February Real Estate Remains Strong; Realtors Adapt to COVID-19 Reality
Austin metro area residential home sales in February 2020 increased 6.8 percent over February 2019, according to a new report from the Austin Board of Realtors. New listings decreased 11.8% year over year, and inventory dropped to 1.5 months, shoring up the picture of Austin’s historically competitive housing market and high demand.
The Realtors’ group believes the local market will certainly slow, but remain active as the COVID-19 crisis impacts the way the real estate market functions going forward.
“Historically low interest rates are a driver in the market response we saw in February and will continue to act as a driver despite our shared concerns over the impact of COVID-19 in our community,” said Romeo Manzanilla, president of the Austin Board of Realtors.
Manzanilla said there are a number of tools and best practices that ensure Realtors can continue to serve Central Texas home buyers and sellers safely as we all make changes to accommodate the Center for Disease Control’s guidelines.
“Realtors will work to provide a new home buying and selling experience in these times. Expanded visual libraries, interactive floor plans and virtual tours are tools that matter more than ever in this climate. The housing market is absolutely still open for business, but the business of real estate is evolving like we all are through this experience,” said Manzanilla.
Furthermore, according to Mark Sprague, state director of information capital for Independence Title, Austin’s economy and housing market could be well positioned to minimize the potentially negative impact of COVID-19.
“Austin’s economy has diversified and strengthened over the past two decades. This leads me to be optimistic that our region is in a strong position to withstand economic downturns that may have a greater impact nationally,” Sprague said. “Effects will still be felt especially by those who depend on each paycheck to pay their bills and provide for their families, and that cannot be discounted.”
According to Sprague, despite the current uncertainty, buyers are still eager to close sales in Austin. “Overall, Austin’s economy and housing market look to be resilient during this uncertain time. Once COVID-19 subsides, there is a potential for even more investment by employers in the Austin market, and I would expect those looking for a more affordable cost of living compared to other major U.S. metropolitan areas will still look to move to and buy homes in Austin,” he concluded.
In the greater Austin area, February residential home sales dollar volume increased 21% to $1,027,245,686. During the same period, new listings decreased 11.8% to 2,925 listings, and active listings decreased 29.4% to 4,534 listings. However, pending sales jumped 10.9% to 3,137 pending sales. Monthly housing inventory declined 0.7 months year over year to 1.5 months of inventory. Across the five-county MSA there were 2,524 closed sales.
In the city of Austin, high demand across the city and limited inventory pushed the median price for residential homes to $395,000, a 14% increase from February 2019. Residential home sales increased 3.3% to 857 sales and total sales dollar volume increased by 18.1% year over year to $417,071,623 last month. During the same period, new listings decreased 5.6% to 1,032 listings; active listings dropped 34% to 1,072 listings; however, pending sales rose 4.5% to 999 pending sales. Monthly housing inventory decreased 0.6 months year over year to 1.0 month of inventory.
In Williamson County, February residential home sales increased 4.7% to 851 sales; sales dollar volume experienced a double-digit increase of 13.3% to $277,257,487. The median price for residential homes increased by 6.8% to $293,600. New listings declined 16.9% to 863 listings, while active listings decreased 33.7% to 1,398 listings. Pending sales increased 7.1% to 991 pending sales and housing inventory declined 0.9 months year over year to 1.4 months of inventory.
In February, Hays County residential home sales increased 3.9% to 270 sales and sales dollar volume jumped 37.6% to $110,763,712. The median price for residential homes increased by 9.6% to $285,000. During the same period, new listings decreased 4.4% to 351 listings and active listings dropped 17.6% to 700 listings. Pending sales spiked 23.7% to 397 pending sales.
Here are additional Austin metro area home sales figures from February 2019.
Median Price for Single-Family Homes in the Austin Area — $327,140.
Single-Family Homes Sold in the Austin Area — 2,524
Average Number of Days on the Market — 62
Total Dollar Volume of Homes Sold in the Area — $1.02 billion
Months of Housing Inventory Available — 1.5
New Listings — 2,925
Active Listings — 4,534
Pending Sales — 3,137