Shin Oak Realty is a full service Real Estate office specializing in the Central Texas Real Estate market.
Our Team: Randy O'Dell, Suzy Bates, Candice O'Dell, Bradley "BJ" O'Dell & Barbara Childers

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


DALLAS (Dallas Morning News) – Only four U.S. housing markets experienced an increase in value during January, and three of those were in Texas, according to a survey released Monday.
First American CoreLogic reports that Austin–Round Rock saw a 3.9 percent increase in housing market value.

Houston–Sugar Land–Baytown reported a 3.6 percent increase and Dallas-Plano-Irving home values jumped 1.5 percent.

Throughout Texas, home prices were up by just under 2 percent.
By comparison, home prices nationwide fell 11.6 percent in January compared to a year ago.


DALLAS (Dallas Morning News) – Last Wednesday, the Federal Reserve said it would buy up to $300 billion in long-term U.S. Treasuries and increase purchases of Fannie Mae- and Freddie Mac-backed securities to $1.25 trillion, up from $500 billion.

Less than a day after the Fed’s action, fixed rates on conforming 30-year mortgages dropped as much as half a percentage point to well under 5 percent, and many analysts doubt that rates will be headed back up anytime soon.

Except for a day or so in December, rates are at the lowest levels since at least 1965, according to mortgage giant Freddie Mac.

"What you've done is you've created affordability," said Scott Simon, head of mortgage-backed securities at Pacific Investment Management Co. "This will make housing bottom sooner than it would have bottomed, and at a higher price than it would have otherwise bottomed."

The rate drop is likely to encourage more borrowers to see whether they can qualify for the lowest rates.

The question remaining is whether lower rates will jump-start the housing market. As much as three-quarters of the mortgage application activity in recent months has been for refinancing rather than home purchases.

Friday, March 13, 2009


TEXAS (The Eagle, Beaumont Enterprise, Associated Press) – Texas' foreclosure filings last month dropped 14.1 percent from a year earlier but increased 7.9 percent from January, according to the latest report from RealtyTrac, a foreclosure-listing firm.

Those numbers compared favorably to the nation's. RealtyTrack reported that, nationally, nearly 291,000 homes received at least one foreclosure-related notice last month. That is up 30 percent from February 2008 and 6 percent from January.

The news varied throughout the state. For example, Brazos County experienced a slight uptick in foreclosures.

RealtyTrac listed a total of 58 bank-owned properties in the county since late 2006. Of those, 17 were entered over the months of January and February, compared with two properties entered from the same period of 2008. Meanwhile, farther east, the Jefferson County clerk’s office records show that banks filed 67 notices in January, 97 notices in February and 28 so far in March. That compares with 141, 91 and 66 notices in those respective months last year.

Dr. Jim Gaines, research economist at the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University, said he believes more people in the area will face foreclosure in the coming months. In Beaumont, some areas may see higher rates than others, and those areas may be subdivisions where creative financing was used to get people into homes that they maybe could not afford.


AUSTIN (Austin American-Statesman) – Large Austin projects set to begin construction are stalled because of the recession and frozen credit markets.

JMI Realty is ready to start work on the Hotel Van Zandt, a 327-room boutique hotel at the eastern edge of downtown on Red River and Davis, but cannot receive the financing to do so.
“We have lots of jobs ready to be created with this project, but until the banking environment improves, we will be on hold,” said JMI Senior Vice President Greg Clay.

In north Austin, Atlanta-based Novare Group and its local partner Andrews Urban are holding off on a 28-story tower that would house condominiums and the 145-room Twelve Hotel at Endeavor Real Estate Group's Domain. The developers say the delay of the $100 million-plus project stems from the postponement of three major retail projects at the mixed-use Domain. These include new stores for Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue and Whole Foods Market Inc.

Under the revised timetable, Nordstrom and Saks, as well as 490 apartments, 450,000 sf of additional retail space and 125,000 sf of offices, would not open until fall 2012. The Whole Foods store opening would be pushed back to May 2012, about a year later than planned.

1st Time Homebuyer Tax Credit

The homebuyer tax credit is one of 10 key provisions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act signed by President Obama into law on Feb. 17, 2009.

