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Real Estate by the Numbers

Austin home sales drop for first time in years — but prices still on the rise

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exterior of house on Austin Modern Home Tour
Austin home sales took a dip in July 2014. Photo courtesy of Austin Modern Home Tour

We're used to the same old story each month regarding the Austin real estate market: high (if not record-breaking) sales and low inventory. But the Austin Board of Realtors July report, released Thursday, threw us a curve ball. In July 2014, for the first time in over three years, sales were down and inventory was up. 

According to the report, Austin-area home sales dipped by three percent in July 2014 compared to July 2013. At the same time, housing inventory increased to three months (a 0.2 month increase over the previous year). 

 In order to keep the market booming, affordable inventory is key. 

"July 2013 had the highest monthly home sales volume in Austin’s history, so we knew it was going to be a tough month to beat," said Bill Evans, president of Austin Board of Realtors, in a press release. He stressed that in order to keep the market booming, affordable inventory is key.

"There’s no denying that the Austin-area housing market has been impacted by issues in inventory and affordability. With such high demand, the Austin-area housing market cannot grow without an increasing, continually replenished housing stock, but that housing stock must also be affordable and attainable for Austin homebuyers."

While inventory grew last month, so too did median and average home prices. The median price rose to $250,000 (a nine percent year-over-year increase) and the average price increased to $318,854 (rising seven percent). But higher home prices didn't hinder the rapid pace at which Austin homes are selling. Last month, single family homes spent an average of 39 days on the market, two days less than July 2013. 

With all of these stats in mind, ABoR says the Austin market isn't headed in a negative direction.

"The issue we’re facing now is not whether Austin-area property values will fall," Evans concluded, "but whether future housing market growth in the Austin area will be stifled by a lack of affordable housing options for Austin-area homebuyers."

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