7 Signs of an Up and Coming Neighborhood

If you’ve lived in the same community for long enough, you’ll know that with great urban growth and revitalization comes great responsibility. Responsibility, that is, to spot an up and coming neighborhood before it becomes so bogged down with high property values that you can’t afford to live there anymore.

Whether it’s a previously downtrodden district or a new suburban development, neighborhoods have a way of fast attracting new residents, new businesses and new life. In the blink of an eye, the residents who were there first have a huge advantage over any new prospective property owners.

Here’s what you need to know to get a leg up on the competition, and get in on the ground floor of an up and coming neighborhood:

1.     Location, location, location

If you live in a bustling, growing metropolis, or an urban community with strict government constraints on building, the supply of new homes can often fall short of demand. In many of those instances, downtrodden neighborhoods conveniently located near public transportation, freeways and bridges and employment centers are prime candidates for a neighborhood revitalization.

2.     “Hip” Businesses are Moving In

Whenever a new and on-trend business moves into your neighborhood, like a Starbucks or Jamba Juice, it’s usually a good indication that your area of town is on an upswing. This applies to both established “hip” franchises and local small businesses alike. To protect their investment, most large companies even do in-depth economic research and projections before moving into a neighborhood.

3.     A Nice “Fixer Upper”

Picture this: you’re cruising the streets of a typically rundown neighborhood, when you suddenly notice that a lot of the homes and businesses are currently under renovation. This can often be a sign of a neighborhood revitalization. To confirm your suspicions, visit your local City Building Permit counter to see if the staff have noticed a similar turnaround in that area.

4.     Exciting Economic Investments on the Go

Whether it’s a large-scale private sector investment (like an assembly plant or data hub) or a major infrastructure project (roads, bridges, etc.), all it takes is one significant economic development to transform the state of a neighborhood. If an area is too dependent on an industry or employer, the fortunes can take a turn for the worse. Keep an eye out for growth in a forward-thinking industry.

5.     Architectural Themes with a Fan Base

For an older community experiencing hard times, a selling point is often the type of architecture that characterizes the area, such as Victorians, Spanish-style and Tudors homes. Both architecture enthusiasts and penny-pinching homebuyers will appreciate the historic style and unique charm of the neighborhood.

6.     Steadily Experiencing Less Days on the Market (DOM)

Keep a watchful eye on the housing market. Ten years ago, unattractive listings that would have spent an average of 90 days on the market are now selling in a matter of weeks. How? Through a steady and careful decline in DOM, spurred on by economic growth and word of mouth. If you’re lucky enough to spot a slow and steady decrease in DOM, ask your agent to find out more about that area.

7.     The Issues Will Expire Shortly

If you’re tuned in to the local news, watch out for ongoing local issues that are being improved upon or will soon come to an end. For example, if localized crime has been slashed drastically or a formerly unused plant is being repurposed, it’s usually a sign that that neighborhood will experience a resurgence in the aftermath of the issue being resolved.

Are you on the lookout for the next big neighborhood? Havenwood at Hunters Crossing offers Home-Lot Packages available through two seasoned and exceptional builders, Scott Felder Homes and Perry Homes. As a beautiful and welcome retreat from the hustle and bustle of the big city, this master-planned community is on the cusp of something big just outside the thriving city of New Braunfels.

If you’re interested in learning more about our Home-Lot Packages, give the experts at Havenwood a call at 800-639-7028.

Life On The Texas Hill Country Wine Trail at Havenwood

With Havenwood’s ideal location along the Texas Hill Country Wine Trail in New Braunfels, idyllic vineyards and wineries are right in the neighborhood’s backyard, with more only a short drive away. Wine lovers experience all the benefits of vineyard living, including the beauty for which the Hill Country is known and the relaxed, welcoming lifestyle it promotes.

Texas is the fifth largest wine producing state in the country and is most known for its own wine grape, the Blanc Du Bois. The Texas Hill Country Wine Trail draws countless visitors every year and features 32 wineries, vineyards and cellars that host weekend events including live music, art shows and classes on the art of wine tasting.

Plan a weekend or day trip to experience each winery’s own take on a taste of Texas. For tastings right around the community visit Dry Comal Creek Vineyards, Sister Creek Vineyards and Bending Branch Winery or plan your own wine trail day trip with the trail’s official list of suggested routes.

For more information on vineyard living and other local New Braunfels activities, visit Havenwood at Hunter’s Crossing.

Fourth of July Fireworks and Events in New Braunfels

For Independence Day activities and fireworks, the city of New Braunfels provides fun for the whole family. Property owners at Havenwood can enjoy Fourth of July events that include a parade, live musical performances and fireworks show.

The annual Downtown Patriotic Parade begins Wednesday, July 4, at 9:15 a.m. at Bridge and Castell St. The parade continues around the downtown plaza to Seguin and Mill St. Early arrival is recommended. Following the parade, enjoy the Patriotic Program at the bandstand and a concert from Jeff Keith & Band at 7 p.m. at the Landa Park Dance Slab.

