As I described in the most recent discussion of my Austin Market Dashboard, residential sale prices in the Austin metropolitan area have shown enormous strength in 2012, indicating that Central Texas has seen the bottom of the national housing downturn. For a different view of that trend, this table is a good summary:
Notice that prices never suffered anything like the deterioration reported in California, Arizona, Nevada, and Florida. Note, too, the growth in the median sale price so far this year. Those 2012 figures do not yet include any winter softness that we may experience, but a look at the distribution of sales within specific price ranges makes this look like the continuation of a longer-term trend:
As before, that table includes 10 complete years and eight months of 2012. I have highlighted price ranges that represented 10% of more of total residential sales during each of those years. Sales below $120,000 fell below that threshold in 2006 and have continued to decline since then. Likewise, sales between $120,000 and $160,000 represented less than 10% of market activity in 2011 and 2012.
At the same time, sales between $200,000 and $400,000 have become well-established contributors to our market over the past few years, representing 34% of sales in 2011 and 36% of sales so far in 2012!
A hypothetical buyer wanting to see 50% of “sold inventory” would have to extend the target price above $200,000 for the first time this year.!
Graphically, this trend is even more evident:
Are all home prices increasing? Not necessarily. I am working in a couple of neighborhoods right now where average sale prices have actually declined over the past twelve months. Low inventory and strong demand continue to exert upward pressure on prices, however, and I believe that effect will be felt pretty much across the board over the next year or so.