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Central Texas housing numbers soaring despite the pandemic

The Austin Board of Realtors says the demand to live in Austin along with low housing supply continues to raise home prices to historic levels.

AUSTIN, Texas — New housing numbers released Thursday show the housing market in Central Texas is faring pretty greatly despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

In fact, according to the Austin Board of Realtors (ABoR), home sales are soaring. Three out of the five counties in our region saw double-digit increases in sales. 

The median price is now $355,000, when five years ago it was just $265,000. New listings slightly increased 1% to 3,862 listings, and pending sales soared 40.1% to 4,533. Active listings dropped 44.9% to 4,257 listings.

ABoR says the demand to live in Austin coupled with low housing supply continues to raise home prices to historic levels.

“The pandemic has put our market in a unique situation. As more people are working from home and have the opportunity to relocate, Austin-area homes are selling faster now than ever before,” Romeo Manzanilla, 2020 ABoR president, said. “Austin’s popularity has left the market with critically low levels of housing supply, which continues to drive home prices up. While home prices are rising, historically low interest rates are giving buyers increased power to meet the increases. Buyers should be aware of just how competitive this market has become, and would benefit enlisting the help of a Realtor who can help every step of the way during the homebuying process.”

According to Manzanilla, the housing market slowed drastically in the spring when COVID-19 cases took off in the Austin area. June, however, kicked off "a tidal wave" of home sales leading to record-breaking growth.

"So long as there's enough inventory, then we're going to see this consistent demand for housing and we're going to see the median home price continue to increase," Manzanilla said. "It's been a situation where buyers are now realizing that given the low interest rates, that they are in a much better position to go ahead and purchase a home."

Homes in the MSA spent an average of 42 days on the market, 10 fewer than in August of last year. Housing inventory also decreased 1.3 months to 1.4 months, well below the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University’s benchmark of 6.0 months to maintain a balanced housing market.

"It’s safe to say that August numbers solidify that Austin’s housing market has fully rebounded," said Mark Sprague, state director of information capital at Independence Title. "And, as long as we continue to see more job creation, we’ll likely see strong home sales throughout the remainder of the year. However, we started this year with a lack of inventory, and we’re going to end this year with a lack of inventory. Inadequate housing stock is going to be the main issue that holds the market back."

Manzanilla noted most of the new homeowners are from outside the Austin area as companies move into and around the Texas capital.

"There is more jobs being created and you have a lot of large corporations that either expand their footprint in the Austin area or bring their footprint to the Austin area, then you'll have that migration of people from others that come," Manzanilla said. "Within the Austin area, our tech sector is really helping to foster a lot of that activity. So a lot of people who were traditionally renters are now in the position that they can go and afford a home because of the low interest rates."

Here are more details on the five-county MSA straight from ABoR:

City of Austin

In the city of Austin, critically low levels of inventory drove the median home price up 14.9% year over year to $435,000 – an all-time high for any month on record. Residential sales barely increased 2.4% to 1,240 sales, as sales dollar volume jumped 19.9% to $682,748,453. During the same period, new listings increased 4.8% to 1,318 listings, active listings decreased 26.6% to 1,468 listings, and pending sales increased 20.6% to 1,314 pending sales. Monthly housing inventory decreased 0.5 months year over year to 1.5 months of inventory.

Travis County

At the county level, residential sales increased 9.2% to 2,015 sales, while sales dollar volume spiked 39.9% to $1,182,976,984. The median price for residential homes increased 19.2% year over year to $430,000. During the same period, new listings slightly increased 1% to 2,046 listings, while active listings declined 41% to 2,253 listings. At the same time, pending sales rose 34.6% to 2,229 pending sales. Monthly housing inventory decreased 1.1 months year over year to 1.4 months of inventory.

Williamson County

In Williamson County, August residential sales increased 13.5% to 1,343 sales, and sales dollar volume increased 23.1% to $467,254,216. The median price rose 5.7% to $307,500. During the same period, new listings decreased 6.3% to 1,154 listings, and active listings dropped 54% to 1,111 listings. Pending sales jumped 33.7% to 1,487 pending sales. Housing inventory declined 1.4 months year over year to 1.1 months of inventory.

Hays County

In Hays County, August home sales spiked 31.7% to 499 sales, and sales dollar volume increased 45% to $192,109,298. The median price for homes increased 16.9% to $308,500. During the same period, new listings increased 12.6% to 475 listings, and active listings tumbled 46.4% to 556 listings. At the same time, pending sales skyrocketed 69.7% to 577 pending sales. Housing inventory decreased 1.7 months to 1.5 months of inventory.

Bastrop County

In August, Bastrop County home sales increased 4.1% to 126 sales, and sales dollar volume increased 23.8% to $38,193,673. The median price for residential homes increased 16% to $278,500. During the same period, new listings jumped 29.7% to 144 listings, while active listings declined 24.4% to 260 listings. Pending sales spiked 98% to 200 pending sales. Housing inventory decreased by 1.0 months to 2.7 months of inventory.

Caldwell County

In Caldwell County, August home sales increased 16.1% to 36 sales, and sales dollar volume increased by 7.4% to $8,392,577. The median home price dropped 1.7% year over year to $212,900. During the same period, new listings increased 19.4% to 43 listings, while active listings decreased 27.4% to 77 listings. Pending sales rose 53.9% to 40 pending sales. Housing inventory decreased 1.5 months to 2.9 months of inventory. 

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