Last month, Austin city officials took steps to thwart the potential spread of the coronavirus and the resulting covid-19 virus. Many businesses – such as retail, hospitality and restaurants – were shut down in an effort to keep local hospitals from being overrun and to preserve public health and welfare. The resulting economic impact of the closures included skyrocketing rates of applications for unemployment assistance and predictions that an economic downturn would ensue. In spite of the chaos and economic upheaval that shelter-in-place regulations have created, the Austin real estate market continued to strengthen in March. The latest statistics from the Austin Board of REALTORS® (ABoR) leaves many real estate professionals and experts feeling “cautiously optimistic” about the resiliency of Austin real estate.
In a report accompanying the statistics, 2020 ABoR President, Romeo Manzanilla, summed up the March Austin real estate environment.
“For most of March, it was still ‘business as usual,’ and REALTORS® adapted early to continue serving homebuyers and sellers safely,”Manzanilla said. “Declines in listing activity and pending residential sales in March indicate that we won’t begin to see the true impact of COVID-19 on the housing market until our April report.”
Mark Sprague, State Director of Information Capital at Independence Title Company, spoke with the Austin American-Statesman for a report about the March housing statistics. His insight into the March uptick in home sales indicates the urgency buyers may be feeling to close on a home purchase. In his opinion, Austin home sales could experience a rebound if the shelter-in-place regulations are lifted sooner rather than later.
“The crisis spurred buyers to buy quicker and not negotiate as much on what has sold,” Sprague said. “The challenge there was not enough inventory going into this crisis, and it is being absorbed quicker than listings are coming on the market, causing very little inventory in most price points. This leads me to believe that when we come out of this by the end of May or first of June, the market will be as robust, if not more.”
However, buyers who are in need of a new home now should be aware of the changes that have taken place in the real estate process. While COVID-19 has caused some changes to the real estate process, closings and home sales have not shown negative effects from the changes so far. Lea Holubec, senior vice president of education and training for Heritage Title of Austin, said in the ABoR report.
“The approach to closing a home looks very different right now, but activity has not dipped,” Holubec said. “Homebuyers should be prepared for the closing process to take longer than usual due to COVID-19 safety precautions and be ready for additional employment verifications at closing, or even after closing, which many lenders are now requiring.”
Manzanilla shared additional encouragement to potential home sellers.
“Like REALTORS®, sellers should remain cautiously optimistic during this time. Austin-area homebuyers are still looking to buy homes, and fewer homes on the market means stronger demand and increased visibility for your property,” Manzanilla said. “Despite the challenges of COVID-19, we’re still in a seller’s market and sellers should be encouraged to list their homes.”
Austin Area Real Estate Statistics
Residential home sales across the Austin-Round Rock Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) were up in March. Median home prices experienced significant gains and monthly housing inventory declined almost one percent. The average days a listing stayed on the market also declined.
- Residential home sales increased 2.2% year over year to 3,042 sales
- The median price jumped 11.7% year over year to $335,200
- Monthly housing inventory declined 0.7 months year over year to 1.6 months
- Average days on market decreased from 65 days to 54 days
- New listings decreased 12.7% to 3,770 listings
- Active listings dropped 26.6% to 4,908 listings
- Pending sales decreased by 19.2% to 2,852 sales
City of Austin
The median price for a residential home in the City of Austin jumped this March to reach an all-time high. Sales dollar volume made similarly strong gains. However, home sales remained flat.
- The median price for residential homes in the city of Austin rose 14% year over year to $415,000, an all-time high for any month on record
- Residential home sales remained flat at 985 sales
- Total sales dollar volume experienced a double-digit increase of 11.2% year over year to $503,132,316
- New listings decreased 7.5% to 1,299 listings
- Active listings dropped 27.8% to 1,237 listings
- Pending sales dipped 18.3% to 922 sales
- Monthly housing inventory decreased 0.5 months year over year to 1.2 months
Home sales in Travis County were relatively flat. Sales dollar volume increased along with the median home price. Both new listings and active listings saw strong declines.
- Residential home sales slightly increased by 0.4% to 1,545 sales
- Sales dollar volume increased 11.8% to $783,614,704
- The median price for residential homes jumped 15.1% year over year to $397,250
- New listings decreased 12.6% to 2,004 listings
- Active listings decreased 30.5% to 2,277 listings
- Pending sales decreased by 22.6% to 1,393 pending sales
- Monthly housing inventory decreased 0.7 months year over year to 1.4 months
Pending sales saw significant declines in Williamson County this March. Housing inventory also dipped and home sales increased less than half a percent. However, the median sales price increased.
- Williamson County residential home sales increased 0.4% to 1,007 sales in March
- Sales dollar volume increased 5.2% to $327,850,432
- The median price for residential homes increased by 6.8% to $293,805
- New listings declined 11% to 1,202 listings and active listings dropped 28.8% to 1,520 listings
- Pending sales decreased by 19.9% to 976 sales
- Housing inventory declined 0.8 months year over year to 1.5 months
Residential home sales saw significant growth this March throughout Hays County. Sales dollar volume jumped and the median price grew nearly twelve percent. During the same time period, new and active listings dripped. Pending sales also decreased.
- Hays County residential home sales increased by 16.5% to 381 sales in March
- Sales dollar volume jumped 29% to $133,789,771
- The median price for residential homes increased by 11.8% to $285,000
- New listings decreased 17.6% to 404 listings
- Active listings dropped 21.3% to 704 listings
- Pending sales slightly decreased by 6% to 359 sales
- Housing inventory decreased 0.8 months to 2.1 months of inventory
In Bastrop County, residential home sales remained flat. Sales dollar volume increased and new and active listings increased.
- There were 77 home sales in Bastrop County last month
- Sales dollar volume increased 13.7% to $20,306,295
- The median price for residential homes slightly increased by 3.7% to $239,950
- New listings spiked 27.8% to 124 listings
- Active listings rose 16.1% to 324 listings
- Pending sales jumped 20.7% to 105 pending sales
- Housing inventory decreased 0.1 months to 3.3 months
Caldwell County home sales remained flat this March compared to last year. Median home prices increased along with active listings. New listings were down, as were pending sales.
- Residential home sales remained flat at 29 sales in Caldwell County in March
- Sales dollar volume spiked 33.8% to $8,153,889
- The median home price increased 18.7% year over year to $237,450
- New listings decreased 23.3% to 33 listings
- Active listings increased 15.6% to 89 listings
- Pending sales dropped 21.9% to 25 pending sales
- Housing inventory rose 0.1 months to 3.4 months
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