Another record-breaking month is in the books for the unstoppable Austin housing market. The latest report from the Austin Board of Realtors, detailing sales activity in March 2021, shows that the median home price in both the city itself and the greater metro area jumped well over 20 percent year-over-year, leading to new all-time highs for both segments.
In the city of Austin, the median sale price grew an astounding 24.8 percent to $515,000, marking the first time that the median home price has surpassed the $500,000 mark. In February 2021, the figure sat at $491,000, a record at the time.
The median price grew at an even greater percentage in the five-county Austin-Round Rock metro area, increasing 28.8 percent year-over-year, to $425,000. By comparison, just last month, the metro median clocked in at $395,000.
"Our housing market is undergoing growing pains and creating a paradox — affordable from the outside looking in, but increasingly unaffordable for those who already call Austin home," ABoR 2021 president Susan Horton says in a release. "While more homes are selling than ever before, it’s more and more difficult to find one."
In March, inventory dropped drastically at the city and metro levels, down to only 0.4 months for both segments and marking the lowest inventory level ever for the metro. Of the five-county area, only Caldwell boasts a housing inventory level of one month, and the market is the tightest in Williamson County, where inventory sits at just 0.2 months.
Due to high demand and little availability, "homes spent half as much time on the market (52.7 percent) as in March 2020, selling in 26 days on average," ABoR's report notes. And those homes are selling for above asking — 108 percent of their list price on average — further pushing up area home values. Here are the figures for each of the five counties:
- Travis County: Median price up 24.1 percent year-over-year to $490,000
- Williamson County: Median price up 40.4 percent year-over-year to $400,000
- Hays County: Median price up 25 percent year-over-year to $350,000
- Bastrop County: Median price up 5.8 percent year-over-year to $276,000
- Caldwell County: Median price up 10.1 percent year-over-year to $250,000
Dr. Jim Gaines, economist at the Real Estate Research Center at Texas A&M University, says rapid price growth and low inventory is impacting housing markets across the U.S. And, "gains in both sales activity and housing costs across the region are to be expected as Austin expands into a large metropolitan area.”
"Austin real estate is still a bargain by national standards. Compared to similarly competitive markets in cities like Denver and Atlanta, which are also experiencing rapid population and home price growth, Austin is coming from a stronger position in terms of affordability," he says. "There is a reason so many transplants, especially from the east and west coasts, are coming to Austin; they can buy more house for their money than what they could in the cities they are leaving behind."