Single-family home sales experienced double-digit growth across the Austin-Round Rock Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) in November, according to the November 2016 Central Texas Housing Market Report released today by the Austin Board of REALTORS®.
Aaron Farmer, 2016 President of the Austin Board of REALTORS® said, “This end-of-year surge in home sales is an unusual and welcome surprise to what’s typically the lowest months for Central Texas home sales volume during the year. Home sales throughout 2016 continue to be fueled by our region’s steady population growth. At the current pace, 2016 will likely turn out to be another record year for Central Texas home sales.”
Single-family home sales in the Austin-Round Rock MSA jumped 15.8 percent year-over-year to 2,055 home sales in November 2016, while home sales in the city of Austin jumped 13.7 percent annually to 656 home sales. This double-digit growth was evident in Hays, Travis and Williamson Counties as well in November 2016, with single-family home sales experiencing annual gains of 24.2 percent, 11.3 percent, and 14.7 percent, respectively.
“Uncertainty regarding the election led to a relatively sluggish economy in August and September. It appeared that many buyers were waiting to see how the election turned out before deciding to buy,” said Mark Sprague, state director of information capital for Independence Title. “Rising interest rates are also likely encouraging more people to buy a home. Millennial homebuyers, who comprise 51 percent of the Central Texas market, have never experienced an interest rate greater than four percent and thus could be motivated to buy sooner.”
Home prices continued to climb in November 2016, but at a slower pace than in previous months. In the Austin-Round Rock MSA, median home price increased 7.0 percent year-over-year to $294,245, while median price in the city of Austin increased 4.0 percent year-over-year to $342,000. The exception was Williamson County, which experienced a 12.1 percent annual increase in median price to $275,000.
Housing inventory levels remained largely flat throughout the Central Texas region in November 2016. In the Austin-Round Rock MSA, monthly housing inventory levels remained flat at 2.3 months. In the city of Austin, housing inventory crept up 0.1 months year-over-year to 1.9 months. The Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University cites that a balance of housing supply and demand is achieved when housing supply levels are between 6.0 and 6.5 months of inventory.
“Housing inventory will continue to be one of the biggest challenges facing the Central Texas housing market in 2017,” added Farmer. “In some local markets such as Round Rock, inventory levels have fallen below 1.0 months, which means that available housing stock is practically non-existent. It’s critical that our cities’ leaders begin to look at housing affordability not as just an Austin issue, but an issue affecting our entire region.”