Finally, the greatly anticipated New Braunfels fireworks show starts at approximately 9:15 p.m. Tune to 92.1 FM for patriotic music to accompany the fireworks display.

Building Green in New Braunfels: Energy-Efficient Home Design Tips

After an unseasonably warm winter in New Braunfels, Texas, homeowners are voicing worries of scorching summer heat and rising home energy costs to match. Building a custom home provides property owners with a unique opportunity to take control of their monthly energy bills by tailoring their home with the most energy-efficient, and therefore cost-efficient, structural design and features.


Consider the sun when choosing your home’s orientation. Large glass windows will collect and let in the sun’s heat in larger amounts depending on which side of the house they are placed. When it comes to windows, think quality over quantity. Fewer and smaller windows with low emissivity coating (low-E), argon gas filling or double window glaze provide the most energy insulation. Take advantage of sunlight with carefully placed windows to reduce the need for electric lighting during the day.


Thicker-than-average exterior walls will help provide stronger, consistent insulation. In addition, limiting the number of walls with outside exposure offers more protection from drafty air leaks.


Since kitchen appliances produce the most internal heat, designing the kitchen in the coldest spot of the house (usually the northeast corner) balances the warmer rooms in the southern part of your home. Roof overhangs, awnings or a covered porch on the south and west sides of a home provide window coverage from the sun at its hottest points directly overhead and when setting.

If you are interested in taking your green initiatives a step further, installing technologies that harness solar, wind and geothermal green energy are often more affordable to include while a home is being built, rather than adding on to an existing home in the future.

Explore the Havenwood at Hunters Crossing residential community in New Braunfels, Texas, to discover land buying opportunities and build your own energy-efficient home.

Investing in Land: Summer Value of a Second Home in New Braunfels

Many people choose to buy land as an investment for retirement years down the road, but building early can bring significant advantages in the meantime.

More so than any other time of year, summer instills in many the need to get away. Building a second home provides just the escape for a weekend away to take advantage of New Braunfels’ local, seasonal activities and the Havenwood at Hunter’s Crossing residential community amenities.

Available amenities at SouthStar’s Havenwood include a swimming complex, private park with walking trails and basketball, tennis and volleyball courts. The community’s Family Reunion Pavilion is aptly named for its space for friends and family gatherings. Local attractions also provide perfect summer activities for all ages, like New Braunfels’ Schlitterbahn and the nearby city of Gruene. Havenwood is located right off the Texas Wine Trail, with great Texas wines just a short drive away.

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), second-home sales account for around 4 out of 10 residential transactions. Nearly half of those buyers intend to use their newly acquired land to build a home for vacation purposes.

Benefits to owning a vacation home include the freedom to visit at a moment’s notice at an unlimited frequency, all while experiencing a personalized level of comfort stemming from the ability to leave belongings that minimize future packing. These years also provide an opportunity to settle into and tailor your new home to best prepare for the approaching retirement years.

Home Construction Rates Rise 2.6 Percent

The latest home building rate report brings good news for prospective land buyers and home builders. Construction on single-family homes is near a three-year high, rising 2.6 percent in April. Permits for single-family homes also rose almost 2 percent, indicating a secure rate of building and sales to continue.

Currently, the number of construction permits approved in New Braunfels is triple the Texas state average. Plus, the average building costs in New Braunfels are $40,000 less than the state average. Located in New Braunfels and just a short drive away from both San Antonio and Austin, SouthStar’s Havenwood at Hunters Crossing residential community offers all the benefits of home construction in New Braunfels with the big city right in your backyard.

The rate of construction growth is a strong sign towards the home market’s long-awaited recovery since the housing bubble burst five years ago. In all, single-family home construction in the United States has increased 39 percent from its record recession low. By capitalizing on this momentum, prospective land and home owners can have confidence in the real estate value of their purchase and take advantage of the currently record-low mortgage rates.

This month, builder optimism has also risen to the highest level in five years, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index. Homebuilders reported improving sales and higher traffic from prospective buyers as key influences on the sentiment evaluation, the survey showed.

“Homebuilders are reporting stronger demand,” Ian Shepherdson, an economist at High Frequency Economics, confirmed in a note to clients, crediting the improving labor market as one contributing factor to the growth in home building.

Need another incentive to build? According to the National Association of Home Builders, each home built also creates an average of three jobs for a year and generates about $90,000 towards the economy.

For more information on land buying opportunities and available locations, visit http://havenwoodtexas.com/specials/ and talk to a representative today!

