In the world of Texas Real Estate nothing is ever random and there is no such thing as a vacuum. Take Austin for example. The city itself was, until recently, just another folksy American town complete with gun-racks in pick up trucks and townsfolk wearing Stetsons and cowboy boots. There is still that there but the town is changing fast and it is fuelling a Texas Hill Country property price boom as high-flying executives and hi-tech company chiefs look for the idyllic life outside the town limits.

Austin’s sudden growth spurt, the elevation of its status in the world of Real Estate (Austin Realtors are making much of the hills, rivers and lakes of the Texas Hill Country) is having a chain reaction effect in property prices in the surrounding area.

As I write this the US and the UK, two global players in the real estate market, are in the midst of a crisis of confidence brought about by over-exposure to the sub-prime mortgage market. While both countries are looking at ways to address this and restore lender and borrower confidence Texas Real Estate, Texas Lake Properties and Texas farms and ranches are backing the trend and performing against expectation.

The reasons for this are clear: The Lone Star State, as a whole, has experienced less of the boom and bust cycle of traditional real estate growth spurts. Instead, in Texas the growth of real estate has been steady and slow. Prices have dipped a little as nervous out of State investors have hesitated and are now waiting to see what is going to happen to the mortgage market, but in cities like Austin investment by hi-tech companies and the growth of the University are fuelling a demand for land, farms and ranches that is being met by a steady supply.

It is this smooth and, dare I say, so far, steady link in the supply-and-demand cycle that has kept Texas land prices growing at a steady rather than sharp rate that has made Texas real estate less of a chance and Texas Realtors sleep a little easier than their counterparts throughout the country and indeed (if the UK is anything to go by) throughout the world.

So the halo effect goes a little like this: growth in Austin fuels Austin commercial property demand which in turn fuels Austin residential property demand which then leads to a rise in demand for land in Texas as those who live in Austin cast around for recreational properties, recreational land, land with hunting and fishing rights and land that is either near a river (for fishing and river sports) or land that is near a lake (which means Texas Lake Properties are again in high demand).

The Texas Hill Country has so much of that and it proximity to major cities like Austin makes it perfect for a getaway that gets rid of the stress of city life without cutting you off so completely that you cannot get back there if you need to.

It looks like the trend will continue with other major cities experiencing a growth similar to Austin’s in which case Texas land will continue to increase in price as demand grows and the supply adjusts accordingly to meet it.

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Just yesterday I was asked by a friend why Texas Hill Country land is so popular and why Texas Hill Country ranches appreciate in value. It’s an occupational hazard working for Texas Real Estate Magazine to be asked to comment on the value of Texas properties and Texas land at every opportunity.

I was tempted to be flippant and answer that the Texas Hill Country is the only destination in the world for discerning Texas property buyers looking for a ranch or a farm to invest their money in but I’ve learnt the hard way that sometimes my flippant approach backfires when people take it at face value, so I answered instead that the “Texas Hill Country presents those looking for land with an opportunity that meets all of the three fundamental requirements of real estate purchases.”

What are those you will ask, (as did my interlocutor). Well they are simple: location, location, location. And as locations go the Texas Hill Country has a great deal to recommend it. Hills, flat land perfect for farms and ranches and rivers aplenty that offer almost everything from white water rafting to genteel fishing and river jaunts.

Whilst development can change almost any aspect of a property turning a three-outlying building Texas farm into a sleek all mod-cons included condo it can do little about the location of the property itself. Either you are lucky enough to have undulating hills, flowing rivers and as much quality flat land as you want, or you haven’t. Developers can’t move hills nearer or make a river flow by your Texas ranch if there is not one nearby.

This is precisely why the Texas Hill County is so popular. Add to that the fact that you are never more than a couple hours drive from a busy metropolitan area and you suddenly begin to see that having a Texas Hill Country property is about as close as you will ever get to “having your cake and eating it”.

