Central Texas March housing market data is out and the numbers certainly reflect the madness active participants have experienced first hand. The Austin real estate market continues to soar at a record pace. One thing to note here is that we essentially hit the pause button last year on March 13. Was I essential? Could I still show homes? When could we leave our home? I’m not saying it’s not crazy out there, but comparing March YOY specifically is a bit of an outlier in terms of data. Time will tell.
Central Texas March Housing Report
According to the Austin Board of REALTORS®’ latest Central Texas Housing Report, sales volume lost due to the February storms was recovered in March and the median price for a home in the MSA rose by 28.8% compared to last year, hitting an all-time high of $425,000.
Across the five-county MSA in March, home sales increased 13.1% year over year to 3,603—a record for the month of March. At the same time, active listings plummeted 78.3% to 1,202 listings, keeping housing inventory at a record-low 0.4 months of inventory, or 1.4 fewer months than in March 2020.
Moving to Austin
“The Austin-Round Rock MSA is one of the fastest-growing in the country, people want to live here, and job creators see an opportunity to be successful here,” Susan Horton, 2021 ABoR President, said. “Austin is investing in infrastructure and businesses are working to harness this growth and opportunity, but with opportunity comes challenges. Our housing market is undergoing growing pains and creating a paradox—affordable from the outside looking in, but increasingly unaffordable for those who already call Austin home. While more homes are selling than ever before, it’s more and more difficult to find one.”
In March, sales dollar volume jumped by 51.6% to $1,997,794,869, new listings fell 1.3% to 4,206 new listings and pending sales increased 42.8% to 4,200 pending sales. Homes spent half as much time on the market (52.7%) as in March 2020, selling in 26 days on average.
Dr. Jim Gaines, an economist at the Real Estate Research Center at Texas A&M University, stated that rapid home price growth and shrinking housing inventory levels are impacting housing markets across major metros in Texas and nationally.
“While Austin leads the state in-home price growth, this trend is also happening in Houston, Dallas-Fort Worth, and San Antonio due to high demand and limited housing supply. For a market that has experienced several decades of strong population and employment growth, significant gains in both sales activity and housing costs across the region are to be expected as Austin expands into a large metropolitan area.”
Austin Real Estate Market
Gaines added that Austin’s housing demand is benefiting from historically being less expensive than other major metropolitan areas across the country.
“Austin real estate is still a bargain by national standards. Compared to similarly competitive markets in cities like Denver and Atlanta, which are also experiencing rapid population and home price growth, Austin is coming from a stronger position in terms of affordability. There is a reason so many transplants, especially from the east and west coasts, are coming to Austin; they can buy more house for their money than what they could in the cities they are leaving behind.”
Despite the tight market conditions in Austin, Horton stated there are opportunities in the region for potential buyers and renters if you have a REALTOR® to guide you through the process. “With an average closing price of 108% of list price across the Austin area, the decades-old expectations of submitting a lower offer and negotiating up is no longer a reality. Homebuyers and renters must carefully weigh costs, location, and housing features to determine what’s essential and where there is flexibility for tradeoffs. Your REALTOR® can help you weigh those options, set clear expectations on what’s feasible, and manage complex negotiations on your behalf when an offer is accepted.”