Love Where You Live Austin 2019
Housing Report

Austin real estate authority pleads for more housing as market hits 'critical' levels

Austin realtors plead for more housing as market hits critical levels

Zilker Park Austin skyline at sunset
Austin needs more housing ... now. RoschetzkyIstockPhoto/Getty

In its monthly analysis of the Central Texas real estate market, Austin Board of Realtors made a desperate plea to city leaders: build more housing. In the new report, released September 17, ABOR implored the City of Austin to add dynamic housing options to help assuage the local housing crunch.

"While it's typical to see a decrease in housing inventory and listings at the end of the summer, the continued year-over-year decrease in supply is proof that Austin's housing stock is critically limited," says Kevin P. Scanlan, 2019 ABOR president, in the report.

"We’re encouraged by the City Council's stated commitment to creating more housing capacity," he continues. "Increasing the supply and variety of housing is the only way to ensure a more balanced market."

Indeed the numbers for August 2019 once again illustrate the city's lack of affordable housing. Last month, single-family home sales inside the City of Austin increased 3.3 percent year over year to 936, while housing inventory decreased to just 1.8 months of inventory. (A "balanced" market has about three to six months of inventory.)

The news isn't completely disheartening. While the median home price increased 2.7 percent over last year to $400,500, that's actually a decrease from last month, when it hit $410,000.

To combat these increasing costs, Nora Linares-Moeller, executive director of the nonprofit HousingWorks Austin, says creating a diversity of options must be a priority.

“Austin needs more duplexes and multiplexes to provide more affordable options at different price points,” she says in the release.

Travis County echoed the growth inside the city limits. Single-family home sales increased 4.3 percent to 1,526 sales, while the median home price rose to $380,000, a 3.4 percent jump. And like Austin, the housing inventory also dropped to 2.5 months.

Other counties in Central Texas are on similar trajectories. Williamson and Hays saw single-family home sales jump 8.3 percent and 4.7 percent, respectively. Williamson County's median home price, however, remained the same as August 2018, coming in at $295,000, while Hays' median home price actually decreased 6.9 percent to $270,000.

Bastrop County's numbers mirrored Williamson's last month. In Bastrop, single-family home sales jumped 15.7 percent, though home prices remained unchanged from last year to clock in at $240,000.

And proving that everything is topsy-turvy, Caldwell County's single-family home sales took a dramatic nosedive, dropping 18 percent year over year. That didn't stop prices from rising, of course. Caldwell's median home price leapt 11 percent to $216,500.