Single-family home sales increased throughout the Austin-Round Rock Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) in April, according to the April 2017 Central Texas Housing Market Report released by the Austin Board of REALTORS®.
Brandy Guthrie, 2017 President of the Austin Board of REALTORS® commented, "After a slow beginning to the year, increases in single-family home sales, homes on the market, and housing inventory across the region in April 2017 indicate that the Central Texas housing market is ramping up for a strong summer selling season.”
Single-family home sales in the Austin-Round Rock MSA increased 3.2 percent year-over-year in April 2017 to 2,640 home sales. In the city of Austin, single-family home sales rose 2.2 percent annually to 827 home sales during the same time frame.
At the county level, single-family home sales jumped 8.6 percent year-over-year in Williamson County to 886 home sales in April 2017. In Hays County, single-family home sales grew 3.3 percent during the same time frame to 344 home sales. Single-family home sales in Travis County, conversely, declined 2.1 percent annually to 1,283 home sales in April 2017.
Single-family sales growth across the Central Texas region is partly being fueled by strong housing development activity, particularly in Williamson County. Last week, Metrostudy reported that annual new home starts through 2017-Q1 are up nearly 15 percent year-over-year, with 14,392 new home starts in 2017-Q1. The top five Austin-area submarkets for home starts – Cedar Park/Leander West, Pflugerville, Kyle/Buda, Hutto and Del Valle – comprised 46 percent of annual home starts during that time frame.
“The Austin area is delivering more lots than ever before, and as a result, we’re seeing strong gains in new home starts so far this year, particularly in suburban areas in northeast Travis County and throughout Williamson County,” said Vaike O’Grady, Austin Regional Director for Metrostudy. “Rising development and construction costs as well as regulatory hurdles, however, are impeding growth in some markets, causing some builders to look outward in an attempt to meet buyers’ affordability needs.”
Both active listings and monthly housing inventory experienced significant gains throughout the five-county area in April 2017, which could indicate strong home sales activity in the summer months to come. Active listings jumped 16.9 percent year-over-year to 6,474 listings in the Austin-Round Rock MSA and rose 14.6 percent year-over-year to 1,564 listings within the city of Austin.
At a county level, active listings increased 24.6 percent to 2,056 listings in Williamson County, increased 15.1 percent in Travis County to 3,233 listings, and increased 13.7 percent to 857 listings in Hays County in April 2017.
Monthly housing inventory increased 0.3 months from April 2016 to 2.6 months of inventory in the Austin-Round Rock MSA. City of Austin housing inventory remains the most constrained throughout the region, increasing 0.2 months during the same time frame to 2.0 months of inventory in April 2017.
Home prices posted moderate gains in April 2017. In the Austin-Round Rock MSA, median sales price for single-family homes increased 5.8 percent year-over-year to $305,000. In the city of Austin, the median price increased 4.1 percent to $370,600 during the same time frame.
Single-family home prices remain most affordable in Hays and Williamson Counties, but it’s also where home prices are rising the fastest. In April 2017, the median price for single-family homes in Hays County increased 7.1 annually to $267,500, while the median price increased 7.0 percent in Williamson County to $275,000.
“Millennials, who make up more than one-third of Austin’s population, are looking for attractive, smaller homes close to amenities and major thoroughfares,” added O’Grady. “Several developers have already proven that communities with smaller homes and lots can be successful in Austin, but it’s increasingly difficult to find areas where this type of product can be built. Our region’s cities need a compromise of vision between preservation and necessary change in development in order to meet the demand for affordable new homes.”
Guthrie concluded, “Initial analyses of the proposed CodeNEXT zoning changes have already unveiled several inherent flaws in the new map’s design and structure to bringing true affordability to our communities. This is a watershed moment to determine the long-term sustainability and livability of our communities, and we have to get it right. The Austin Board of REALTORS® encourages Austin residents to attend an Open House Mapping Meeting for their district this month and discuss what CodeNEXT means for Austin’s current and future residents.”