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Gruene: Out-of-town buyers fueling booming home sales

mySA logo mySA 7/6/2021 Lisa Harrison Rivas, Staff Writer
a stone building: Gruene River Homes has been building custom homes in Gruene since the company was founded 15 years ago. © Provided by mySA

Gruene River Homes has been building custom homes in Gruene since the company was founded 15 years ago.

Gruene, the historic district located within the city of New Braunfels, is home to what's billed as Texas' oldest continuously operating dance hall, Gruene Hall. Gruene's Historic District is known for its unique specialty shops, general store, coffee haus, bars, restaurants, and more.

Imagine staying at a Victorian-style mansion where you can sip coffee on a private patio with a marvelous view of the Guadalupe River. The Gruene Mansion Inn located in the middle of the historic district offers that experience. It's one of several bed and breakfast options in the area. Built by German immigrant Henry D. Gruene in 1872, the property has been designated a Texas Historic Landmark. Gruene itself is on the National Register of Historic Places.

a large room: Most the houses by Gruene River Homes  offer full access to the Guadalupe River.  Prices start at about $500,000. © Provided by mySA

Most the houses by Gruene River Homes  offer full access to the Guadalupe River.  Prices start at about $500,000.

If you're planning to buy property in this area, you should know that like most of the country, the New Braunfels area, which includes Gruene, is experiencing an unusual seller's market. A shortage of inventory has led to bidding wars where sellers receive multiple offers from buyers who often willing to pay well over the asking price to get the home they want.

Retired Air Force veteran, Joe Corwin, Broker and Owner of Weichert, REALTORS®, Corwin & Associates in downtown New Braunfels, said the entire local real estate market is in unchartered territory right now. People are looking to buy homes in Gruene with river access, but Corwin says there are very few available, and they are being sold for top dollar. 

He said he’s amazed by what he calls a migration of homebuyers moving here from other states — especially California. Currently, 80 % of Corwin's clients are from out of state. Texas’ lower real estate prices and taxes are why many are choosing to make the move, but those are not the only reasons Corwin said. "The big-ticket items that I hear are the politics, the homeless — and they are patriots, the majority that I'm talking to,” he said. “And they want to be in a state that really promotes that, and they feel good about that."

a large brick building with a clock on the side of a road:  Gruene, the historic district located within the city of New Braunfels, is home to what's billed as Texas' oldest continuously operating dance hall, Gruene Hall.  © Provided by mySA

 Gruene, the historic district located within the city of New Braunfels, is home to what's billed as Texas' oldest continuously operating dance hall, Gruene Hall. 

Corwin said a lot of people are cashing out on their properties in California, getting top dollar, and bringing their cash to Texas. He said traditional buyers are having a hard time competing in this market. For example, he's seen homes on larger acreage and river frontage sell for $100,000 to $150,000 over the asking price. Buyers are making cash offers for primary homes and investment property as well. 

a large lawn in front of a house:  Gruene Mansion Inn is located in the middle of the historic district. It's one of several bed and breakfast options in the area.  © Provided by mySA

 Gruene Mansion Inn is located in the middle of the historic district. It's one of several bed and breakfast options in the area. 

Don, Vikki, and Lyndsey Leggitt of Gruene River Homes have been building custom homes in Gruene since the company was founded 15 years ago. "If you go into the historic district and have seen any of the homes that are stone and stucco, more than likely you have seen Gruene River Homes," said developer Vikki Leggitt. Gruene River Homes neighborhoods include Gruene Leaf, Gruene Cliff, River Bluff at Gruene, Gruene River Place, and Vineyard at Gruene.

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Leggitt said the demand for new homes in this area and the shortage of available land is why they have focused on the Gruene market. Most of the houses they build offer full access to the Guadalupe River. The subdivisions are small, usually consisting of less than 40 homes. Prices start at about $500,000, and of course, properties connected to the river are more expensive.

Corwin teamed up with Gruene River Homes to sell lots in the developer's Gruene River Place community. The list price for one of the last lots and the to-be-built custom home at 945 Gruene Place Drive is $697,000.

Leggitt said Gruene River Homes' latest project is a new condo complex, that will overlook a park and the Guadalupe River. She said the first phase of Bourbon on the Gruene will have 15 units.

Gruene River Homes works with a few out-of-state clients, but Leggitt said most of their buyers come from Houston. "We do a lot of second homes, so we see a lot of people coming from the Houston market up to Gruene spending time here for the weekends," she said. 

Corwin, who lives in New Braunfels, said it's hard to find a town like Gruene these days. "Gruene is a neat place, the whole town of New Braunfels, it's a unique town, as we all know the heritage and how patriotic it is," he said. "I love the parades and the flags, and a lot of people love that." 

For more information about Weichert, REALTORS®, Corwin & Associates, visit wcorwin.com. Call 210-452-1500 to learn more about Gruene River Homes.

lisa.harrison.@express-news.net

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