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Austin ranks as the most expensive real estate market in Texas, shows new report

Austin ranks as Texas' most expensive real estate market, shows report

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Almost half of the homes in the Austin area were priced at $300,000 and above during the first half of 2017. Photo courtesy of Austin Luxury Group

As if we needed it, there’s now further proof that the Austin housing market reigns as the most expensive in Texas. During the first half of 2017, the Austin area had a much larger share of homes priced at $300,000 and above than Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, or San Antonio, according to new data from the Texas Association of Realtors.

Brandy Guthrie, president of the Austin Board of Realtors, recently raised concerns about the relatively high prices of homes in the Austin area.

“While housing development is critical to maintaining inventory amidst rapid demand, the long-term sustainability of our market lies not in the pace of development but in the price points and types of housing options being developed,” Guthrie said in an August release. “Without sound development policies in place that allow for lower-cost housing solutions to be built in Austin and in surrounding markets, our region’s housing affordability crisis will only continue to worsen.”

New numbers from the Texas Board of Realtors bear out the severity of that crisis.

During the first six months of this year, 48.7 percent of homes in the Austin area were priced at $300,000 or more, with Dallas-Fort Worth in second place at 37.8 percent, according to a midyear report from the Texas Association of Realtors. For the Houston area, the $300,000-and-above share was 31.4 percent, while it was 23.6 percent in San Antonio.

Put another way, nearly half of the homes in the Austin area were priced at $300,000 and above during the first six months of 2017, while it was a little over one-third in Dallas-Fort Worth, a little under one-third in Houston, and almost one-fourth in San Antonio.

The Austin area even had more homes (2.3 percent) priced at $1 million or more during the first half of 2017, the report says. Houston held second place in that category (1.9 percent), followed by Dallas-Fort Worth (1.8 percent) and San Antonio (0.5 percent).

Looking at homes in all price ranges during the first half of 2017, the Austin area had the highest median price among the state’s four major metro areas: $295,000, up 5.7 percent from the same period a year earlier. However, Dallas-Fort Worth notched the biggest spike in the median home price during that period, jumping 11.5 percent to $254,269.

Meanwhile, the median home price in the Houston market climbed 5.1 percent to $229,000, and the median home price in the San Antonio market increased 5 percent to $210,000.

The Texas Association of Realtors report also divulged the typical monthly rent for an apartment in each of the four markets. Austin topped the list at $1,139, followed by Dallas-Fort Worth, $1,090; Houston, $1,000; and San Antonio, $886.

In releasing the midyear report, the Texas Association of Realtors warns that Hurricane Harvey could put a lingering dent in home sales in the Houston area and other regions of Texas, notably those along the hard-hit Gulf Coast.

“The devastation brought on by Hurricane Harvey will affect real estate activity in many areas of the state for the remainder of this year,” Vicki Fullerton, chairwoman of the Texas Association of Realtors, says in a release.

Jim Gaines, chief economist with the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University, also cautions that Hurricane Harvey will harm the state’s housing market throughout the rest of 2017.

“Houston’s housing market accounts for roughly 25 percent of the Texas housing market,” Gaines says, “and it could take months before the Houston area begins to enter the recovery phase and a few years before the impacted communities fully recover.”

Across Texas metro areas, the median sale price for a home rose 7.7 percent to $221,800 in the first half of 2017 compared with the first half of 2016. During the same time, home sales rose 5.5 percent statewide.