Austin Chamber

December 8, 2015 – Housing Market

Posted By Beverly Kerr | Dec 08, 2015
Central Texas Economy in Perspective Print Article Austin Chamber
  • There were 27,524 homes sold in the Austin metropolitan area in the first ten months of 2015, about 4.2% greater than the same period in 2014.  

  • Inventories in October were at 2.6 months in the Austin market. With the exception of July 2015, Austin has had less than three months inventory on the market since December 2012.

  • Austin’s year-to-date dollar volume of sales is 11.4% higher than last year, and the average home price, at $326,439, is up $24,300 or 6.9% over the average for the first 10 months of 2014.

  • In October 2015, the median home price was $253,600, up $14,000 or 5.8% from one year ago. Monthly medians have been above $250,000 in Austin since March 2015.

Activity & Inventory

Austin’s existing home sales in October totaled 2,608, just 0.7% above the number of homes sold in October 2014, and 7.5% below the total for last month, according to the latest numbers from the Austin Board of Realtors and the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M. That September to October drop is consistent with the seasonal pattern in the Austin market. On a year-to-date basis, the number of homes sold in the Austin metropolitan area in the first ten months of 2015 (27,524) is 4.2% greater than the number sold in 2014.

National Association of Realtors data for the U.S. show October home sales up 0.9% over the volume one year ago, while year-to-date sales are up 7.2%. Statewide, October sales are down 2.1% compared to a year ago, but 2015 year-to-date sales are up 3.9% over the first 10 months of 2014.

The dollar volume of Austin metro 2015 home sales through October is 11.4% ahead of the same period last year, while the gain is 3.9% state-wide and 11.7% nationally. For the month of October, the value of Austin sales are up 8.7% over last October, while Texas is up 2.6% and the nation is up 4.4%.

Austin’s months of inventory on the market measure has averaged 2.6 months in 2015 to date, up from 2.5 in 2014. In October, inventories are at 2.6 months, down from 2.8 in September and 2.7 a year ago. Statewide, supply has averaged 3.4 months in 2015 compared to 3.6 over the first 10 months of 2014. At 3.5 months in October 2015, statewide supply is down from 3.6 in September and unchanged from a year ago. Nationally, the months of inventory fell from an average of 5.3 in 2014 to 4.9 in 2015 on a year-to-date basis, and in October 2015, supply is at 4.8 months, compared to 4.7 last month and 5.2 a year ago.

With the exception of July 2015, Austin has had less than three months inventory on the market since December 2012. The only other years in which inventories dipped as low were 1999 and 2000. A balanced supply is commonly considered to be six months.

The months of inventory calculation is derived from the number of homes sold and the number of active listings. There has been a monthly average of 6,818 listings on the market in 2015, up 6.6% from the first 10 months of 2014. The last two years have seen fewer average monthly listings than any year from 2001 through 2012, even though total 2015 sales should reach a new all-time high. October 2015’s active listings, 6,976, are 6.0% below the previous month and 2.7% above last October.

Prices

Austin’s median home price in October is $253,600, down from September by 0.9%, but up from one year ago by 14,000 or 5.8%. Austin’s median has exceeded $250,000 since March of this year. Statewide, October’s median sales price is $194,000, up $13,000 or 7.2% from a year ago. The national median price is $219,600, up $12,100 or 5.8% from October 2014.

Austin’s year-to-date median sales price for single-family homes is $262,000, while townhouse/condominiums are at $226,500. These medians are up 8.5% and 6.1% respectively over the same period of 2014. Thus far in 2015, 90% of sales are of single family homes and 10% are townhouses or condos in the Austin market.

In 2014, Austin’s median price of homes sold exceeded the state median by over 30% for the first time. The differential between Austin and the state approached this level just before the dot-com recession. After falling each year through 2005 (reaching 18%), the difference climbed sharply through 2008 and for 2008-2014 has averaged about 29%. Based on the year-to-date, Austin’s 2015 median price will likely exceed Texas’ by over 31%.

Dallas’ median sales price in October is $226,100, up 12.8% from last October. Fort Worth’s price is $157,100, up 10.0%; Houston has a median price of $202,100, up 5.7%; and San Antonio is at $187,100, up 7.2% over a year ago.

The average price in Austin in October, at $332,200, is up 4.7% from September and up 7.9% from a year ago. On a year-to-date basis, Austin’s 2015 average sales price is $326,439, up $21,127 or 6.9% from 2014. For Texas, the average price thus far in 2015 is $252,413, up 5.5% from 2014. The national average price for year-to-date 2015 is $266,441, 4.2% over 2014.

National Association of Home Builders’ Housing Opportunity Index (HOI) incorporates data on local incomes, taxes and insurance rates, together with home prices, to represent the relative affordability of U.S. housing markets. The quarterly HOI represents the share of homes sold in an area that would be affordable to a household earning the local median family income.

While Austin’s home prices are higher than Texas’ other major metros, and our median has exceeded the national median since the housing bubble burst, the HOI measure shows Austin’s affordability can come within striking distance of the national affordability rate. Compared to Texas major metros over the last few years, Austin has only been decisively less affordable than Fort Worth.

A household earning Austin’s $76,800 median family income could afford to purchase 59.1% of homes sold in the third quarter of 2015, while a family earning the national median family income of $65,800 could afford to buy 62.2% of homes sold nationally. A year ago, Austin’s HOI of 61.2 was substantially closer to the national HOI of 61.8. Austin has been more affordable than Dallas for the last six quarters and more affordable than Houston for four of the last six quarters.

Home price indexes from the Federal Housing Finance Agency offer a view of the change in single-family home prices on a quarterly basis. Their 2015 Q3 release, which became available late last month, provided metro comparisons of the current quarter to last quarter, one year ago, and five years ago. The downloadable data for Austin is a quarterly price index that begins in 1977. The second quarter of 2008 was Austin’s peak before home prices began faltering locally and 2015 Q3 is 41.4% above that level. Nationally, home prices have increased each quarter since the third quarter of 2011, and presently stand 1.1% below the first quarter 2007 peak.

Only two of the 100 largest metros still have price levels below what they were 5 years ago. House prices have gained 45.1% over the last five years in Austin, ahead of Texas’ price appreciation of 28.6%. Austin also leads the state over the last year (10.7% vs. 7.5%), but both are at 1.7% for change over the last quarter. Dallas' price index has had greater growth than Austin’s over the last year and the last quarter (11.0% and 2.1% respectively). Over the last five years, Houston’s growth is 40.5%, less than Austin, but greater than Dallas. Houston’s one-year growth is 6.6%, while the last quarter’s growth is 1.6%.

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The Chamber’s Economic Indicators page includes an Excel spreadsheet (updated monthly) of Austin, Texas and national time series data for home sales and prices from the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M and the National Association of Realtors, as well as Housing Opportunity Index data from the National Association of Home Builders.

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Beverly Kerr

Vice President of Research, Beverly Kerr, joined the Chamber’s Economic Development Department in 2004, following 10 years in a similar role with the Kansas City Area Development Council. Beverly earned an M.A. in economics at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.