Single-family home sales increased across the Austin-Round Rock Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) in October, but declined in the city of Austin, according to the October 2017 Central Texas Housing Market Report released today by the Austin Board of REALTORS®.
Brandy Guthrie, 2017 President of the Austin Board of REALTORS® commented, “The Austin-Round Rock housing market continues to slightly outperform last year’s home sales activity, keeping 2017 on-pace for another record year for home sales. At the same time, low housing inventory levels along with constrained housing development activity throughout the city of Austin are preventing home sales growth at the city level.”
Single-family home sales in the Austin-Round Rock MSA increased 2.2 percent year-over-year to 2,292 home sales in October 2017. During the same time frame, single-family home sales in the city of Austin declined 1.7 percent to 699 home sales. At the county level, home sales volume increased 1.4 percent year-over-year to 1,124 home sales in Travis County, increased 5.4 percent to 794 home sales in Williamson County, and increased 6.2 percent to 274 home sales in Hays County.
Housing inventory levels continued to edge upward across the five-county MSA in October, increasing 0.2 months to 2.8 months of inventory. In the city of Austin, single-family housing inventory increased 0.1 months to 2.3 months of inventory. Housing inventory levels across the region continue to be well within a seller’s market, compared to the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University’s estimation of 6.0-6.5 months of inventory as a balanced housing market.
Gains in housing inventory throughout 2017 have been partially driven by strong housing development throughout much of the region. The Q3-2017 Austin Housing Report by Metrostudy released last month reported that new home starts in the trailing 12 months ending September 30, 2017, are at a 10-year high, with a majority of housing development activity concentrated in local markets surrounding Austin such as Pflugerville and the west side of Cedar Park/Leander.
“Developers and builders are beginning to experiment with lower-cost, higher-density products between $200,000 and $300,000 in suburban markets, where products like townhomes and smaller single-family homes can be built more easily,” said Vaike O’Grady, Austin Regional Director for Metrostudy. “Shortages of vacant developed lots and regulatory hurdles in Austin make it difficult for meaningful housing development activity to occur within Austin’s city limits.”
Home prices continued to rise at a steady pace in October 2017. The median price for single-family homes increased 4.3 percent to $286,742 across the Austin-Round Rock MSA and increased 9.1 percent to $360,000 in the city of Austin during October.
“Next to CodeNEXT, the City’s selection of a new city manager will have the single-greatest impact on the direction of our region’s future and the sustainability of Austin's housing market, so it’s critical that local community stakeholders and business leaders have the opportunity to weigh in on this important decision,” concluded Guthrie. “Austin deserves a city manager who isn’t afraid to tackle the issues impeding our city’s development with bold strategies and creative solutions. The Austin Board of REALTORS® will look to our new City Manager to put a leadership team in place that will bring the cultural and operational changes needed to move forward.”