Real Estate Rumblings

Austin home sales drop as affordability concerns grow

Austin home sales drop as affordability concerns grow

Austin home house 12006 Pleasant Panorama View 78738 Jeff Kent April 2016 front exterior
Austin home sales have dropped again. Photo courtesy of Joni Langle, XL Highlands Realty LLC

Austin home sales have taken another dive. The latest report from the Austin Board of Realtors (ABoR) shows that, after rebounding slightly in August, single-family home sales in Austin proper dropped 4.5 percent year-over-year in September 2016. At the same time, the median home price increased 10.6 percent to $345,000.

Outside of Austin, sales grew, creating a "doughnut" effect in the area. Sales in the Austin-Round Rock metro area increased 1.3 percent year-over-year, while Central Texas saw a 6 percent increase in home sales. The median home price in the metro grew to $275,250, up 7.5 percent from last year. 

Affordability remains a central concern in the local market, as does mobility. “Housing is at the center of all economic development. Nowhere is this more evident than at the intersection of housing affordability and mobility," said Aaron Farmer, ABoR president, in a release.

"As more and more homebuyers look outside of Austin’s city limits to find an affordable home, our region’s infrastructure is increasingly strained and the overall costs of homeownership rise because of the increased cost to commute.”

Farmer also warned that Austin's housing stock and infrastructure "are not sustainable for our region’s projected population growth, which is expected to double by 2040." Austin has a housing inventory of less than two-and-a-half months, well below the six-and-a-half months needed for a balanced housing market. And, available inventory is shrinking elsewhere in the area, as residents continue to buy outside of Austin.

ABoR notes that housing inventory in Williamson County now matches that of Austin; Hays County, which is growing in popularity because of its affordability, fares only slightly better, at three months.