages ranging from 35 to 60 feet. Of those, 507 lots would have 40-foot frontages.

Plans also call for a commercial development in the site's northeast corner. The acreage of that portion is unclear, but it appears on site plans to be about the size of two 30-home blocks within the development.

It's unclear at this point how big the homes in Schulle Farms would be or how much they would cost.

Still, Maxwell — a tiny unincorporated community about 40 miles south of Austin — is among the most affordable spots in the metro. According to an analysis of data from Zillow Inc., the median price of a home in the Maxwell ZIP code, 78656, was $309,755 as of Nov. 30, and a household needed a minimum annual income of $76,297 to afford a home there.

Only seven ZIP codes across the metro — in relatively small cities such as Lockhart, Taylor, Granger, Jarrell, Luling and Kingsbury — were more affordable.

The metro’s housing market

In December, the median price of a home in the Austin metro dropped 10% year-over-year, to $450,000.

Kent Redding, the Austin Board of Realtor's president for 2024, said the market is simply finding it's footing after years of big gains.

“Housing inventory reached the highest level it’s been in more than eight years, and while there was a drop in closed sales and median close price, these were both symptomatic of higher mortgage rates,” he said in a statement.

Housing inventory in December came in at three months, while an inventory of six months is considered healthy. There were 2,295 closed sales in 2023, down 8% from the same period of 2022.

Clare Losey, ABOR housing economist, also called higher mortgage rates the biggest constraint for homebuyers in 2023. Rates for a 30-year fixed mortgage averaged 6.6% as of Jan. 18, according to Freddie Mac.

“The single biggest factor constraining the Central Texas housing market in 2023 was the gradual rise in mortgage rates, which peaked in late October,” Losey said. “This caused sellers, and buyers essentially, to continually readjust to the current rate environment. While we have seen some leveling off in home prices, the Central Texas region still lacks a sufficient inventory of affordable homes for sale, especially those homes priced below $300,000, which is keeping many would-be first-time homebuyers on the sidelines.”

Zillow data supports Losey’s view that the region lacks sufficient affordable housing. The average median price of a home in the 81 ZIP codes across the Austin-Round Rock metro was $529,728 in late November, and only seven ZIP codes had an average price under $300,000 for homes sold.

Homeowners must earn an average of $129,107 annually to purchase a home in the Austin metro, according to the data. In the city of Austin, homeowners need a whopping $147,288 in average annual income to purchase a home."


Source: Austin Business Journal

Written by: Cody Baird

Published: January 19, 2024


Posted by Grossman & Jones Group on


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