Home Prices On the Rise

Austin is appreciating...I received a call last week asking me about my take on why the Austin market is going down. Real Estate statistics and numbers can be difficult to because the information that you may be looking for is not always the data that is being reported. Because everyone likes to talk casually about what is happening in Real Estate these days, the wrong information can be promoted in conversation as the state of the market, when in fact your friend, family member or colleague may have heard the right number--about the wrong information or statistic. It is easy to make this mistake.

These numbers are a good example of how numbers get misconstrued (see chart below): Sales in Austin proper for the month of August were down. That's Sales Unit Volume. Sales for the month of August were also UP for the month of August--that's Sales Price (appreciation of the median price of homes sold). And this is a Year-Over-Year calculation for the month of August. Confused yet?

If you like to play with numbers, you probably enjoy playing with the stats, but if you are an Austin area home buyer, here is what is really important to know. Inventory is fairly balanced in terms of supply and demand. This means that neither the seller nor the buyer has a significant upper hand right now. Prices are generally up in many communities, but there are still deals to be had with a savvy Realtor, and the right opportunity/community. The number of buyers that are out there are not as high as last year at this time, but this could be due partially to the front end loading of the year for first time home buyers who bought before June 30th this year. This time of year is ideal for finding deals in certain situations.

With interest rates as low as they are now, buyers are still generally coming out ahead of this 5% appreciation. Low rates have a significant impact on cost savings--much more than most buyers are able to achieve through aggressive negotiations.


Here is how select Texas cities fared in August (data current as of Sept. 23, 2010):

Sales
Change from
Last Year
Median
Price
Change from
Last Year
Months'
Inventory
Amarillo
247
no change
$130,300
up 4%
6.8
Austin
1,670
down 15%
$196,500
up 5%
7.1
Corpus Christi
317
no change
$148,500
up 8%
11.2
Dallas
3,393
down 19%
$166,900
up 5%
7.2
El Paso
437
down 10%
$137,300
up 6%
6.9
Fort Worth
674
down 14%
$119,000
up 1%
7.3
Harlingen
64
down 25%
$96,700
up 3%
26.2
Houston
4,619
down 16%
$157,500
down 1%
8
Killeen-Fort Hood
189
down 28%
$128,100
up 1%
7.8
Lubbock
251
down 13%
$111,700
down 3%
7.4
Odessa
86
up 34%
$150,000
up 32%
4.6
San Antonio
1,646
down 9%
$157,800
up 7%
8.3
Tyler
238
down 15%
$143,100
up 10% 
13.4
Wichita Falls
130
down 5%
$96,000
down 12% 
8.4
Texas
17,017
down 14%
$152,900
up 1.9%
7.9


[This chart was created by the Texas Real Estate Center, a state based research institution at Texas A&M University. The Center tracks and reports on all things about Texas Real Estate.]

Like most financial decision points, some times it is better to get in earlier, rather than waiting until things go up more and regret not having acted earlier.

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