SouthStar Acquires Bluegreen Communities

Larry Rutherford, SouthStar Communities President & CEO

On behalf of SouthStar Communities, I am proud to announce the acquisition of Bluegreen Communities on May 4, 2012. As a result, SouthStar has taken over management and development of Havenwood at Hunters Crossing, as well as the following communities: Vintage Oaks near New Braunfels, Texas; King Oaks near College Station, Texas, and home of Texas A&M University; Lake Ridge and Sugar Tree near Dallas/Fort Worth; Sanctuary Cove at St. Andrews Sound, Georgia; and Chapel Ridge near Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

SouthStar has been building quality residential communities since 1999, identifying market trends in the southern states to create long-lasting enhancements and value. We’ve created successful communities for thousands of happy property owners throughout Texas, North Carolina, Georgia and Florida. We look forward to continuing these successes in our newest communities.

We are excited about the future of each community and look forward to working with the current and prospective property owners.



Larry Rutherford

President and CEO

SouthStar Development Partners

For more information about SouthStar Communities, visit our website for a short introductory video featuring Larry Rutherford. 


Go Greune This St. Patrick’s Day

This Saturday, enjoy a Texas hill-country-style St. Patrick’s Day. Make it out to Gruene Hall, Texas’ oldest dance hall, for some drinks, dancing and live music. The Damn Quails will be performing from 1 – 5 p.m. and Roger Creager takes the stage at 9 p.m.


Plan A Texas Hill Country Spring Break Vacation

There’s no need to book a plane ticket this Spring Break! Consider staying close to home and checking out one of the many family-friendly Spring Break destinations right here in the Texas Hill Country. Whether it’s exploring historic Gruene, Texas, discovering the wonders of the hill country or floating down the Guadalupe River, there are some local vacation spots that simply can’t be beat.

Gruene, Texas

Take a break from fast-paced city life and visit historic Gruene, Texas. This classic hill country town has so much to offer, you’ll never want to leave. Bring the family to stay in one of the 30 uniquely decorated rooms of the Gruene Mansion Inn. After a relaxing evening, wake up refreshed and ready to enjoy the many shops and restaurants located in Gruene. Don’t forget to make your way to Texas’ oldest continually operating and most famous dance hall, Gruene Hall. To find out more and plan your trip, visit GrueneTexas.com.

San Marcos, Texas

Make plans to spend a fun-filled day in San Marcos. San Marcos has some of the best shopping in Texas, with two outlet malls and historic downtown shopping, you’ll find everything you’re looking for and more. Once you’ve indulged in retail therapy, check out the Texas State University Aquarena Center and take a glass-bottomed boat tour to learn about the aquatic life in Texas. There is even more family fun awaiting you at Wonder World Park. There you can take a tour of the nation’s only example of an earthquake-formed cave, take in the scenic views of Texas from on high in the Tejas Observation Tower or experience the wonders of the Anti-Gravity House. Learn more about what San Marcos has to offer at SanMarcos.gov.

Guadalupe River

If you just can’t get enough of the beautiful Texas outdoors, spend this Spring Break on the Guadalupe River. Take the family camping at one of several campgrounds located along the river and enjoy river activities such as tubing, rafting and fishing. New Braunfels and the Guadalupe River bring together the best of both worlds. There is the solitude and peaceful retreat of camping and fishing, but you’re still a short distance from great dining and shopping. For more information and to plan your river trip, visit www.guadaluperiver.com.

Do you have a favorite Spring Break destination? Share your suggestions on the Havenwood Facebook page!

Planning a Texas Hill Country Wedding

Want to get married in one of the most beautiful places in Texas? Consider tying the knot in New Braunfels, Texas! Celebrate your big day with the rolling hills and spacious views as your backdrop. Plan a day you’ll never forget at one of these romantic venues:

Dry Comal Creek VineyardThis vineyard offers a number of convenient amenities that will help your big day run smoothly. Take advantage of an outdoor pavilion for a larger wedding or the back tasting room for an intimate gathering of less than 50 guests. You can also choose from a buffet or sit-down dinner for you and your guests to enjoy.  Be sure to plan time to take photos among the endless rows of greenery that you’ll treasure forever. Visit www.drycomalcreek.com to start planning your vineyard wedding today.

The Gardens of Cranesbury View – This Italian sculpture garden is perfect for a wedding of any size. Tie the knot with the beautiful Texas Hill Country as your backdrop and then enjoy your reception in the banquet hall. A Chapel is also available for an indoor ceremony followed by a garden reception where you can dance the night away under the Texas sky. This venue also provides an on-site florist and endless photo opportunities on 32 acres of secluded property. Click here to begin planning your wedding at the Gardens of Cranesbury View.

Castle AvalonFeel like a princess on your big day and get married at Castle Avalon. This romantic venue is nestled among the rolling hills and greenery of the Texas Hill Country. This castle is filled with stained glass and rustic, old-English décor that will make for beautiful photos and set a romantic mood for you and your guests to enjoy. Visit www.castleavalon.com to start your fairytale wedding.

Speak with a representative now!

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