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Market News and Trends

July numbers are in …


Two articles this week focus on residential real estate sales in July:

Home Sales Down in July but Up Strongly from a Year Ago (RISMedia)

Austin-area existing home sales up 32 percent in July (Austin American-Statesman)

Sales volume in Austin was down almost 8% in July compared to June.  Nationally, the month-to-month decline was 3.5%.  It is unusual to see any indicator look worse in the Austin/Central Texas market than nationally.  As I have pointed out repeatedly, though, Austin unit sales have been increasing steadily, and substantially, since January 2011 — a trend that most other cities in the U.S. envy.

Year-over-year comparisons are encouraging in both cases — July 2011 up 21% from July 2010 nationally, and up 32% in Austin!  In both cases, it is important to note that July 2010 was the first month after the last homebuyer tax incentives expired, so sales were down that month.  Still, this is meaningful growth.

Nationally, about 29% of sales were all-cash.  In the Austin market, it was 22% in July.  Both figures reflect strong activity by investors.  (As a pre-recession point of reference, cash sales accounted for about 12.5% of Austin-area sales in 2006.)

Amid a flood of discouraging economic news over the past few weeks, I find this information encouraging.  We absolutely have challenges still ahead — residential building permits are still down, housing starts are abysmal, and mortgage underwriting remains tough.

On the other hand, as I suggested in a post last month (So what about the debt ceiling?), investors continue to put money in U.S. Treasuries and other debt instruments, bidding bond prices up and driiving yields down.  That is being reflected in very low mortgage interest rates.  In most markets there is still plenty of inventory available, and buyers are finding real value.  General economic uncertainty aside, I believe that buyers who stay on the sidelines over the next six to twelve months will find that they missed the best opportunity to become homeowners we have seen in many years.

I’ll have more to say about the Austin Metro market specifically when I update my Austin Market Dashboard over the next few days, but feel free to comment here, or call or text or email me and I’ll be happy to discuss specific questions or concerns.

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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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