All this record breaking is starting to sound like a broken record. The Austin area again hit an all-time high for home sales in July. And, for the second month in the city’s real estate history, more than $1 billion worth of residential property sales were recorded.
The Austin Board of Realtors latest sales report speaks to the rapid influx of new residents who are attracted by high-quality jobs and strong economic conditions. For example, the median price of a home in the Austin area rose by 8 percent when compared to July of last year.
More than half of the area’s homes sold for $269,500 or more. While that’s creating a major return on investment for many homeowners who decide to sell, the rising prices continue to fuel a highly-active civic debate about affordability.
Barb Cooper, 2015 President of the Austin Board of Realtors, said that she is seeing some signs of progress in the market, despite rising prices.
“Home prices remain high, but inventory levels have increased steadily throughout 2015, perhaps taking a step toward a more balanced housing market,” she said.
The Austin area’s housing inventory is still well below what the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University calculates is a balanced market. But it’s inching closer.
New listings shot up nine percent and active listings climbed by five percent, compared to last July. That meant the area saw 4,133 new listings and 7,174 active ones. That provides about three months of inventory, the highest volume since this time last year.
“Mayor Adler recently called for 100,000 new housing units to be built by 2025 as a first step to untangling the city of Austin’s complicated permit review process and alleviating affordability issues in Austin,” Cooper said. “The Austin Board of Realtors sees this initiative as progress toward a more sustainable Central Texas housing market and will continue to work with city leaders to make Austin an affordable place to call home for all residents.”
But, in the meantime, rents continue to rise throughout the Austin area as the pace of construction lags behind the surge of demand.
A new study discussed in a recent Austin Business Journal article shows that Central Austin renters are paying about $60 a month more in rent because of delays at city hall. Current building codes require development plan comments return to developers within 120 days. The city is taking up to 3.5 months longer than that, according to the study.
While that’s a pain for renters, it may provide some insight for property investors who are considering buying a second or third home to rent out to provide supplemental income.
And it’s not just Central Austin. In July, less than a third of single-family homes in the entire Austin area sold for below $200,000, and a majority of the pending sales and active listings were outside Austin city limits in Round Rock, Cedar Park, Leander and elsewhere where prices are lower but quality of life remains high.
Here are the raw figures from July’s housing sales report:
- 3,149 – Single-family homes sold, 12 percent more than July 2014.
- $269,500 – Median price for single-family homes, eight percent more than July 2014.
- $338,452 – Average price for single-family homes, six percent more than July 2014.
- 41 – Average number of days single-family homes spent on the market, two days more than July 2014.
- 4,133 – New single-family home listings on the market, nine percent more than July 2014.
- 7,174 – Active single-family home listings on the market, five percent more than July 2014.
- 2,873 – Pending sales for single-family homes, eight percent more than July 2014.
- 3.0 – Months of inventory* of single-family homes, unchanged compared to July 2014.
- $1,065,785,348 – Total dollar volume of single-family properties sold, 19 percent more than July 2014.