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Market News and Trends

Austin Market Dashboard — 3 HOT Quarters of 2014!

Actually, we’ve had much more than three calendar quarters of HOT market conditions in Central Texas, but I really want to comment on January – September 2014 here.  Since it has been a long time since I made time to write, though, I’ll remind readers that are new to my market dashboard, that the Greater Austin residential real estate market has long been largely sheltered from the extremes of market cycles, at least in comparison to other major metropolitan areas around the U.S.  (More on that in a separate post about the Case-Shiller index.)  Two quick metrics:

(1) Listing inventories have stayed low for many years:

Market Activity 1990-Present

Note that even at the “worst” of the housing downturn, the Austin area peaked at about 7 1/2 months’ inventory.  Buyers’ market?  Sure.  Extreme? Absolutely not.

(2) Although “hard times” have pressed average prices below the long-term price appreciation trend, real pain has been generally short-lived:

Market Price Movement 1990-Present

Moreover, when inventories have built and prices have fallen, those issues have essentially been extremely localized, confined mostly to small areas of the city and metro area, and even to specific neighborhoods/subdivisions.

With that bit of historical context, consider where we are now.  Listing inventory has been below 3 months for 22 consecutive months.  Analysts have generally considered 6 to 6 1/2 months’ supply to represent “balanced” market conditions.  The last time the Austin area had that much supply was in July 2011!  Some observers have begun recently to suggest that maybe 5 months’ inventory is now “normal” for our area, but we have been below even that level since November 2011!

Extremely limited resale supply and home builders still in catch-up mode, combined with an estimated 110 net new Austinites arriving every day, have resulted in a frustrating time for home buyers — multiple offers, bidding wars, and for many the unfortunate experience of making offers for several homes before finally being successful buyers.  The almost-3 months of inventory obscures the fact that many areas and neighborhoods measure market time in days.

For example, listings sold in Hyde Park, north of the UT campus, averaged 47 days on market during the first three quarters of this year, but 48% of them sold in 5 days or less!  In Wells Branch, in far north Austin, the average sale took 12 days, and almost two-thirds of all sold listings were on the market for less than a week!  At the other end of town, a large area in south Austin with hundreds of sales, between William Cannon Drive and Slaughter Lane, averaged 18 days on market, with a median of 5 days!  By any definition, much of Central Texas has been HOT!!!

As another measure of market velocity, here’s a look at the percentage of active listings sold each month:

Odds of Selling 2005-Present

In 4 of the past 18 months, more than half of all available listings were sold, and in 15 of those 18 months, more than 40% of active listings sold.  (Important note:  That is all single family homes, condominiums, and townhouses in the 5-county metropolitan area, not just the city of Austin.)

Final figures for October will be available later this month.  Anecdotally, many real estate agents indicate that the market “feels” somewhat calmer, but I have been involved in several multiple offer situations in recent weeks.  In Austin and Central Texas at this time, “slower” definitely does NOT mean “slow.”


About Bill Morris, Realtor

More than thirty years of business experience (high tech, client service, business organization and start-up, including many years in real estate) tell me that service is the key to success and I look forward to serving you. I represent both buyers and sellers throughout the Austin metropolitan area, which means first-hand market knowledge is brought to bear on serving your needs: -- Seller Representation is a comprehensive process that begins with thorough market analysis and consultation, continues with properly staging the home to achieve the highest price possible in a reasonable time on market, a complete program of marketing and promotion, ongoing updates and communication, closing coordination, and follow-up throughout (and after) the sale. -- Buyer Representation is also full service: shopping, previewing, price and market consultation, contracting, negotiating, coordination of inspections, appraisals, repairs, and closing details, and follow-up beyond the closing of your purchase to ensure your lasting satisfaction. Because the real estate industry is becoming more sophisticated and challenging every day, you need a professional that understands the industry and is positioned to stay ahead of the game. I go the extra mile to help you achieve your goals. That's why I constantly research the market and property values so your home is priced effectively from day one. I also make sure the public knows your home is for sale by using innovative advertising and marketing techniques to attract potential buyers.


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