By Riki Markowitz

The Parade of Homes is an annual event presented by the Home Builders Association (HBA) of Greater Austin. It’s a much-anticipated annual affair featuring trends in design, interiors, construction and landscaping. The community chosen for this year’s showcase is Travisso, a master-planned community in Leander, one of the fastest growing cities in the country, and a recent favorite for luxury homebuilders. There are plans in the works for an on-site fire station within the community and with commercial real estate also booming, prospectors believe that Travisso will have a similar city-within-a-city environment, similar to Steiner Ranch.

This year marks the first time the Parade of Homes will be in Leander. And anyone who has been keeping an eye on the city won’t be surprised. Leander has grown from a sleepy farm town, split by Travis and Williamson counties, to a vibrant city with a relatively low cost of living and an award-winning school system. Leander has also been named a “safest city” in Texas. 

In 2012, Leander was home to some 30,000 residents – you can say it was a pretty big jump from 283 at the turn of the 20th century. City planners today estimate the population nears 60,000. The median annual household income was $83,550 last year and the median home listing price was $320k. However, over the past two decades, a swell of homes priced more than $1 million has been gaining traction in the city, which is expected to rival areas like Westlake, Bee Cave, Lakeway and Northwest Austin for luxury home living. 

In 2017, Leander recorded more than 1,600 single-family housing starts (compared to 418 five years prior). And the recession didn’t seem to have a big impact on the city. Property values have grown and continue to grow year after year.

Leander’s appeal also derives from quality of life and economic development projects. For the past six years, consecutively, City Council proposed a property tax deduction.  Luxury real estate professionals point out that Leander is very popular with investors and buyers both nationally and internationally. Finally, Leander ranked No. 1 for the “best place to raise a family in Texas.” 

To understand how Leander has really changed over the past generation, ask someone who grew up there in the 80s or 90s. Just a few decades ago, you had to leave town for work, to buy groceries, clothes and other necessities. For a fun night out, you had to drive 30 miles to Austin. Today, Leander is a destination.

Travisso, which translates to “the good life” in Italian, is a welcoming master-planned community located on a stunning Hill Country tract only 30 minutes northwest of Austin. The Texas Association of Builders awarded the Palazzo, with a resort-style pool, splash pad and fitness center, Best Community Clubhouse. The kids playscape, lighted tennis courts and community fire pit are popular gathering spaces for neighbors. Active residents have a 10-mile hiking trail to look forward to, those who prefer to people-watch will enjoy onsite parks and those who can’t make up their mind have a full-time lifestyle director whose job it is to create community activities. It’s the only master plan in the area with Italian-living inspired ambiance. 

With so much to offer, it seems only natural for the HBA of Greater Austin to host its prestigious Parade of Homes here. Featured home sites at this year’s Parade of Homes have multiple, unobstructed views of the Texas Hill Country and range from 4,250 to 6,900 square feet on more than one acre of land. Prices start at $1.4 million. The featured custom home builders in this year’s Parade include Aluxa Homes. Glazier Custom Homes, Hill Country Artisan Homes and Vogel Builders.

Aluxa Homes’ four-bedroom custom home has 22-foot great room ceilings with a fully retractable glass wall. There’s an outdoor spa and kitchen, a theater and game room and three levels of entertaining and multiple decks on different levels – all with pool views. 

Glazier’s twist on the Swedish Farmhouse has four bedrooms, a three-car garage and Scandinavian-style touches throughout the house. “It’s like walking into a traditional furniture store in Copenhagen,” says Jared Glazier. The house has floating benches and a game room with floating arcade space, leather barn doors, 20-foot invisible windows and a full glass wall with “$10 million views of rolling hills.” Glazier’s favorite feature? He’ll only say that you need to see it for yourself. 

Hill Country Artisan Homes’ rustic-modern architectural style house was designed to maximize Hill Country views from multiple rooms. One stylish feature is the seamless blending of the courtyard, surrounding outdoor spaces and interior. It’s like living in your own luxury resort. Special design features include a chef’s kitchen with adjoining prep kitchen, an owner’s suite coffee bar and an oversized craft/utility room. 

Vogel Builder’s five-bedroom, five-full bath home seems to stretch endlessly across the horizon. The master bedroom has a private loft and balcony. There’s a floating staircase, hidden media room and 37-feet of glass in the great room and dining room, designed to bring the outside in. 

Be sure to enjoy guided tours at the 2018 Parade of Homes on two pre-scheduled REALTOR Days – October 25 and November 1, from 2-7 p.m. Also, Williamson County Association of REALTORS will be hosting a happy hour luxury bus tour on October 25 that will end at Travisso and the Women’s Council of REALTORS will have a tent and refreshments, while Platinum Top 50 REALTORS members and guests are invited to a VIP tent social on November 1.

The 2018 Parade of Homes is open to the public Fridays through Sundays from October 19 through November 4. Tickets are on sale now at www.paradeofhomesaustin.com. You can get early-bird discount pricing through the end of September. Tickets to the tour make great gifts for your clients looking for inspiration for their own homes. Sign up on the mailing list for the latest news on workshops, guided tours, celebrity appearances and more!  RL