I came across this short article posted last week:
Overpriced or under-analyzed?
"Forbes recently came out with a list: Where U.S. homes are most overpriced …. But what does overpriced mean in this instance? I hate to say it, but you may have to actually read the entire article …. Better yet, find a source to help you sort out the information …. Markets change quickly and vary from one place to the next. Your Texas REALTOR® can help you understand pricing trends and effective strategies for selling, purchasing, or leasing in your area, whether your city is supposedly overpriced, underappreciated, or shrouded in hype in our sound-bite driven world.” More: http://texasrealestate.com/web/2/21/index.cfm
I couldn't have said it better myself. This year I have talked to a lot of folks who read an article about heavily discounted foreclosures in California ... or watched "House Hunters" and think they saw a real "bargain" transaction ... or who bought a home in another Texas city at some point in the past for much less than current home prices in Austin ... and for some reason they consider that information valuable.
Instead, as I have commented many times and in many places: the value of residential real estate is determined by the market in a specific location at a specific point in time and based on the condition of the specific property. With the Austin area (or even a narrower market area like "Northwest Austin") values can vary widely. The only way to get a current, professional market analysis is from a full-time real estate professional who does this every day.
If you're interested in a basic idea about a particular home or neighborhood, feel free to visit www.Recent-Home-Sales.com. That's a decent starting point, but please don't think that inquiry makes you an expert. Give me a call.