January was another banner month for local home sales, according to the Austin Board of Realtors. Last month — traditionally the height of the slow selling season — the city of Austin saw a double-digit increase (13.5 percent over last year) in the median sales price, which climbed to $384,750.
It's also worth noting that with the new year comes a new way of measuring home sales by ABOR. In the past, the board only used single-family homes sales to measure the local real estate market. Beginning this month, that will change to include all residential properties: single-family homes, condos, and townhomes.
"Austin's competitive housing market is changing the landscape of traditional homeownership. We're seeing more homebuyers purchase condos and townhomes in an effort to live closer to the urban core or stay within their budget," Romeo Manzanilla, 2020 ABoR president, said in a release. “Focusing only on single-family housing leaves out half of the story, especially in the city of Austin where multi-family housing options are not only desired but greatly needed.”
Along with that 13.5 percent climb in the median price, new listings in Austin decreased 10.6 percent to 960 listings, while active listings dropped 32.5 percent. Because of this, inventory inside the city limits dropped to 1.1 months, a continued sign of an unbalanced market. (A balanced market has an inventory between three and six months.)
Of course, January's climbing numbers reflect years of upward growth for the local real estate market — growth that shows no signs of slowing down.
“Austin’s engine of job and population growth is not projected to slow down anytime soon,” says Lawrence Yun, chief economist and senior vice president of research at the National Association of Realtors. “Looking at other metro areas across the U.S. that have faced similar circumstances, this level of rapid, positive growth will not be sustainable without a continued influx of a variety of housing types and careful transportation planning.”
Last month, residential home sales in the Austin-Round Rock metro area increased 8.5 percent over January 2019. During the same period, however, new listings decreased 14.3 percent while active listings decreased 24.1 percent. Like the city, the metro also saw a slump in monthly inventory, which dropped to 1.6 months.
Sales in Travis County reflected more of January's traditional slower pace, with only a 2.9 percent increase in residential sales. Median prices, of course, did not reflect any sort of slowdown, climbing 7.8 percent year over year to $351,000.
Williamson, Hays, Bastrop, and Caldwell counties continued their meteoric rise, with Caldwell leading with a 50 percent increase in sales over last January. Caldwell County's median home price dramatically increased 62.1 percent year over year to $232,807.
Williamson remained (relatively speaking) stable, clocking in an 11.6 percent increase in residential home sales and just a 2 percent rise in the median home price to $279,990. Home sales in Hays climbed 22.8 percent while the median home price actually dropped 2.6 percent to $255,000. Bastrop saw a similar rise in home sales (22.2 percent) and a median sales price of $241,000.