It looks like Austin’s surrounding areas have caught up to the cities low inventory levels, with Williamson County at 1.8 months of inventory and Hays at 2.5. Not surprisingly, the city of Austin itself sits at the lowest inventory of 1.4 months, making the whole Austin-area an average of around two months. What does this mean for potential homebuyers? It means that even if you’re looking outside of Austin proper, the market is going to be competitive! 

First time home buyers searching for homes for sale in Austin might have to expand their search to the south or east where inventory is a bit higher, and prices are a bit lower. There are still great houses available near the city center, but they will cost you. The median home price in Austin right now is $312,00 (up just 2% from this time last year). While this may seem reasonable to some, many hopeful homeowners with lower budgets are finding this to be out of their price range.

However, prices are a bit more sensible to the north in Williamson County with the median home price sitting at $265,750 (up 9% from January 2016). An even better deal and an area with slightly less competition, Hays County (which includes Buda and Kyle) real estate sits at a median price of $235,000.

In the latest market stats from the Austin Board of Realtors, ABoR President Brandy Gutherie weighed in on the Central Texas market statistics. “Consecutive years of strong housing demand and sales growth throughout Central Texas have significantly changed housing market conditions in Austin and the surrounding region,” said Guthrie. “The radius of local market areas with critically low housing inventory levels has expanded out from Austin into surrounding counties, shifting the price range of available homes in local communities upward.”

Most people in Austin understand that one of the best ways to correct the market (to drop home prices and relieved some of the pressure on competition) is for more new homes to come on the market at affordable prices. 11.5% more new homes came on the market in January 2017 than in January 2016, which is a good sign!

According to many economists, the time is now to sell! Prices are still rising, and inventory is still low, making it a very good time to list your home. There’s no telling how much longer the market will remain this competitive and prices this high.

However, it’s also arguably better to buy now than later! Interest rates on mortgage loans are still low – but they may not be for long. Low-interest rates coupled with the fact that prices ARE still rising mean that buying today could cost you much less than buying in a few months. Overall, the Austin housing market is still a great option for those who can afford it. Those who are unable to will find better luck in the surrounding suburbs.

“Housing affordability and development policy decisions made in Austin have a regional ripple effect,” added Guthrie. “It’s increasingly important for area homebuyers and sellers to know not only their local housing market conditions but how their local housing market is being shaped by the region’s growth at large.”