It will be a couple of weeks until I have “final” December data from the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University. That’s when I will assemble my market dashboard for all of 2019 and offer my thoughts on some large trends. For now, I want to discuss home prices at the end of 2019. For this snapshot I focused entirely on single family homes and on completed sales in the 4th quarter of 2019 as reported in our regional MLS system.
To start, here is a look at most of the developed areas in our 5-county metro:
Average and median prices in Austin, Dripping Springs, Lakeway, Spicewood, and Bee Cave were all above $400,000, and above the $382,000 combined average price for the cities shown.
That doesn’t mean that every part of the city of Austin was priced above $400,000 but most were, and the combined average in the city was $736,000:
Only the last five zip codes on the right ( (78727, 78752, 78758, 78728, and 78745) averaged below $400,000. The average in 78741 was just over that level, but its median price was just lower.
In the urban core (bounded by US 183, Ben White Blvd, and Loop 360 the average price in just one zip code (78752) and the medians in two (78741 and 78752) were in that under-$400,000 range, but notice that the combined average of these zip codes was about $850,000:
I have noted previously (and you’ve seen in local media) that incomes continue to rise in our area. That is great for the city and for those who are receiving those larger paychecks, and higher income allows this price growth to continue. We certainly have an affordability issue in Austin residential real estate, but in the aggregate we haven’t hit a tipping point … yet. Note that the data in this post only pertains to houses, and there are some housing ownership alternatives and rental options in the area. Even median-income households are being increasingly pushed to the suburbs, though.
Home builders have begun to gain some ground on the continued strong demand, but the need for “missing middle” housing options in the city of Austin is very real. This is the year to take real steps toward allowing a wider variety of housing types and costs in all parts of our city. Failing to adapt to this need in Austin will lead to changes in the character of our entire region. And with those changes will come vastly tougher issues involving transportation and mobility, environmental quality, and desirability for future business starts and expansions in the city. Adapting and diversifying housing options in Austin will only get harder as time goes by. Now is the time.
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