What Central Texas Luxury Homebuyers Seek
From education to the workplace, many changes wrought in those early days of the pandemic continue to reverberate in 2023. One of the places where a remarkable transformation occurred was the luxury home market. Prices went up — and mostly have stayed higher than before — nationwide.
But what are Central Texas luxury homebuyers seeking now? What factors are driving the area’s luxury market? These are great questions to consider, and we’ve got a few answers to share.
Regional wealth and opportunities are key
When it comes to thinking about the area’s luxury homes, it’s important to understand that these properties are now part of a much bigger, robust global real estate market — one that experts point to as being shaped by more than just the pandemic.
“We believe the reasons for prices staying strong [globally] are multifold,” writes A. Bradley Nelson, Chief Marketing Officer of Sotheby’s International Realty, in the forward for the company’s Luxury Outlook Report 2023.
Pointing to global luxury market changes resulting from the pandemic, Nelson adds that “the world’s seen a surge of wealth creation in recent years,” noting that “the affluent still have more money to spend.”
“That’s certainly been the case here in Central Texas,” observes Timothy Hero, Vice President of RBFCU Real Estate Group Operations. “We’ve seen people from all over the world drawn to the Austin-San Antonio corridor, bringing with them a good appetite for luxury living. And we’re seeing wealth generated from key industries — technology, biotech and investments — continue to grow locally. Jobs, for me, are an important factor in play throughout the realty market. When we attract premier employers who pay their senior staff well, that impacts the home market. It’s all deeply interconnected.”
Location, location, location
Confidence in the Central Texas market remains relatively high of late, something that entities such as the Austin Board of REALTORS® and others noted as the spring 2023 real estate season got underway.
“Local agents have shared with me that they’ve seen an uptick in inventory, which can definitely work in the favor of buyers,” says Hero. “Of course, given the size of our region, there’s tremendous diversity in terms of what is available for them to choose from. Although it used to be true that luxury options were concentrated in city centers — storied places like Alamo Heights in San Antonio and Austin’s Old Enfield, that’s changed dramatically in recent years as builders and developers have created phenomenal luxury communities.”
In the Alamo City, Hero points to The Dominion and Cordillera Ranch as holding special appeal for luxury buyers, as do farm and ranch properties in the wider Hill Country region.
“A great home on an incredible piece of land with beautiful views is a precious thing,” says Hero. “Although we’ve seen prices go up, the area is still affordable when compared to, say, Napa or Aspen — even though the terrain here is just as beautiful, if not more so, in some instances. Granted, having grown up here myself, I’m a little biased in favor of home.”
Yet when it comes to über-luxury Central Texas buyers, Hero believes that there’s something more in play than just a great view.
“These big Hill Country ranches and comparatively smaller homes in town attract titans of industry, people who follow economics closely and look for trend lines. They’re exploring homes in this area intentionally as a good investment made after looking at similar luxury properties on a global scale. In fact, they may even be purchasing multiple homes scattered across the map in places like ours with distinct cultures and amenities, great food, vibrant arts and music scenes and weather that allows for outdoorsy, year-round activities.”
Enter the influencers
Austin abandoned its erstwhile small college town vibe in favor of an international reputation many moons ago. Several prominent faces (James Marsden and James Van Der Beek — to name a few) that have shifted their home bases to the area recently has only refocused attention on the city as an attractive place to live.
“Celebrity influencers probably do infuse a little ‘fear of missing out’ into the equation for people who are in the market for similar properties,” says Hero. “But, again, I’d argue that these are all incredibly thoughtful people who think long and hard about what they want and where they want to live. They have options at the global level, so they are going to be strategic about making sound investments. I’d like to think that’s where the real name cachet rests for our market, in the recognition that, from a sea of choices, it’s our area’s distinctiveness that attracts today’s luxury buyers.”
Of course, it’s one thing to like a place one’s visited during Austin’s annual South by Southwest® music and film festival or while working for a few weeks on a remote television set. It’s another to sit down with one’s laptop and explore available luxury listings in a targeted area, in hopes of finding options that match their wish list.
So, when people do that, what might they be seeking?
Details make a difference
When it comes to embracing luxury living, premium realty clients — famous and obscure alike — are often unabashed about seeking refined, of-the-moment details.
According to the aforementioned Sotheby’s International Report, popular amenities globally include:
- Saltwater swimming pools and cold-plunge pools
- Floor-to-ceiling windows that maximize natural light and make the most of surrounding views
- Electric-car charging stations
- Sprayed cork, a type of premium paint that not only provides added thermal insulation but also retains integrity and color for a decade or more
- High-end home water-filtration systems
- Sustainable, well-tended gardens
- Energy-efficient fireplaces
- Massage rooms
“I would say those amenities are absolutely sought by luxury homebuyers exploring Central Texas, including those who are locals and have built wealth through investments or through our growing biomedical industries or newcomers from, well, anywhere around the globe,” says Hero. “I’d also say that, between what buyers are seeking and what builders and renovation specialists are able to provide, there are no limits to how luxurious a Central Texas home can be. And that’s yet another key factor in our region’s growing appeal among luxury buyers. We definitely have the home service providers in place to support luxury homeowners. Designers, architects, pool companies and landscaping firms … they’re all here now or at least can easily hop a flight or jump on a video call to make dreams come true.”
Are you planning to sell or buy a Central Texas luxury property soon? Remember that RBFCU’s preferred real estate partner, Kuper Sotheby’s International Realty, is here to help you move beyond your expectations toward an extraordinary real estate experience.
Information in this article is general in nature and for your consideration, not as financial advice. Please contact your own financial professionals regarding your specific needs before taking any action based upon this information.
Kuper Realty Holding Company, LLC dba Kuper Sotheby’s International Realty is a subsidiary of RBFCU Services LLC. RBFCU Services LLC is affiliated with Randolph‑Brooks Federal Credit Union (RBFCU).
The following sources were last accessed in April 2023.
“Luxury Outlook Report 2023.” Sotheby’s International Realty, https://www.luxuryoutlook.com/luxury-outlook-report-2023/welcome-letter.
“Austin-Round Rock MSA Adds Housing Inventory as Home Builder Confidence Grows.” Kuper Sotheby’s International Realty, 27 March 2023, https://www.kuperrealty.blog/post/austin-round-rock-msa-adds-housing-inventory-as-home-builder-confidence-grows.
“9 Celebrities Who Now Live in Central Texas.” Austinmonthly.com, March 2021, https://www.austinmonthly.com/celebrities-in-austin/.