The bill provides for a $8,000 tax credit that would be available to first-time home buyers for the purchase of a principal residence on or after January 1, 2009 and before December 1, 2009. The credit does not require repayment. Most of the mechanics of the credit will be the same as under the 2008 rules: the credit will be claimed on a tax return to reduce the purchaser's income tax liability. If any credit amount remains unused, then the unused amount will be refunded as a check to the purchaser.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Georgetown Job Cafe

I got this email from a lender that I know and thought it was worth sharing. And if you ever need a great lender - DiAnne Acuna is a great lender to use!

Hello everyone,
I wanted to make you all aware of a Non-Profit, Non-denominational program that I have been involved with the past several months. It is called Georgetown Job Cafe and it is a program to put people back to work in Williamson/Travis Counties and the surrounding areas. We meet every Wed. morning at 9:00 am at the Georgetown Public Library. If you are looking for a job and need help with resumes, interviewing tip, or just support of other people in your situation please attend. Also, if you know of employers that are hiring or may in the near future, please tell them about it. We just started organizing the first part of February. We are building a database of potential employers and job seekers. We want to help put Central Texas back to work, and it can only happen thru networking. If you would like to learn more about it, please go on the web site at or you can contact me at 512.699.3056.

DiAnne Acuña
Land Mortgage, Loan Consultant
8300 N. Mopac, Suite 225
Austin, TX 78759
512-583-1030 Office
512-583-1040 FAX
512-699-3056 Mobile

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


COLLEGE STATION (Real Estate Center) – Telephones can now be used to turn on a coffee pot or change the lighting in a fish tank. If that sounds like something out of The Jetsons, guess again.

At the 2009 International Builders' Show, vendors unveiled self-powered, wireless solutions to home lighting. Check out the Real Estate Center's new seven-minute video, "Push-Button Homes," to learn more.

Homes are SELLING!

I am excited today! The Home Sales statistics for Williamson County just came out and for the week of 2/22, TWICE AS MANY HOMES SOLD then in the week of 2/15. If that doesn't prove the Real Estate market is vastly improving, then I don't know what does!!


Thursday, March 5, 2009

Stimulus Plan Should Boost Home Sales: NAR

NAR estimates that the recently enacted economic stimulus plan, along with lower interest rates and other mortgage relief measures, could help trigger 900,000 additional home sales in 2009 compared to conditions without the stimulus package. The association also expects home inventory to fall below an 8-month supply by the end of the year.

Treasury Details ‘Making Home Affordable’ Plan

The U.S. Treasury Department today announced new guidelines that will enable loan servicers to begin modifying eligible mortgages under the Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan that President Obama unveiled two weeks ago. The rules will implement financial incentives for mortgage lenders to modify existing first mortgages and set standard industry practice for modifications.

Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner says the Making Home Affordable program “will help make home ownership more affordable for nine million American families and in doing so, help to stop the damaging impact that declining home prices have on all Americans.”

The Treasury Department has published a wealth of professional and consumer resources that explain the details of the new Making Home Affordable policies at

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


WASHINGTON (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) – Texas' four major metros are among the 25 U.S. cities that boasted the most Energy Star–certified buildings last year.

Houston had 145 such buildings, the most of any Texas city, ranking it third on the list, which was compiled by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Dallas–Fort Worth ranked fifth with 126 buildlings.

Austin, with 77 buildings, ranked 13th, and San Antonio, with 56, ranked 16th.

In 2008, more than 3,300 commercial buildings and manufacturing plants nationwide earned the Energy Star, representing savings of more than $1 billion in utility bills and more than seven million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions. These buildings include schools, hospitals, office buildings, courthouses, grocery stores, retail centers and auto assembly plants.

According to the EPA, the energy efficient buildings in Texas' four large metros resulted in a total savings of $130.7 million. The emissions savings were equivalent to the electricity used by 109,000 households.

The EPA's complete list is available online.

Home sales are up in Williamson County

WOW!! Things are really picking up in Williamson County! Over 100 homes sold last week - that is the most sold in 1 week so far this year!