Austin American-Statesman writes, "Resilient.
That's the status of the Austin-area housing market as of August, when it saw its first year-over-year increase in home sales since early 2022, the Austin Board of Realtors says.
In its latest monthly report, the board said 2,939 houses changed hands last month in the five-county Austin region, which extends from Georgetown to San Marcos.
The sales represented a 1.4% increase over August 2022. It was the first increase in sales in the Austin region since February 2022, before repeated interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve to ease inflation began sharply slowing home sales throughout Central Texas.
Across the Austin-Round Rock metro area, half of the houses last month sold for more than $460,000 and half sold for less, for a 7.6% decline in the median sales price.
Compared with July, sales in August rose 8.8% month-over-month — a healthy indication of buyer confidence in the market, the board said in a news release.
Within Austin's city limits, the board said 858 sales closed last month, down 1.3% from the prior August. Half of those homes sold for more than $541,000 and half sold for less, for a 0.7% decrease in the median sales price.
“An increase in inventory combined with median home prices dropping — both changes we’ve seen across the market — show that the Austin-Round Rock market is active and resilient," Ashley Jackson, president of the Austin Board of Realtors, said in the release.
Median sales prices have continued to see year-over-year declines as mortgage interest rates have risen.
"Buyers cannot afford the same price points with these higher rates," Clare Losey, housing economist for the Austin Board of Realtors, said recently.
Buyers can now be choosy when deciding on a home
“Austin’s current housing market allows for potential homebuyers to be picky,” Jackson said. “With housing inventory increasing across Central Texas, buyers — especially first-time homebuyers — can take their time searching for a home that checks all their boxes. When compared to the past two years of highly competitive market activity, this is both a welcome reprieve and perfect opportunity for buyers looking to enter the market. Now is the time to take advantage of the increase in leverage that buyers now have.”
What about housing supply?
Housing inventory also continues to show gradual progress with a year-over-year increase of one month, to 3.8 months of supply, board officials said. However, that is still below the six to six-and-a-half months of supply that experts say is a market in balance between buyers and sellers, with neither in the driver's seat.
Across Central Texas, new listings edged up 0.3% to 4,084 listings, active listings jumped 12.2% to 9,955 listings and pending listings rose slightly, up 2% to 2,686 listings.
Despite an uptick in inventory, housing supply still is limited, Losey said.
“In August, amidst an elevated interest rate environment, the rise in sales — both year-over-year and month-over-month — indicates that buyers are purchasing homes because it is a good investment," Losey said. "However, there is still an inadequate supply of homes in the region, especially affordable housing options."
In July, the board released a study showing that Austin's development fees are higher when compared to those in some other cities and are limiting new home construction. In addition, "higher mortgage rates have led potential sellers to wait longer before entering the market, further constraining the supply of homes for sale," Losey said.
“It’s important to note that it takes time for current mortgage rates to trickle into the market," Losey said. "Moving forward, any predictions about our current housing market become particularly difficult in light of all the moving factors at play. With the Federal Reserve expected to increase interest rates in either November or December of this year, this could induce upward pressure on mortgage rates, which would mean less buying power for buyers this fall.”
Other highlights by county from the board's report:
● Sales: 1,355, down 1.6% from August 2022
● Median price: $534,500, down 4.8% from August 2022
● Pending sales: 1,205, down 4.1% from August 2022
● Sales: 971, up 1.7% from August 2022
● Median price: $435,516, down 8.7% from August 2022
● Pending sales: 906, up 5.7% from August 2022
● Sales: 417, up 5.3% from August 2022
● Median price: $394,990, down 10.1% from August 2022
● Pending sales: 384, up 8.2% from August 2022
● Sales: 154, up 29.4% from August 2022
● Median price: $339,990, down 15% from August 2022
● Pending sales: 146, up 19.7% from August 2022
●Sales: 42, down 17.7% from August 2022
● Median price: $299,990, down 6.9% from August 2022
● Pending sales: 45, up 4.7% from August 2022
Source: Austin American-Statesman
Written by: Shonda Novak
Published: September 15, 2023Posted by Grossman & Jones Group on