You can have a base in the city and still be able to “get away from it all” without having to live on a desert island reachable only by air. San Antonio, Austin or even San Marcos and New Braunfels are within easy striking distance just as, reversing the direction of travel, you can be from the city into unadulterated Texas land heaven in just a couple of hours.

There are other things to recommend the Texas Hill Country and the dominant one simply has to be the uniqueness of its culture. The melange of cultures that went into the making of the unique Texas Hill Country music and approach to life is the direct blend of influences from as near as Mexico and as far away as the Czech Republic and the Swiss Alps. The result is that you feel as if you are entering a truly magical place where the familiar is also different.

To the many Texas Hill Country property buyers all these reasons are important and to them they also add their own, a distillation of direct experience that’s evolved from their own connection with the place via holidays, day trips and repeated breaks.

Texas Realtors know that the Texas Hill Country is still going though a boom. The demand for Texas Hill Country properties and Hill Country farms and ranches is huge and there is no evidence that it is slowing down.

So, I guess, my less than flippant answer is that the Texas Hill Country is blessed by geography to make it the ideal place to have a property as a home, second, home, recreational property or investment. It is this very flexibility which makes it perfect for just about anything and which keeps it high in the list of desirable locations of just about most people in the great land of Texas.

For any city dweller living in San Antonio or Austin or even San Marcos and New Braunfels the Texas Hill Country is full of the kind of mystique you find only in films or ‘escape to the Hill Country’ books.

Within a short time’s drive out of the city’s suburbs you are in Central Texas territory your eyes feasting on rolling, rugged hills the kind of which Hollywood cameramen love to let the camera pan upon.

There are very specific reasons however for the mystique. The Texas Hill Country has everything you may want of a terrain. The surrounding hills come with their share of caverns and caves which make it exciting as a day out spent exploring. The Colorado River runs through it as do both the Llano and the Pedemales and then there is the sense of peace that can only be experienced when you are there.

The Texas Hill Country has a unique sense of atmosphere and culture. Out of the exotic melange of Spanish, Czech, German, Swiss and Austrian rose a culture which is uniquely Central Texan and separate from Texas’ Southern and Southewestern influences. The food, the music, the lifestyle, they all combine to form an experience that accounts for much of the Texas Hill Country’s popularity with Texans as well as out-of- Staters.

For those who seek neither much adventure in the Central Texas rolling hills nor much of nature in the Central Texas rivers the Hill Country has another attraction: its thriving wine industry.

The Texas wine industry has become a talking point in quality restaurants across the USA and in the Hill Country you are within striking distance of many of the vineyards which produce the much talked about Texas wine labels.

In terms of Real Estate value the Texas Hill Country is unique. An exotic, unique culture, hills and rivers and wineries, all combine to raise Texas Hill Country property values in a way that other areas of the US can only dream about.

The sprawling landscape I studded with Texas Hill Country farms and the inevitable (since we are in Texas) Texas Hill Country ranches. City dwellers striking out for a day or even a few days’ break can find excellent information about the Texas Hill Country here.

Those looking to sample some famed Texas Hill Country wines should check out our Texas Wine Trail guide. Finally for some high quality real estate in the Texas Hill Country just check out our Hill Country listings or do a search on our website.

Let’s face it a house, a piece of land or a ranch, even a farm are a lot of work. You need to work hard to find the right one, you need to work hard to make sure it is exactly what you want and you need to work hard to make sure you are getting value for money.

Then, after you’ve signed the dotted line, you need to work hard to change everything, maintain it and make sure its value keeps on increasing. Given the long list of unremitting toil which I have just glossed over it become shard to imagine why anyone would call a piece or expensive, work-intensive property recreational.

That, of course, is the devil’s advocate game, because after spending a hectic week at work spending the weekend with the most brain-taxing thing to do is deciding where to cast your rod or look for game or drive your huge, inflatable tire four-wheel drive is what the notion of recreational properties are all about.

