For most of March, it's was "business as usual" for Central Texas realtors. At least until March 24 hit, when the city and surrounding counties began issuing shelter-in-place mandates.
For that reason, the Austin Board of Realtors predicts we won't see the true impact of coronavirus until its April or May reports come out. For now, however, the March Central Texas Housing Market Report shows that the pandemic has had little impact on March home sales.
"Realtors adapted early to continue serving homebuyers and sellers safely," says Romeo Manzanilla, 2020 ABoR president, in a release.
In March, the median price for residential homes in the city of Austin rose 14 percent year over year to $415,000 — an all-time high for any month on record. Residential home sales remained flat at 985 sales, while total sales dollar volume experienced a double-digit increase of 11.2 percent year over year to $503,132,316 last month.
During the same period, new listings decreased 7.5 percent to 1,299 listings; active listings dropped 27.8 percent to 1,237 listings; and pending sales dipped 18.3 percent to 922 pending sales. Monthly housing inventory decreased 0.5 months year over year to 1.2 months of inventory.
"The approach to closing a home looks very different right now, but activity has not dipped," says Lea Holubec, senior vice president of education and training for Heritage Title of Austin. "Homebuyers should be prepared for the closing process to take longer than usual due to COVID-19 safety precautions and be ready for additional employment verifications at closing, or even after closing, which many lenders are now requiring."
Overall, the Austin-Round Rock metro area, which encompasses five counties, saw residential home sales climb 2.2 percent to to 3,042 sales and the median home price soar 11.7 percent year over year to $335,200.
In Travis County, the median price for residential homes jumped 15.1 percent to $397,250 while monthly housing inventory decreased 0.7 months year over year to 1.4 months of inventory. Median home prices in Williamson County also saw a double-digit increase, hitting $293,805 in March.
"Like Realtors, sellers should remain cautiously optimistic during this time," says Manzanilla. "Austin-area homebuyers are still looking to buy homes, and fewer homes on the market means stronger demand and increased visibility for your property. Despite the challenges of COVID-19, we’re still in a seller's market, and sellers should be encouraged to list their homes."