According to the Austin Board of Realtors® , pending homes sales in the Austin metro area were down 27% in September 2010 compared to September 2009. Year-to-date sales, however, were down only 1%.
The biggest difference, as I have commented here a number of times, is that homebuyer tax credits accelerated demand to early in the year than usual, creating lower sales in the late summer and early fall than in a “typical” year. This effect is visible in this chart that shows monthly sales and listing inventory since January 2005, before the top of the housing bubble in 2006, and before the beginning of the downturn in 2007:
Not only can you see a larger than usual dip in sales last winter, following the first round of homebuyer tax incentives, but also the earlier peak in 2010 due to the second tax credit program.
As you would expect in the face of weak demand, average and median prices also dipped after both tax credit programs:
Note that although seasonal demand patterns have been badly distorted, market prices are higher than a year ago. Austin and Central Texas continue to expand employment faster than any other major U.S. metro area, and residential real estate inventory and demand are generally better balanced than other areas, so there is still reason to expect strength in the coming months.
For a more complete analysis of the Austin area real estate market, visit the Austin Market Dashboard. I am a constant market watcher, and I work throughout the metro area, so feel free to contact me if you have questions about your particular neighborhood or the market segment in which you hope to buy or sell.