After the hottest summer selling season on record, Austin home sales have cooled down. That's according to the latest monthly report from the Austin Board of Realtors, which shows that home sales in the city of Austin — and the greater metro area— declined in September 2017.
In Austin proper, sales decreased 4.1 percent year-over-year, to only 719 homes sold. The Austin-Round Rock metro area saw a similar decline of 4.3 percent, with 2433 homes sold. At the same time, prices continued to rise. Median home prices hit $355,000 in Austin (up 4 percent from September 2016) and $291,464 in the metro (up more than 5 percent from the previous year).
Should we expect this slump to continue into 2018? Not necessarily, says Brandy Guthrie, ABoR president.
"Despite last month’s dip in home sales activity, it’s important to remember that we’re comparing our current figures to the record-breaking housing market activity in 2016 and it’s not necessarily indicative of a downturn," she says in a release.
Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors, agrees. "Home sales, based on recent past job creation, should continue to modestly increase in 2018. Home sales in 2019 will depend critically on inventory availability."
According to the report, Austin housing inventory remained unchanged in September 2017 (2.4 months), and the metro area saw only a slight increase to three months. Keep in mind, a balanced housing market boasts six months of inventory.
In Austin, single-family homes priced above $300,000 had the highest levels of inventory, reinforcing ongoing concerns about affordable housing in the Capital City.
"Steady depletion of housing inventory is resulting in a fast rise in home prices and affordability challenges," Yun says. "The construction of single-family homes as well as condominiums needs to ramp up higher in order to fully satisfy housing demand and maintain housing affordability."