April 2016’s (released May 2016) real estate housing statistics from the Austin Board of Realtors are published, and they have confirmed what many Austin residents already know to be true. Much of Central Texas’ home sales activity is now taking place outside of Austin’s city limits. According to the report, nearly 80% of the 3,863 home sales in the region were sold in the surrounding suburbs. In the five-county MSA (Metropolitan Statistical Area), single-family home sales rose 5.1% in April 2016 to 2,600 home sales.

Hayes County is attracting the most buyers, with single-family homes sales jumping 17.8% year over year last to 338 homes. At the same time, Williamson County is the only county in the area experiencing a drop in home sales (down 5.1% to 816 home sales). Inside Austin city limits, single-family home sales increased just 1.7 percent in April 2016 to 829. Which means a decreased Williamson Country experienced almost as many home sales as Austin proper, showing just how much lower the inter-city sales actually are. Additionally, Travis County experienced an 8% increase to 1,246 homes sold over all (this includes the areas of Lakeway, Pflugerville, Bee Cave, Manor, West Lake Hills, Rollingwood, Manchaca, Sunset Valley, Onion Creek and Del Valle).

Speculation suggests that Hayes County is growing at such a pace because it is one of few areas surrounding Austin that have entry-level homes priced less than $200,000. It’s becoming harder to find the same priced homes in places like Round Rock or Pflugerville. The median price in Travis County increased 7.8% year-over-last to $339,500 while the median price within the City of Austin jumped a whopping 10.6% to $359,450. Luckily for those looking to buy in Williamson County, home prices also slowed increasing only two percent in April 2016 to $255,000.

Housing inventory actually increased a bit in the Austin area, to 2.3 months (0.1% more than the same time last year). However, this is still much much lower than the 6.5 months that the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M cites as a balanced market. Inside the city limits, the inventory is even lower (1.8 months).

While the housing market is extremely competitive throughout the Austin area, it looks like the best bet for first-time homebuyers, or those looking for affordable relocation are the cities of Buda, Kyle and Dripping Springs (in Hayes County), or north towards Leander in Williamson County. Most of these towns have exemplary public school systems and are between a 20 and a 40-minute drive to most of Austin’s activities. We recently wrote an article about family-fun activities in the Buda and Kyle areas, proving there isn’t much need to leave the area for entertainment unless you choose to! It’s worth noting that the areas of Del Valle and Manor also offer some affordable options, however, the schools and activities are much more limited.

On the flip side, it’s a very good time for anyone looking to sell their home in the Austin-Metro, as most homes listed sell within a few days of going on the market – many with multiple offers! Whether buying or selling a home, it’s always important to consult with a real estate professional as a market this competitive is best navigated with the help of an expert.

Quick Stats for Comparison:

Single-Family Home Prices:
Austin-Area: $288,198 (up 7%)
City of Austin: $359,450 (up 11%)
Travis County: $339,500 (up 8%)
Williamson County: $255,000 (up 2%)
Hayes County: $249,656 (up 7%)

Homes Sold:
Austin-Area: 2,600 (up 5%)
City of Austin: 829 (up 2%)
Travis County: 1,346 (up 8%)
Williamson County: 816 (down 5%)
Hayes County: 338 (up 18%)

Housing Inventory:
Austin-Area: 2.3 months (up 0.1 month)
City of Austin: 1.8 months (up 0.3 month)
Travis County: 2.3 months (no change)
Williamson County: 2.0 months (no change)
Hayes County: 2.7 months (up 0.2 months)