Record-breaking sales in the Central Texas market underscore the need for greater housing affordability
AUSTIN, TX– Rising property values and increased demand led to an all-time high in sales dollar volume in 2018 as shrinking affordability spread across Central Texas, according to year-end data in the latest Austin Board of REALTORS® (ABoR) report.
Central Texas REALTORS® sold 30,713 homes in 2018, generating $11.9 billion in sales dollar volume, the December and Year-End 2018 Central Texas Housing Market Report found.
“2018 was the highest-grossing year on record, and for the first time ever, the median price for single-family homes in the Austin-Round Rock MSA (metropolitan statistical area) stayed above $300,000 for 10 consecutive months,” Kevin P. Scanlan, the 2019 Austin Board of REALTORS®president, said. “While much of the region is benefitting from these higher numbers, increasing home prices are forcing families out of the city of Austin. This phenomenon is leading to lower enrollment in schools and could lead to decreased property tax revenue and budget shortfalls.”
Austin-Round Rock MSA
In the Austin-Round Rock MSA, one of the fastest-growing regions in the nation, the median price for single-family homes increased annually by 3.6 percent to $310,400. Sales increased annually by 2.1 percent to 30,713 sales. In December, the median home price decreased 0.8 percent year over year to $305,000, and sales decreased 11.1 percent year over year to 2,370 sales.
“Last November, we began to see fewer listings on the MLS (multiple listing service), which is typical of a seasonal slowdown during the holidays. It’s also likely that people are staying in their homes longer to watch their investment increase and keep their current interest rate,” Mark Sprague, state director of information capital at Independence Title, said.
New listings for the five-county MSA increased annually by 0.8 percent to 38,870 listings in 2018. During the same period, active listings increased 2.5 percent to 6,559 listings and pending sales increased 1.9 percent to 30,805 pending sales.
Housing inventory increased in December by 0.2 months to 2.3 months of inventory in the five-county MSA.
“Annual sales are still ahead of where we were last year,” Sprague said. “I don’t think 2019 will be any different. Austin’s strong gross domestic product growth will continue to drive our region’s job growth and need for housing.”
City of Austin
In the city of Austin, the median price for single-family homes increased annually by 4.1 percent to $375,760. While 2018 sales remained flat at 9,357 homes, sales dollar volume increased annually by 5.3 percent to $4,365,464,913. Although the median home price increased 6.2 percent year over year in December to $376,875, sales decreased 17.3 percent year over year to 669 sales. Austin’s monthly housing inventory decreased 0.1 months to 1.4 months of inventory in December.
In 2018, Travis County’s median home price increased annually by 2.9 percent to $360,000 and sales increased similarly—3.2 percent to 15,240 sales. The December median home price rose 0.4 percent year over year to $350,000, but sales decreased 11.7 percent year over year to 1,135 sales. Monthly housing inventory stayed at 2.0 months—the same as the previous December.
While Williamson County’s median home price increased annually to $285,000, it remains significantly lower than the median in Travis County and the city of Austin. Single-family home sales in Williamson County increased annually by 1.2 percent to 10,634 sales. However, in December, the median home price decreased 2.4 percent year over year to $280,000, and sales decreased 12.4 percent to 856 sales. Housing inventory increased 0.4 months year over year to 2.4 months of inventory.
In Hays County, the median home price increased annually by 2.3 percent to $264,990, and sales increased annually by 2 percent to 3,524 sales. The median home price in December increased 2.3 percent year over year to $272,938, but December sales decreased 11.3 percent to 267 sales. Housing inventory increased 0.5 percent to 2.9 months of inventory.