Steady Gains in January Home Sales Signal Strong Year Ahead for Austin Area
Housing inventory continues to decline.
The first Central Texas Housing Market Report of the year shows steady gains in both home sales and prices across the five-county Austin-Round Rock Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), according to the Austin Board of REALTORS® (ABoR).
Compared to January 2019, residential home sales in the Austin area increased 8.5% to 1,947 sales, and the median price increased 4.8% to $308,000, setting a record for the month of January. Housing inventory––which fell to 1.6 months––was driven to critically low levels across the MSA due to drops in both new and active listings. At the same time, increases in pending sales activity in January could signal further declines in inventory in the year ahead amidst strong housing demand.
“While this January showed significant gains compared to January 2019, the beginning of the year is a traditionally slower time for new and active listings,” Romeo Manzanilla, 2020 ABoR president, said. “We expect to see a significant increase in activity in the spring when market activity should climb naturally.”
The January 2020 Central Texas Housing Market Report also marks a transition to reporting on all residential properties (single-family homes, condos, and townhomes), rather than previous reports reflecting only single-family homes.
"Austin's competitive housing market is changing the landscape of traditional homeownership. We're seeing more homebuyers purchase condos and townhomes in an effort to live closer to the urban core or stay within their budget," Manzanilla added. “Focusing only on single-family housing leaves out half of the story, especially in the city of Austin where multi-family housing options are not only desired but greatly needed.”
Lawrence Yun, chief economist and senior vice president of research at the National Association of REALTORS®, commented on the Austin area’s continued growth.
“Austin’s engine of job and population growth is not projected to slow down anytime soon,” Yun said. “Looking at other metro areas across the U.S. that have faced similar circumstances, this level of rapid, positive growth will not be sustainable without a continued influx of a variety of housing types and careful transportation planning.”
Manzanilla concluded: "The discussion in Austin at the local level has been around addressing these very issues––diversifying our housing stock so families of all different backgrounds and income levels can afford a place of their own in Austin."