It’s been a positive start to 2017 when you look at many of the economic trends both here in Austin and across the nation. The housing market has continued to grow both in terms of the pace of sales and the median price of a home as the nation’s economy continues to show steady growth.
In fact, the pace of single-family home sales has reached its highest point since 2007, even as mortgage rates have begun to increase slightly.
And while there was a slight slowdown in new home buying, we’re seeing major developments come online in hot housing markets. A development west of Austin, for example, is shaping up to be one of the biggest projects the area has seen in years. It includes more than 3,000 homes and apartments.
Now, let’s take a look at some of the biggest real estate stories of February.
American Home Sales Continue Climb
Even with increasing mortgage rates, Americans are buying and selling homes at a faster pace than anytime since 2007. The National Association of Realtors reported existing single-family home sales increased 3.3 percent from December to January. A steady climb in consumer confidence and improved unemployment rates in recent years have helped bring the housing market back to relatively high levels.
2017’s Hot Start to Home Sales in Austin
While many anticipate Austin’s red hot real estate market would cool slightly to a normal rate of growth. But, so far in 2017, the pace or single family home sales and the median price they’re selling for showed a year-over-year improvement once again. Sales increased 7 percent in the Austin metro area and median prices climbed by nearly 10 percent. That’s keeping the pressure on city leaders and developers to find ways to provide more affordable options for first-time buyers, many of whom can’t afford homes inside Austin city limits. Read more here.
A Huge Hill Country Development
A massive new housing and commercial development is being planned for western Travis County. The 2,000-plus acre project, now in the planning phases, would provide more than 3,000 new homes and apartments about 30 miles west of downtown Austin off of Highway 71 east of Spicewood. The project would be built in three phases over the course of 20 years, the Austin Business Journal reported.
Big Time Bragging Rights for Austin
Austin is fortunate to end up near the top of many prestigious lists. But one of its biggest wins to date came in February when U.S. News and World Report ranked Austin as the best place to live in the United States. The publication’s analysis looked at the cost of living, median household income, unemployment rates and other factors. Austin ranked second in 2016’s list. This year, it swapped places with Denver. San Jose and Washington D.C. were the other top cities.
Dip in New Home Buying Nationwide
Persistent powerful rains in California are likely having an impact on the pace of newly-built home sales nationwide as the pace of sales failed to meet expectations in January. New figures from the Commerce Department in February showed new home sales increased 3.7 percent to about 555,000 units. Economists had projected a faster rate of about 6.3 percent year-over-year increase.
Austin’s 10 Most Expensive Homes
From a $25 million mansion to a gorgeous $6 million ranch, Austin’s 10 most expensive homes on the market right now provide a stunning look at some of the area’s prime real estate. Curbed.com shows all of the area’s most expensive properties are west of the MoPac Expressway and only one is east of the Colorado River.