Real estate sales in the Austin area are poised to end the year with a bang after double-digit increases in November 2016. Latest real estate statistics from the Austin Board of REALTORS® (ABoR) show abnormally high home sales throughout all Austin area counties. The statistics are particularly surprising given that the high increase happened at a time when sales typically experience a seasonal slump.
“This end-of-year surge in home sales is an unusual and welcome surprise to what’s typically the lowest months for Central Texas home sales volume during the year,” said Aaron Farmer, 2016 President of the Austin Board of REALTORS®. “Home sales throughout 2016 continue to be fueled by our region’s steady population growth. At the current pace, 2016 will likely turn out to be another record year for Central Texas home sales.”
Home Sales Surge Throughout Central Texas
Single-family home sales in the Austin-Round Rock MSA experienced an impressive 15.8 percent year-over-year increase to 2,055 home sales in November 2016. Home sales in the city of Austin jumped 13.7 percent annually to 656 home sales. Throughout Travis County, home sales were up 11.3 percent and Williamson County saw home sales increase 14.7 percent, respectively.
Hays County showed the highest increase in home sales in November 2016. The number of Hays County home sales increased a whopping 24.2 percent.
Threatened Rate Increases Push Buyers to Market
Mark Sprague, state director of information capital for Independence Title, believes the threat of increased interest rates is motivating many buyers. “Millennial homebuyers, who comprise 51 percent of the Central Texas market, have never experienced an interest rate greater than four percent and thus could be motivated to buy sooner.” Although interest rates are expected to rise only modestly, the increase combined with modest home value growth will result in a higher investment for undecided buyers.
Home Prices Increases are Slowing
Throughout most of the Austin area, home prices increased at a much slower pace in November 2016 than other months throughout the year. The median home price increased 7.0 percent year-over-year to $294,245 in the Austin-Round Rock MSA. Median price in the city of Austin increased 4.0 percent year-over-year to $342,000.
Williamson County home sales were the exception to slower price increases. There, median home price experienced a 12.1 percent annual increase to $275,000.
Central Texas Housing Inventory Remains Flat
In contrast to the steep home sales numbers, housing inventory levels remained relatively unchanged throughout the Central Texas region last November. Throughout the Austin-Round Rock MSA, monthly housing inventory levels remained flat at 2.3 months. In the city of Austin, housing inventory crept up 0.1 months year-over-year to 1.9 months. The Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University cites that a balance of housing supply and demand is achieved when housing supply levels are between 6.0 and 6.5 months of inventory.
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