Real Estate Report

Hot Austin real estate market starts 2017 with surge in sales

Hot Austin real estate market starts 2017 with surge in sales

1200 Barton Creek Blvd Austin house for sale
New year, same hot Austin market. Photo courtesy of Kuper Sotheby's International Realty

Austin's hot real estate market isn't cooling off. The latest report from the Austin Board of Realtors shows big increases in the typically slow month of January.

Single-family home sales in the Austin-Round Rock area grew by an impressive 7 percent year-over-year. All together, the 1,549 homes sold last month equaled nearly $552 million in sales, an almost 20 percent increase from January 2016. In Austin proper, home sales jumped 9.8 year-over-year.

Prices are rising too. The median home price in the metro area grew to $279,990, up 9.8 percent from last year. Part of that is due to inventory — the less houses on the market, the higher the demand and the higher the price. In fact, home inventory in outlying communities like Williamson County is now on par with urban Austin.

"Consecutive years of strong housing demand and sales growth throughout Central Texas have significantly changed housing market conditions in Austin and the surrounding region. 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," explains Brandy Guthrie, ABoR president, in a release.

This "regional ripple effect" will hit first-time buyers the hardest. "Single-family homes priced for entry-level homebuyers are increasingly harder to find throughout the region," she says. That's part of the reason why, for many Austinites, it may be cheaper to rent than buy, despite growing rent costs.