Austin continues to appear in articles naming the top real estate markets in the US. From earning third on Fortune’s list of best places to move, and being named among Forbes Best Buy Cities to Urbanland calling Austin and DFW the Top Cities for 2016, Austin is a hot ticket in the real estate world. What makes Austin’s market so appealing is its ever-growing job market, its hip, fresh culture, and the fact that compared to many top cities in the US, our real estate market is still relatively affordable.
“Austin has an amazingly diverse culture, and it’s like living on an island in the center of Texas,” says Vanessa Nunez, top-producing Realtor at HomeCity Real Estate. “The dichotomy of its personality allows for its creative yet entrepreneurial style to flourish. This makes it an ideal environment for all the top tech and social media companies to house their headquarters because of the flexibility of off-campus work environments. Additionally, the film and (of course) music industries are thriving!”
For the past few years, due to the massive influx of people and shortage of homes in the area, prices have begun to rise steadily. Will prices level off in 2016? “I believe we are already seeing [prices begin to level off], especially with the new TRID laws, because appraisers are leery of pushing the market. They will become more conservative until the lending becomes more familiar with the new laws,” says Nunez. “In this market, if the home is priced correctly and the comparables support it, it’s a win-win for the buyer and the seller, and it sells quickly.”
Some areas of town are pricier than others when it comes to real estate options, as most people want to live as close to Central Austin’s hip shopping, dining, and socializing establishments as possible. However, as home prices go up in 2016, more people will be moving to the outskirts, and building up those areas of the community in the process. “The stats say that Williamson County will grow 76% over the next decade, and they already have the roads and infrastructure planned for the next 50 years,” says Nunez. “It is told that the Kyle and Buda areas are expecting the same sort of growth percentages.”
New homes are also being built, which should help affordability, especially for first-time homebuyers. Realtor.com’s 2016 Housing Forecast predicts a healthy market with new construction driving the highest levels of home sales since 2006. “I believe this is very relevant to Austin, with the influx of 160+ people a day moving to the area, the only place to grow is outward, which is where most of the new home developments are going,” says Nunez. “Many of the California transplants are making their way to the Hill Country for its luxury-yet-relaxed feel.”
In 2016, more millennials are predicted to buy homes than ever before, further driving home sales. This is the 25 to 35-year-old group, many of whom are just beginning to settle down and will be looking to buy. “I have many of these clients,” says Nunez. Millennials will likely be working with a lower budget than some of their more established competition, but have some things working to their advantage. “They are super tech-savvy and are very informed buyers. In fact, they want what they want, and will quickly walk a deal if they do not get everything they feel fits their personal criteria. They are very smart, and see [real estate] as a business transaction first, then an emotional decision.”
With a healthy, growing housing market like the one we have, home values should continue to appreciate. Austin continues to be one of the best investment markets, as well as among the most desirable places to live. Considering this, the market should remain fairly competitive through 2016. It’s always helpful to employ the help of a skilled real estate professional to ensure that you navigate the market with ease.