Back to the Future

Someone asked me last week if selling her house next year would mean selling higher than this year. I responded by telling her if I could predict the future like that – I’d be a very rich lady. When I list a house and even when I represent a buyer I look at trends in the market. Market tends vary about every 3 months based on how inventory is moving, what houses have sold for and what houses entering the market are being listed for. Housing prices are a reflection of both national and global economic factors that affect interest rates, the stock market, the bond market and employment rates to name a few. The volatility of market conditions makes it impossible to predict what your house will sell for a year from now. Sometimes I do go back a year, but it’s not to price a house – it’s just to tell a story.

As I often say, markets are local and that is often widdled down to a particular subdivision or specific condo community. There are markets that are in high demand. Markets can be defined as a subdivision, school district, zip code, etc. So, looking back in time longer than 3 months helps me tell the story of that particular market because – although the list price can’t be predicted a year from now, how hot a specific market is generally can. Price is a moment in time.

I’ll give you an example most people familiar with Austin can relate to, which is zip code 78704. Zip code 78704 is the southern neighbor of Austin’s downtown district. Many consider it downtown and although it certainly has an urban flare, it has a bit more of a small town feeling than a cityscape. Zip code 78704 is the home of Zilker Park and the SoCo, SoLa and SoFi districts which are all popular for their local eateries and shopping. The local amenities coupled with the vast array of affordablility due to a large variety a price points makes 78704 not only hot, but consistently hot. Inventory moves here and will always move here because of the location.

Austin Real Estate Market

Let’s look at the over all story of the Austin market over the first 6 months of 2011 vs the first 6 months of 2010.

  • There were 584 less homes sold in 2011 than in 2010. 
  • The sales volume is 3 million dollars higher than 2010.
  • The average sales price is $14,000 higher in 2010 ($255,000 in 2011 vs. $241,000 in 2010).
  • The median sales price was also up for the first half of 2011: $191,000 vs. $185,000 in 2010.

 So, overall houses there are slightly less houses selling, but those that are – are selling for more money. Austin is looking good.