Austin Real Estate 2013, Year in Review & 2014 Forecast

Well, the numbers are mostly in now and we can say with confidence, 2013 was a year to remember! It was a year filled with challenges and opportunities for buyers and sellers alike. Record low interest rates, the likes of which we will no doubt never see again and rising home prices made for a dynamic and exciting ride. 2013 was a good year for most, but with new opportunities always comes new challenges. The biggest challenge of last year (and probably one of this year's challenges as well) was the number of available homes vs the number of clients in need of a new home. The challenge of home appraisal for a fast moving market was also a factor for many sellers in 2013. Austin is growing fast, and the growing pains were clear in virtually every Real Estate deal of 2013. 

So, what happened in Greater Austin in 2013? 
Here are the numbers:

Greater Austin Total Sold Units: 30,637*
  • Sold in Travis County: 16,466
  • Sold in Williamson County: 9,516 
  • Single Family Homes: 26,934
  • Median Price Single Family: $225,000
  • Median Days on Market: 20 days
  • Condos and Townhouses: 3,153
  • Median Price Condo/Townhouses: $195,636
  • Median Days on Market: 20 days
  • Inventory situation: Low. 2-3 months of inventory
  • These numbers do not include Multi-family duplexes and quads 

Comparison to the past Decade:
  • 2006 was the peak year of the past decade
  • 2006 Sold: 30,295 homes
  • Median home price: $171,500
  • 2013 was a record year in Austin Real Estate in price and units sold

2014 Current Market Numbers:
  • Active Listings: 4,960
  • Pending Contracts: 2,646
  • Past 90 Day Consumption Rate: 2,068 homes per month
  • Inventory level: 2.4 months

New Home Growth Areas:
There are many pockets inside of Austin that are still growing by a few houses at a time, but there are some areas where entire communities are bursting from the ground and changing the map in unbelievable ways. The biggest areas of growth are being seen in the SW and NW areas of our Greater Austin area (including areas such as Leander and Liberty Hill as well as the communities that run West of the Oak Hill Y and West 620 and Hwy 71). Last remaining remnants of land in Round Rock ETJ and Cedar Park are getting built out almost as fast as the ink drys on the contracts to purchase the land. Unfortunately, the land that is close-in to any of the metro areas is either completely built out or privately held. And all the little parcels of land that are privately held are slowly becoming built into new homes--both inside the Austin city limits, and in every other city boundary of the Greater Austin area.

Areas that were once considered to be "North Dallas" or too far to commute to downtown Austin have become daily commutes for new residents. This is especially true for those wanting to live in a home that is bigger than their SUV and a budget that is around the price of the median priced homes of our area. Never the less, in Real Estate, there are a variety of needs and desires, including those who would rather pay more and live in a smaller home that is close to all the things that the downtown Austin area has to offer. (I myself lived in an 800 sf condo in the Central Business District of Hong Kong during a past life, so I do understand the desire to live in the heart of a thriving city).

Those areas to continue to watch grow in the coming year should include:
  • Leander South
  • Cedar Park North
  • Round Rock North East
  • South 620 Corridor and heading West
  • Avery Ranch Extensions
  • West of Oak Hill Y
  • South and East of Downtown on the river
  • Hwy 71 West corridor
  • 290 West corridor
  • East of downtown Austin
This may or may not be a break out year for the areas hit hardest by foreclosures, but I believe these areas are positioned for a very slow recovery over the next 3-6 years. Some areas were hit hard and some were hit very hard. Buyer's should know what they are doing before investing in such areas.

And no year-end report would be complete without mentioning the Westwood High School communities. In 2013, many of these communities had a Median Days on Market of ~3 days. Yes, that means 50% of the homes went under contract during the first 3 days on the market. Demand was high and remains high and inventory continues to be low. 2014 will probably continue with more of the same in these communities as the demand to get children into some of the finest clusters of schools in Greater Austin at prices below $600,000 continues.

*NOTE: These numbers continue to grow by several homes per day due to agents entering information into the MLS late.

NOTE: These numbers are select sets of numbers and do not represent the whole story of this market or any market. Every metro, every community and every street is different and should be addressed by an expert in Real Estate to determine market value and sales strategy. I would be happy to help you make determinations about your home, whether you are buying or selling, give me a call to discuss your needs specifically.

Happy New Year, Austin!

Tim Thornton


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