Austin Real Estate Report September 2016: Area Homes Sales Bounced Back Strong in August

A big spike in home sales in Austin’s southern neighbors, San Marcos and Buda, helped drive Central Texas home sales up in August. Sales across the Austin metro region grew by 5.3 percent, compared to last August, to 2,985 single-family home transactions, new statistics show.

The fast pace of sales comes as the Austin region continues to grow rapidly as thousands of new jobs, many of them at high-paying tech companies, fuel demand. Austin, now home to the largest Apple campus, continues to have one of the nation’s lowest unemployment rates, and it continues to draw new residents from other high tech areas, such as Silicon Valley and Boston.

That economic prosperity, however, translates to rapidly climbing home prices. The median price of a home in the greater Austin area rose to $289,990 — a 9.4 percent increase from August 2015.

Within Austin’s city limits, median prices increased 10.3 percent to $356,276, year-over-year. That’s the primary reason sales were fairly flat, rising only 0.8 percent compared to August 2015.

“As housing inventory remains constrained across the Central Texas region and demand remains high, home sales growth is increasingly impacted by new home development,” said Aaron Farmer, the 2016 president of the Austin Board of Realtors. “This is especially true in Williamson and Hays Counties, where housing demand and development activity are strongest. As new housing stock becomes available, it’s quickly scooped up by homebuyers.”

Hays Country, home to San Marcos and Buda, saw a whopping 23 percent increase in home sales. While the total number of sold homes — 377 — is relatively low compared to larger towns, it’s an indication many people are seeking more affordable homes. The median price in Hays County in August was $253,250.

To the north of Austin, in Williamson County, sales remained steady, gaining 0.7 percent year-over-year to 1,035 homes. The median price there is $261,250.

While the city of Austin is largely built out, developers continue to build new subdivisions on Austin’s fringes and in surrounding towns. That, along with lower prices, has helped fuel sales outside the city.

“The pace of housing development continues to increase in Central Texas, but new home prices are significantly higher,” Eldon Rude, principal for 360° Real Estate Analytics, said. “Due to rising land, development and entitlement costs, there are now only a few areas throughout the region where new homes can be built under $250,000. In most areas, entry-level homes are now often priced in the mid $200s and a majority of home starts are priced in the high $200s or more.”

Here are a few other key stats from the Austin Board of Realtor’s August housing report.

  • Median Price for Single-Family Homes in the Austin Metro Area — $289,990
  • Single-Family Homes Sold in the Austin Area — 2,985
  • Average Number of Days on the Market — 42
  • Total Dollar Volume of Homes Sold in the Area — $1.09 Billion
  • Months of Housing Inventory Available — 2.8
  • New Listings — 3,056
  • Active Listings — 6,710
  • Pending Sales — 2,518