Following a record-breaking August, home sales in the Capital City have stalled, says the Austin Board of Realtors. On October 16, ABOR released its September 2018 Market Report, calling housing sales in Austin-Round Rock area "flat."
Among the five counties ABOR covers — Travis, Hays, Williamson, Burnet, and Caldwell — single-family home sales decreased 0.9 percent year-over-year to 2,368 sales last month. This trend was echoed within the city of Austin, which also saw a 0.9 percent decrease in sales.
Despite the flat sales numbers, the amount of sales dollar volume increased 5.7 percent from last September to $905,577,673 in September 2018. This is, of course, due to a rise in the median home price, which increased 4.2 percent to $302,250 in the greater Austin-Round Rock area and 3 percent to $365,000 within the city limits.
So why the proclaimed "stall" in sales? ABOR says it may be due to rising interest rates. "Higher interest rates have cut affordability and are holding back home sales," said Lawrence Yun, chief economist and senior vice president of research at the National Association of Realtors, in a release.
Unfortunately for potential buyers, this slowdown won't likely turn into a downward trend. As industries flock to town, Austin is growing at an enormous rate, and more jobs translate to bigger housing demands. “Steady growth in jobs and income will boost housing demand over time," said Yun. "Increasing housing supply as reflected in higher housing permits will also help slow home price growth and help consumers.”
Travis County overall saw a slight increase in sales — 1.7 percent — from last September, while sales in Williamson County decreased a whopping 9.1 percent. Despite the flux, both counties saw an increase in the median price of single-family homes, averaging $351,000 and $275,978, respectively.
Despite a stalled September, the Central Texas real estate market is still up 3.6 percent over the first nine months of 2017. "Home sales growth declined five percent last September, so it’s good to see that the area housing market held steady in September 2018," said Steve Crorey, ABOR 2018 president. "Austin continues to be one of the fastest-growing markets and most competitive housing markets in the country."