Amid ongoing strong housing demand, home sales in Central Texas climbed to a new high for March, as did the median home-sale price, the Austin Board of Realtors said Wednesday.
Sales were up 1.9%, with 2,740 houses changing hands in the Austin metro area, a five-county region that spans from Georgetown to San Marcos. The sales were more than any March on record, the board said.
Half of the houses sold for $305,000 and half sold for less, for a 0.8 percent increase in the median price compared to March 2018, the board said. (The board preliminarily reported the March 2018 median as $305,233, but the figure was revised down to $302,500).
“Because Austin’s economy is thriving and the city continues to remain one of the most popular living destinations in the country, the housing market remains extremely tight,” Kevin Scanlan, president of the Austin Board of Realtors, said in a written statement.
Sales volume in the Austin region increased year-over-year by 1.2%, to roughly $1.1 billion. During the same period, new listings decreased 2.2%, to 3,890 listings and active listings climbed 8.4%, to 6,060 listings. Pending sales jumped 18.4%, with 3,378 sales in the pipeline to close, according to the board.
Within Austin’s city limits, home sales declined 4.6% to 781 sales in March, and the median price rose by 2.8%, to $375,000, the board said. At the same time, the city’s housing supply remained critically low, and homes continued to spend less time on the market, the board said. Inventory remained flat, at 1.5 months, which the board said is well below the 6-month supply that experts consider to be a balanced market.
With more buyers than sellers, the area remains a seller’s market, said David Brodsky, a real estate broker who owns David Brodsky Properties in Austin. Although prices are still increasing, they are doing so at a slower rate, he said. That observation was borne out in the new appraisal values for 2019 that just came out from the Travis Central Appraisal District.
After several years of double-digit home price appreciation in Travis County, Chief Appraiser Marya Crigler said a “slight softening” of the residential market slowed the pace of home price growth a bit. For 2019, the median taxable value for homes across the county increased 7.4%, rising to $275,112 from $256,155 last year, Crigler said. Last year, the increase was 10.1%.
In the city of Austin, the median taxable home value rose 8.8% for 2019, to $341,200 from $313,569 last year.
Megan Matza, a real estate agent with Moreland Properties in Austin, said the area “continues to see an influx of out-of-state residents moving here from California, New York and Illinois, among other states, for the favorable state and local tax environment here in Austin.”
“Rising appraised values could deter some of these moves, but buyers typically factor that in after they’ve made their decision to move,” Matza said. “For homes under $500,000, we are seeing more instances of multiple offers and homes being sold significantly above list price.”
Aaron Mullens, a real estate agent with the Groove Realty & Investments in Austin, said most of his buyers are searching for homes priced between $200,000 and $400,000, “and almost all of them have experienced a multiple-offer situation at some point during their respective searches. I advise my buyers from the beginning that this is highly competitive market and I encourage them to avoid getting emotionally attached to any house until they have the keys in their hand.”
He said one of his sellers recently got 16 offers for their home on the first weekend it was on the market, with all over the asking price.
Mullens said he has received phone calls over the past few months from Massachusetts, Iowa, California and New York from people inquiring about moving to the Austin area. The announcement in December about Apple’s plans for new $1 billion, 133-acre campus in Austin “seemed to reinvigorate investors looking to buy property in Northwest Austin in preparation for future tech employees that will be searching for a place to rent once the new campus is completed.”
Brodsky said that for people who question whether the Austin-area residential market is in a bubble, his answer is no.
“What we’re seeing now is real simple: we’re in a market that’s demonstrating pure supply and demand economics,” Brodsky said. “We continue to have companies relocating and people moving here from out of state, and as long as that trend continues I don’t see things slowing down any time soon.”
Tribune Content Agency