Aerial view of the Indian Ridge neighborhood of Round Rock. ARNOLD WELLS / ABJ

Austin Business Journal reports, "the Austin metro’s housing inventory is the highest it’s been in more than eight years.

Inventory in the region hit the four-month mark in September, according to the Austin Board of Realtor’s monthly market data. Inventory represents how long it would take to sell all of the homes on the market if new listings stopped, and housing experts say six months of inventory typically represents a healthy balance between supply and demand.

While that may sound promising for a region that's experienced a dearth of new homes, it takes some pain to have the gain. The number of closed sales is notably down. ABOR housing economist Clare Losey said this could be caused by a number of factors, including high interest rates and lack of affordable housing.

“While our current market shows signs of health with more housing supply becoming available, they are not necessarily attractive options for first-time homebuyers or those shopping for more affordable homes,” Losey said in a statement. “The current inventory level across the MSA demonstrates that while we’ve seen a steady increase in supply over the past year, many of these homes are not attainable for the average Austin resident.”

There were 2,387 sales closed in the metro in September, an 18% drop year-over-year. Additionally, median home sales prices have marginally dropped 4% year-over-year to $452,080. Both the rise in inventory and the dip in median home sales prices are symptomatic of higher mortgage rates, according to ABOR’s report.

The U.S. average for a 30-year fixed mortgage rate is 7.6% as of Oct. 12, according to Freddie Mac. Those elevated interest rates are having a serious impact on buying power.

The median family income in the metro is $122,300 for a family of four, according to federal statistics, and in ABOR’s July market report Losey stated buyers with this level of income can typically afford a home priced between $300,000 and $400,000.

For now, rising housing costs are pushing many people farther from the city center. The median sale price of a home in the city of Austin was $536,000 last month. It was lower in the periphery counties of Williamson, Hays, Bastrop and Caldwell, ranging from about $289,330 to $426,752.

The disparity between median family income and housing prices reflects both a housing crisis and wage stagnation, Ashley Jackson, 2023 ABOR president, previously said. The average price of a home skyrocketed a staggering 65% from 2018 to 2022, according to the Texas Real Estate Research Center.

Austin Habitat for Humanity, a nonprofit dedicated to providing people with affordable places to live, said in an Oct. 3 analysis that the typical Austinite's income isn’t keeping pace with rising housing prices, and households you wouldn’t expect before now qualify for an Austin Habitat home. The analysis found that the federally-generated MFI limits jumped 37% since 2018, which was the highest jump ever recorded in the Austin area.

“I started working at Austin Habitat in 2007,” stated Wayne Gerami, Austin Habitat chief operating officer. “I never thought I’d see the day when a three-person household could earn more than $80,000 a year and a four-person household could earn more than $90,000 a year and still qualify for one of our homes.”

Habitat's shift to building more dense communities means it has more homes in the pipeline than ever before, it said. "


Source: Austin Business Journal

Written by: Cody Baird

Published: October 18, 2023

Posted by Grossman & Jones Group on


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