Real Estate Rumblings

New report shows this could be the craziest year yet for Austin real estate

Report says this could be the craziest year yet for Austin real estate

AIA Austin Homes Tour 2014 Brian Dillard Architecture
Austin-area single-family home sales increased 9.3 percent in March 2016. Photo by Andrea Calo Photography

The housing bubble in Austin has to burst at some point, right? Wrong. According to the Austin Board of Realtors’ (ABoR) March report, Austin home sales and prices are sizzling and don’t look to be cooling off any time soon.

Spring is typically a hot season for real estate, and last month Austin-area single-family home sales increased 9.3 percent compared to March 2015, with a total of 2,552 homes sold. Single-family home prices also grew 7.8 percent year-over-year, reaching a median of $278,000 in March 2016. On top of that, the total dollar volume of single-family properties sold rose 14.1 percent compared to March 2015, reaching $8.9 million.

“Home sales continue to rise throughout the region, but for many Austin-area residents, homeownership is just not a feasible option,” said ABoR president Aaron Farmer in a release.

“Longtime Austin residents are being priced out of their homes, and many are unable to live close to their work or school. As a city, we have to start being mindful of how our property development, appraisal, and code enforcement decisions impact not only housing affordability, but also the diversity of our neighborhoods and communities.”

With the lack of affordable options in Austin, millennials are expected to have to save for almost 10 years before they’re able to purchase a home. This shocking reality is a real problem, creating a market that is only accessible to a small percentage of those living in Austin.

“Working families and young professionals have been priced out of the city for years, and these affordability issues are now extending to surrounding areas of Central Texas like Manor and Kyle, with some current Austin residents looking as far out as Lockhart to find an affordable home,” said Blanca Garcia of Casa Blanca Realty, who specializes in rapid re-housing and works with underserved populations. “We need creative and collaborative solutions to provide more housing inventory and help homeowners continue to call Central Texas home.”

The lack of supply is one of the main reasons residential real estate is skyrocketing. The Austin monthly housing inventory was two months in March, a decrease of 0.2 months from March 2015. In contrast, the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University estimates a six-and-a-half month level is needed for a balanced housing market.

While the real estate bubble has no plans to burst, ABoR continues to combat the housing crisis through special initiatives to help increase affordable options and diversify the demand for an inclusive Austin.