We are, if we are honest about it, designed to work and happiest when we have to do so, particularly if the work in question involved getting our hands dirty modifying our own property. In these electronic, caffeine-fuelled, stress-filled times we live in, when the globe is small enough for small wars, very far away to have a huge impact on our economy and lifestyle, there is something life-affirming and reassuring in owning your own piece of land and spending your days under open skies mending fences and digging ditches.

This allure explains the rise in the value of recreational properties in Texas and the description is wide enough to include ranches and farms as well as hunting and fishing land, or a combination of a Texas farm or ranch with enough land to have hunting or fishing rights included.

It means when you “get away from it all” you simply shed corporate meetings and Blackberry contacts for a day or two spent nearer Nature and the real world, where the level of a creek’s water flow and the fact that there may or may not be rain on a particular day suddenly become vitally important.

In the 21st century with our electronic, digital always-on society that is a real luxury and the sheer pleasure of it is truly priceless. Now, I’m off to my own Texas recreational property and a well-deserved long weekend.

Hitting the news this morning I see that the sub-prime mortgage fears have also hit on the other side of the Atlantic with the UK real estate market in a bit of a fizz over lending rates and repossessions (foreclosures for us, Americans).

It makes for somber reading for sure but in all this gloom there is a ray of sunshine. While the global real estate market is in a bit of a morass thanks to the sub-prime lending spree, it also shows how and why specific real estate markets like the Texas Real Estate scene, for instance, have managed to escape the worst of it.

Texas is big in recreational properties, hunting land, ranches and lake front properties, all of which, incidentally can be found in the pages of Texas Real Estate magazine, either online or in any of our two publications covering Central Texas, North Texas and East Texas.

Traditionally none of these properties attract potential high credit risk buyers which is why the boom (and now bust) we are witnessing in the national and global real estate scene has not significantly affected Texas real estate or, I should say, has not affected the Texas ranch, farm and Texas lake property market.

Texas, of course, does not exist in a vacuum and Texas real estate attracts a lot of out of State attention for investment and second homes. This amount of money coming into the State is, at the moment, if the figures are right, in stasis waiting to see what happens next.

The local money however which was into the purchase of a recreational property, some Texas land, an investment property, a farm or a Texas lake property, especially in East Texas and North Texas, that money, is still active and ripe for investment.

Real estate of course, even in Texas, is prone to what is called consumer confidence, so some slow down is being experienced in both property appreciation prices and demand, right now, but, overall, we have a strong, buoyant market which looks solid enough to weather the storm and help many savvy real estate investors emerge looking good.

Let’s face facts here. Buying a residential home in Texas or even buying ranch, a recreational property or a lakefront home is most probably going to be one the largest, if not the largest, purchase you are going to make.

Buying a home is the realisation of a dream. When it comes to dreaming of where we would like to live we all have our very own ideal vision. It is something governed by a combination of factors: the dreams we had as kinds, the shared expectations we have as adults, what society has conditioned us to expect in terms of a home and our vision of success and, not least, the money we can afford to spend and the money we can afford to borrow.

All these factors mark the purchase of our first and probably our second and maybe third home or property. A friend of mine who absolutely loves ranches bought his first one when he was just 25. It was a relatively modest ranch property just outside San Antonio, near the San Saba river and he absolutely loved the life even though lived in the city and could only get there at weekends. Over the next ten years he bought two more properties adjoining to his, slowly adding to his ranch and turning what was a modest ranch into a fantastic recreational property with plenty of hunting and fishing.

This is just an example because the way he made his purchases was through the careful use of information. He carefully researched the county expansion plans and the planning plus the type of hunting and fishing which could be enjoyed in that part of Texas.

Just as careful planning is needed when purchasing a Texas residential property. Before you even think about sinking any money in an offer for a property you will need to have a clear idea of what plans are being made for development of the residential property area you are planning to look into. You need to know what prices go for in a wide number of Texas realtors’ residential properties and you will need to be aware of trends in the area in terms of the number of residential properties being bought and sold and the number of new residential properties being built.

