While the number of political yard signs might be outpacing “for sale” signs, the Austin area housing market continues to shine. While the pace of sales fell slightly across the nation at the end of summer, Austin sales continued to climb.
But high prices are pushing more of those Austin sales toward the suburbs, where homes are more affordable. In August, Buda and San Marcos saw the most gains in home sales, while Austin sales climbed only slightly as prices continued to climb by 10 percent. But, Austin remains affordable compared to many of its coastal peers in hot spots like New York City and San Francisco, as a new 3D map shows.
September even saw the listing of the most expensive home in U.S. history — a $175 million, 63-acre estate on a private island in Connecticut. That’s an extreme outlier, but housing prices are on the climb nationally. And some would-be buyers say they’re even considering commune-style living to make life more affordable.
You can find all that and more in our September real estate news round up. Let’s dig in.
U.S. Home Sales Declined in August
The pace of home sales declined by 0.9 percent in August, which represented the second consecutive month of slowing sales. Those slight declines follow months of increasing sales, which are still up about 3 percent this year. The slowdown appears to be tied to fewer sellers putting the property on the market, perhaps because they have difficulty finding the right home to move on to. Housing inventories fell 10 percent from a year ago to 2 million homes. Because housing statistics lag, August is the most recent month for which we have figures. Buyers are still taking advantage of low mortgage rates, but prices continue to climb. The median price of a home nationwide reached $240,200, a 5 percent increase compared to August 2015.
Here’s the Most Expensive U.S. Home Ever
Got $175 million to invest in a killer property? Maybe not, but it’s still worth a look. This 63-acre island estate along the Long Island Sound in Darien, Conn., features several houses, a protected boat dock and, of course, a beautiful view. The main mansion looks like something from Ireland, but it’s actually the former estate of William Ziegler, who founded Royal Baking Powder Company in the late 1800s. Ziegler died there in 1905. Now you can buy the property, which includes a 21-stall horse stable, for a cool $175 million.
Austin’s Real Estate Market is Really This Competitive
Knock, knock: Can we buy your house? That’s the tactic some real estate agents and prospective homebuyers are using. Instead of waiting for properties to hit the MLS, some buyers and agents are knocking on doors and sending letters to let people know there’s an interested buyer that’s ready to make a move. It’s not the first time this tactic has been used, but some believe the practice is increasing in some of Austin’s hottest neighborhoods.
A New Way to Look at Real Estate Prices Nationwide
In years past, you had to have some serious spreadsheet skills to see how housing prices compared across the nation. Now you can get a pretty good feel for it with a 3D map by Metrocosm. You can zoom in and rotate to see prices represented with towering graphics, kind of like skyscrapers across the nation. The most expensive places, no surprise, are on the east and west coasts in places like New York City and San Francisco. Travis County, however, is the most expensive in Texas.
Austin’s Home Prices Top the Texas Charts
A new report by Coldwell Banker shows that Austin is easily the most expensive city in Texas with four-bed, two-bathroom homes costing $414,563 on average. That makes it top 10, nationally, CultureMap Austin reported.
A Commune Comeback?
Housing prices are a headache for many want-to-be homeowners. And, increasingly, some folks are considering alternative living situations, including communes and yurts. It might not be an ideal place to start a family, with shared facilities and all, but the Fellowship for Intentional Community says their numbers in the U.S. increased by about 300% from 1990 to 2010. And many suspect that trend may be continuing, despite low mortgage rates and the improving economy.
Austin’s Suburbs Help Increasing Area Housing Sales
Homebuyers facing rising costs inside the City of Austin are looking to the south. Home sales increased rapidly in Buda and San Marcos in August, helping increase the total number of sales across the region. The Austin Board of Realtors reports that sales in the Austin metro area grew by 5.3 percent, compared to last August, to 2,985 single-family home transactions, new statistics show. Prices, meanwhile, also climbed. The media price in the Austin area rose to $289,990. That’s 9 percent more than August 2015. And prices inside Austin city limits reached $356,276, or 10 percent year-over-year.