As always, I study market conditions in Austin and Central Texas real estate, and I continue to see significant contrasts between our area and conditions elsewhere around the United States:
National: On Tuesday, the National Association of Realtors® reported that sales of existing homes were down 2.2% in May compared to April (May Shows a Continued Strong Pace for Existing-Home Sales). They indicated that sales last month would have been weaker without tax incentives for homebuyers.
Austin: In the Austin metro area sales of existing homes were UP 1% last month, and the median sale price was up 2.5% from April. That makes four consecutive months in which both unit sales and median prices increased month-to-month.
National: Today, the U.S. Commerce Department reported that sales of new homes in May were down 33% from April (Sales of new homes drop by record amount to record low).
Austin: New home sales were DOWN in the Austin metro area, too, but by only 11% — just 1/3 the decline experienced nationally. I heard a radio report yesterday (that I have not yet been able to validate in print) that builders in our area are concerned about having enough lots available to support forecasted demand in the next year.
Now, isn’t that a good problem to have in this economic climate?
In total, residential sales in the Austin area were essentially flat from April to May (up 13 units).
The median sale price was 7.4% higher in May than it was in January 2010, and was down 1% from May 2009.
National: The NAR report also noted that 31% of May sales were foreclosures and short sales.
Austin: In Austin, 14% of homes sold last month were foreclosures and short sales — less than half the national total.
So, is everything coming up roses in Austin real estate? Are we enjoying another 2006? Certainly not, but Central Texas remains one of the strongest real estate markets in the United States. Compare these charts to everything you read and hear about the national real estate market:
Last month, the average home sold in Austin was on the market for just 73 days! Many (maybe most) U.S. metro areas envy that pace of activity. And it’s not because homeowners are giving up and giving their houses away — median prices have been rising! In addition, based on sales volume last month, our current listing inventory represents just seven months’ supply. Most analysts consider 6 to 6 1/2 months’ inventory to be a “balanced” market, so froma supply-and-demand perspective we’re in great shape.
Aside from being a great place to live, the Austin area continues to buck the nation’s economic trends, too. Please stay informed, and keep up with national news, but check back here too, and I’ll keep reporting on the local market.