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Market News and Trends

Life after tax credits — early results


Last weekend I distributed my latest e-Newsletter (No more tax credits). I suggested that the recently expired tax credits had significant effect on new residential sale contracts in Austin and Central Texas over the past year:

  • After last year’s first-time homebuyer tax credit program ended November 30, 2009, home sales (i.e., closings) were down 33% in the next three months (December 2009 through February 2010). 
  • In three month period March through May 2010, during which all closed sales were eligible for the extended and expanded tax credit, sales increased 65% over the previous three months.

I also suggested that this doesn’t necessarily mean we will see a slower Summer selling season than we would have otherwise.

It is difficult to distinguish home purchases that were motivated mostly or entirely by the availability of a tax incentive from purchases that would have happened anyway. Spring is a time when we would expect to see some seasonal market acceleration anyway. Since properties contracted by the end of April and closed through June are eligible for this year’s tax credit, it is too early to know how many buyers will actually qualify. There is an empirical indicator of whether the pace of new contracts dropped after April 30 and it can be seen in currently pending contracts.

With that in mind, I reviewed 2,940 pending listings in the Austin Metro area as of close of business June 7, 2010.  Here’s what I found:

Month #
New Contracts

Feb-10 57
Mar-10 216
Apr-10 1,025
May-10 1,248
Jun-10 394

Note that this is purely a snapshot of the pending contracts now — not a tally of total contracts executed during these months. It is interesting, though, that 56% of the contracts in pending status today were signed after the expiration of the tax credit eligibility period.  Moreover, there were 22% more contracts were signed in the month after the tax credit program than in the month that should have been most impacted by the tax incentive.

So … the early indication is that Summer will be just fine for sellers and buyers of residential real estate. Can things change? Sure. Will other markets look different?  Probably. Nonetheless, I am encouraged to see the Austin/Central Texas market maintain momentum after tax credits expired, and I look forward to getting “back to normal” in the coming months and years.

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About Bill Morris, Realtor

More than thirty years of business experience (high tech, client service, business organization and start-up, including many years in real estate) tell me that service is the key to success and I look forward to serving you. I represent both buyers and sellers throughout the Austin metropolitan area, which means first-hand market knowledge is brought to bear on serving your needs: -- Seller Representation is a comprehensive process that begins with thorough market analysis and consultation, continues with properly staging the home to achieve the highest price possible in a reasonable time on market, a complete program of marketing and promotion, ongoing updates and communication, closing coordination, and follow-up throughout (and after) the sale. -- Buyer Representation is also full service: shopping, previewing, price and market consultation, contracting, negotiating, coordination of inspections, appraisals, repairs, and closing details, and follow-up beyond the closing of your purchase to ensure your lasting satisfaction. Because the real estate industry is becoming more sophisticated and challenging every day, you need a professional that understands the industry and is positioned to stay ahead of the game. I go the extra mile to help you achieve your goals. That's why I constantly research the market and property values so your home is priced effectively from day one. I also make sure the public knows your home is for sale by using innovative advertising and marketing techniques to attract potential buyers.

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