The pace of home sales in the U.S. is on the climb, but a limited supply of lower-priced homes is putting strain on the market in the West and Midwest.
That was one of the strongest themes to emerge in real estate news in March. On one hand, the pace of existing home sales climbed by 3 percent, year-over-year. On the other hand, sales of new homes slowed for the third month in a row in February.
Meanwhile, our news roundup shares stories about the first major building implosion in Austin in a decade, a sales listing for Lance Armstrong’s mansion and a list of the fastest growing cities in the U.S.
Learn about that and more in our March real estate news roundup.
Austin Sales Slow as Its Suburbs Boom
New data from the Austin Board of Realtors show the median price of a single-family home in Austin climbed by 12.2 percent year-over-year in February. And, as the city’s available home inventory declined, so did the pace of sales. Austin home sales decreased 6.7 percent in February, compared to the same month a year prior. With Austin’s median home price reaching $367,701, the metro area’s biggest winners have been its neighboring communities which have more affordable homes available.
The Fastest Growing Cities in America
Texas fared well in Forbes’ annual list of America’s fastest-growing cities. Although Boise City and Seattle topped the list, Dallas came in No. 3, Fort Worth No. 5 and Austin ranked 8th. Meanwhile, San Antonio ranked 21st and McAllen was 22nd. Only Florida had more cities in the top 25, with eight cities among the fastest-growing. Both Texas and Florida have warm climates and no state income taxes, making them attractive relocation states for a variety of retirees, remote workers and entrepreneurs.
The Biggest Demolition Austin Has Seen in Years
Austin used to be a relatively small city with a modest skyline. Now, new towers are being announced almost every month. But, despite its fast growth, Austin developers haven’t had to implode any big buildings to make way for new projects — until March. On Sunday, March 25, demolition crews imploded the 10-story Ashbel Smith Hall. The Austin Business Journal, which posted video of the implosion, reported it was the first such controlled demolition of since the shell of an unfinished Intel building was imploded in 2007.
New U.S. Home Sales Slow for Third Consecutive Month
Rising prices and a shortage of affordable new homes has led to a third consecutive month of slowing new home sales in the U.S. The pace of sales slowed by 0.6 percent in February. Economists had projected new home sales would climb 4.4 percent. The slowdown was largely driven by slow sales in the West and Midwest. The median price for a new home in the U.S. climbed 9.7 percent, year over year, to $326,800, CNBC reported.
3-D Printed Home Debuts in Austin
One of the most exciting innovations presented at South By Southwest in Austin this year was a home built almost entirely by a 3-D printer. Using the material printing technology, a company called ICON built a 350-square-foot home that cost less than $10,000 to build, the Austin Business Journal reported. It also takes less than 24 hours for the home’s concrete walls to print. The company plans to start building more small homes in El Salvador, where many people are in need of housing.
House Flipping Reaches a 10 Year High
House flipping has hit a 10 year high. Perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising given all the TV shows showing how much money smart developers can make by buying homes, fixing them up and re-selling them. But a report by CNBC shows that while flipping is popular, the returns are shrinking. There were more than 207,000 homes flipped last year. Meanwhile, the average return on investment last year was 49.8 percent. That’s down from 51.9 percent in 2016.
Lance Armstrong’s Austin Mansion is For Sale
Cycling phenomenon Lance Armstrong has put his Austin mansion on the market once again — this time a slightly lower price of $7.5 million. The beautiful 8,158-square-foot home is in the Old Enfield neighborhood. It has six bedrooms and seven and a half bathrooms, according to the Austin Business Journal. It also has a swimming pool and poolhouse.