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THE FLIGHT TO
CITY OF AUSTIN MEDIAN HOUSEHOLD INCOME
Homes in the Austin metro area surpassed the $425,000 median sales price in 2021, and while rst-time homebuyers or families looking for a more aordable house could traditionally look away from the city, data shows even the surrounding communities are following the same rapid price growth pattern. Appraisal district data for 2021 is preliminary and does not yet include the result of property owners’ protesting their appraisals. affordability
WILLIAMSON COUNTY TRAVIS COUNTY
Total value: $200B $150B
*MOST RECENT YEAR AVAILABLE
AUSTIN METRO MEDIAN Sales price
*YEAR TO DATE AS OF MAY
2016 2020 2021
2016 2020 2021
DESIGNED BY RACHAL RUSSELL
SOURCES: AUSTIN BOARD OF REALTORS, TRAVIS CENTRAL APPRAISAL DISTRICT, U.S. CENSUS BUREAU, WILLIAMSON CENTRAL APPRAISAL DISTRICTCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER
*2021 VALUES ARE PRELIMINARY BECAUSE APPRAISAL DISTRICTS HAVE NOT YET PROCESSED APPEALS
Fox said she and her team look for houses an hour and a half in any direction from the center of Austin. Where before homebuyers with a budget of around $250,000 could aord to live in their ideal home in Williamson County, now Fox said she has had to show those same buyers homes outside the area, including Burnet County, or even much further south, near San Antonio. Alternatives to single family Adrianne Craft, a real estate broker who is licensed with Keller Williams Realty, agreed buyers are hav- ing a truly dicult time nding homes. “A year ago, I would say that buyers could be a little bit pickier as far as the condition of a home goes,” Craft said. “A buyer may choose a house over another house because it doesn’t have carpet, or it has white cabinets. …Whereas now, buyers are hav- ing to just concede on everything.” Craft added that every deal she has brokered this year has seen multiple oers for which homes are typically selling for 10%-20% over asking price. This is a situation that frequently disfavors rst-time buy- ers, especially those seeking single-family homes, which account for the vast majority of homes on the market at any given time, she said. One solution ocials in cities throughout the greater Austin metro area have been examining over the last several years involves diversication of home types. Dan Parolek, CEO of Opticos Design, a California rm that helps collaborate on housing and com- munity issues, has given many presentations to city ocials throughout Central Texas, from New Braunfels to Austin. Parolek’s presentations center on a concept called missing middle housing. This involves homes such as duplexes and townhouses to build- ings with eight units. They are usually walkable, meaning they are located near business or city cen- ters that have popular amenities. These options, Parolek said, oer more aordabil- ity for people including rst-time buyers who cannot make cash oers in order to become homeowners. “Every market, regardless of how big the city, has been impacted pretty dramatically by the increase in costs,” Parolek said. “It’s become harder for … sort
That breakneck pace of price increases cannot last forever, ABoR president Susan Horton said. Eventu- ally, she said she expects the price to return to some level of normalcy, although that could take years as supply catches up with demand. “The builders can’t build [homes] fast enough to get us where we need to be to accommodate the growth into the metropolitan area,” Horton said. A seller’smarket As housing prices rise in Travis County, buyers have turned to outside of Austin for homes, raising prices in Williamson County. In January 2020, the median sales price in Wil- liamson County was just under $280,000, according to ABoR’S market report. As of May 2021, the median sales price reached $435,000. The report also shows houses spending less time on the market, going from selling in an average of 63 days in January 2020 to 10 days as of May 2021. Renee Fox, broker and owner of Fox Realty, said in the approximately nine years she’s lived in Central Texas, residential real estate has been a market that benets sellers over buyers. However, she said she has not seen a seller’s mar- ket come close to the current trend. During the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Fox said typical real estate trends including moving and downsizing were put on pause. Usually newhomes are a popular option for home- buyers trying to avoid competition. Now there are waitlists for new builds along with supply shortages causing extended construction timelines.
ACentral Texas seller’s market illuminatesnew trends for homebuyers
BY LAUREN CANTERBERRY, JACK FLAGLER & BRIAN RASH
Eric Bramlett has been a real estate agent in Cen- tral Texas for 18 years, and said since the end of the 2008 economic recession, the local housing market has been consistently strong, following consistent seasonal patterns and holding relatively steady in total sales and price. But something happened around the middle of 2020 that led the market to take o, according to realtors and economists. Due to the increase in telework brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, they said, many newly remote workers moved in from other, more expensive, cities, no longer tied to their commutes. Locally, employees using their homes as oce space thought dierently about their needs. While unemployment levels reached the double-digits nationwide, those who did keep their jobs built up disposable income. “We were the hottest market, and we essentially dumped gasoline on it,” Bramlett said. Before July 2020, the monthly median home sales price in theAustin-RoundRockmetropolitan area had never reached $350,000. It surpassed $400,000 in March 2021, then reached $465,000 in May, the most recent month data is available from the Austin Board of Realtors. That is a 27.4% increase from January. Those incredibly rapid price increases are creat- ing an aordability challenge, said James Gaines, a research economist with Texas A&M University’s Texas Real Estate Center. “You don’t have to have a Ph.D in economics to understand that if prices go up faster than incomes, and home aordability is based on the relationship between income and price, then [homeownership] becoming less aordable,” Gaines said.
Every market, regardless of how big the city, has been impacted pretty dramatically by the increase in costs. It’s become harder for … sort of entry-level households to purchase homes.
DAN PAROLEK, CEO OF OPTICOS DESIGN
COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM
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