I know the question here is where would you get that kind of information. Without a doubt it requires a certain amount of legwork, particularly if you are not yet certain where you would like to buy a residential home and what type of residential property you can afford.

This is where the Texas residential property county database comes into its own. Click on the country you are researching and you can, at a glance and with a little clicking find out all you need to in order to make an informed decision.

The Texas residential property database is maintained and updated regularly and the information in it is more than just up to date. It should become the starting point in your research for information regarding the area where you need to find your residential property and start making your dream of a home of your own a reality.

When I was kid my earliest memory was out camping with my dad. In those days tents were a little more rudimentary, camper vans ill-equipped and the need for a lake nearby a necessity. As it were my dad new North Texas land and its numerous lakes inside out and I have never had the memory of a camping site without a lake lapping lazily nearby in the morning.

These days camping tends to be a lot more civilized but you still cannot beat a North Texas lake when it comes to creating a sense of serenity and the impression that all is right with the world, which is why perhaps North Texas lake properties are going through the roof in terms of demand.

Working for a real estate magazine I guess I have come to know the land of Texas as a whole a lot more intimately than I had as a child. Names which, however, would be little more than blue dots on a map, such as Lady Bird Lake, Lake Waco, Lake Whitney and Lake Texoma conjure up those easy, carefree days when, as a kid, all I had to do was get out of the tent in the morning and wash my face in the lake.

We live, I guess, in different times. The world has grown both more complex and more dangerous, both domestically and through threats from abroad. And yet, the sense that the world is right and much better than it is, is still conjured up by the might of North Texas lakes with tremendous ease.

If you are out looking for a great place to camp the Texas Outside website gives you a lot of help in organizing your trip as does the North Texas camping directory. Camping, of course, is something that has often led to the purchase of a lakeside property in Texas which is what is driving the Texas property boom.

At Texas Real Estate magazine we draw over 5,000 visitors each month looking for a Texas property to purchase. The majority of these visitors are from within Texas but we also get visitors from California, Florida and New York as well as some from as far afield as the UK, India and Australia.

My dad used to say that a ‘North Texas lake is the best place in the world to camp or build a home,” I guess he was more than right, what he could not have foreseen is just how much the rest of the world would agree with him.

Texas real estate is booming! Amidst the woes that seem to blacken our national finance news reports the Lone Star State is shining above the Union in the way its real estate has performed.

The fact that we have properties in high-profile, high-demand areas such as Lake Toledo Bend and Lake Hawkins and the speed at which these move suggests that a Texas lake property whether it’s in East Texas or North Texas or Central Texas, has suddenly moved centre-stage in the great American Dream stakes.

I can’t say I am surprised. Picture this: early morning with the dew drops just evaporating from the grass and when you step out the porch at the back your eye takes in the lake and its calm surface. If that is not a great way to start your day I don’t know what is and I can well see why so many Texas real estate clients are now actively looking for a Texas lake property.

Then there is the investment value of such a property. With life becoming more and more hectic in the city we all long for the tranquillity of the outdoors without having the hassle and hardship of setting up a tent in a field somewhere away from showers, freshly brewed coffee and a well-stocked fridge.

A lakeside property in a place such as Cedar Creek lake or Lake Texoma combines the best of all possible worlds. It takes us away from the stress of city life, gives us the tranquillity and sense of adventure that comes from being close to nature without, at the same time, doing away with all those neat, little necessities of life we struggle so hard to get, like showers and fridges.

At Texas Real Estate magazine we have some fantastic properties to tantalise you all year round. Our new drive into North East Texas real estate and our focus on bringing you prize lakeside properties from all the major lake locations in Texas means that each time you log onto our site and go to the area of your choice and whenever you use our global search facility to look for a lake property in Texas you will find more and more properties that meet your requirements and are within your budget.

So, bottom line, whether you are buying your dream house by a Texas lake or are looking for a rock-solid real estate investment that will pay you back what you spend a Texas lakeside property will more than do the job.