In a recent post (What’s underneath the home price rise?) I made the point that discussions of “market average” and “market median” prices have limited value in thinking about the value of any specific property. Even in the very fast-moving Austin metropolitan market area, where the area-wide average residential sale price increased almost 15% last year, there are neighborhoods where sales are slow and where average prices actually trended downward in 2012.
That snapshot covers all of our 5-county metro area for the 4th quarter of 2012. The average and median sale prices were $278,407 and $205,000 respectively — very near the monthly figures I showed in that earlier post. Averages hide extremes, however, like the fact that sale prices in the Austin metropolitan area ranged from $16,000 to $5,650,000 over the last three months of last year!
Market velocity is equally variable. Most cities in the U.S. certainly envy median Days On Market of 37 days, but at least one property finally sold late in 2012, after more than 2 1/2 years on the market! (To avoid taking this too far, I’ll point out that the very odd-looking Sale Price/Original List Price ratio is undoubtedly the result of a typo in initial data entry — a misplaced decimal or an extra zero. I have studied enough of these reports to be confident in the other calculations, though.)
So, how does that data break down among the various “regions” identified in our MLS system? Here’s a summary:
You can see why the average price of about $278,000 in “Austin” is not especially helpful in more specific discussions of property values. You can also see why my answer to the perennial question, “What’s the price per square foot in Austin?” is always, “It depends.”
The chart above still focuses on activity in the 4th quarter of 2012, and there are some issues of small sample-size toward the bottom of that summary. Still, it thoroughly demonstrates the extreme differences in market behavior and property values from one part of town to another. If you are interested in the next level of detail, click here. Beyond that, give me a call to discuss your specific situation and questions.