Avenue of affordability
A new neighborhood with 1,200 homes could spring up soon in Round Rock. On January 24, the Round Rock City Council unanimously approved an informal agreement with Los Angeles-based KB Home — one of the Austin area’s most prolific homebuilders — to move ahead with a proposed 1,200-home subdivision at University Boulevard and the State Highway 130 toll road.
The 350-acre site currently is outside Round Rock’s city limits, but KB envisions the land being annexed by the city.
KB has yet to purchase the site, and the neighborhood is far from a done deal yet. Still, if recent figures are an accurate indicator, the new homes in Round Rock could be much less costly than those available in Austin and the rest of Travis County, making it a tantalizing prospect to prospective homebuyers.
In December 2018, the median price of a single-family home in Austin stood year at $376,875, according to the Austin Board of Realtors. For Travis County, the median price was $350,000.
By contrast, the median price of a single-family home in Round Rock was $267,500 in December 2018 — nearly 30 percent lower than the Austin median and almost 24 percent lower than the Travis County median.
For years, real estate professionals, elected officials, and others have been sounding the alarm about the housing affordability crunch in the Austin metro area, particularly inside Austin’s city limits.
In a recent release, Kevin Scanlan, 2019 president of the Austin Board of Realtors, noted that rising home prices are pushing families out of the city of Austin and into the less expensive suburbs like Round Rock.
“Median home values have increased over time, with a steeper rise starting in 2012,” according to a City of Austin report. “This increase has resulted in Austin becoming less affordable, as wages are not increasing as quickly as housing costs.”
Several studies show the Austin metro area continues to be home to the highest median home prices in Texas. Thanks in large part to the never-ending climb in local housing costs, the cost of living “comfortably” in Austin soared nearly 34 percent from 2017 to 2018, according to a study by personal finance website GOBankingRates.