The 2009 Austin real estate market saw most MLS Area sales stats decline somewhat. In fact, 2008 was a stronger year than 2009 on most metrics, though 2009 overall is not what anyone would term a “bad” year for Austin real estate, especially when compared to other U.S. real estate markets. Here is a summary of the breakdown:
Of the 50 Austin MLS areas tracked in the report below, 10 experienced an increase in average sold price. That’s only 20% of MLS areas enjoying a price increase compared to 64% of the Austin MLS areas with rising average prices in 2008.
Of the 50 Austin MLS areas tracked, 11 experienced an increase in median sold price. That’s 22% for 2009 compared to 60% of the Austin MLS areas with rising median sold prices in 2008.
Of the 50 Austin MLS areas tracked, only one (area 5E) experienced an increase in average sold price per square foot. That’s only 2% compared to 55% of the Austin MLS areas with rising sold prices per square foot in 2008.
Of the 50 Austin MLS areas tracked, NONE experienced an increase in ALL THREE of the above metrics – average, median and per sqft sold prices. That’s 0% for 2009 compared to 40% of the Austin MLS areas with rising metrics in the main three performance measurements for 2008.
Check the chart below to see how your area did.
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The Austin real estate market ended 2009 on an up note, with both average and median sold prices up more than 5% over Dec 2008. Oh, but wait … December 2008 was a dismal month because we all still thought the financial world was falling off a cliff. But the stats are what they are so let’s have a look.
Number of homes sold is down 4.39% from a year ago, which is a small decrease compared to the numbers we were seeing earlier this year. Average list price is up 3.71% to $276,387, Median List Price is up 5.22% to $199,900, Average sold price is up 5.15%, Median sold is up 5.39%, the Sold/List % is up 1.39% to 95.54%. And Average Price per Square Foot of sold homes is also up, by 1.11%, to $115.36.
Average Days on Market was up about 4% to 82 days, but Median Days on Market was down 14% to 48 days. The number of Not Sold was down also, though at 56% still a big number, but that’s normal for December when lots of sellers give up for the holidays.
Here is the chart showing Nov/Dec 2009 and Dec 2008 sales stats.
|Austin Real Estate Sales Market Update December 2009 Sales|
|Homes only (condos, duplexes, etc. not included) compiled from Austin MLS data|
|Nov 2009||Dec 2009||Dec 2008||Yr % Change|
|Avg $ SQFT||$114.69||$115.36||$114.10||1.11%|
|Not Sold %||46.30%||56.02%||57.39%||-2.37%|
So, that’s a bunch of numbers, but what does it all mean? Is the Austin real estate market rebounding from the slight decline of 2009? I think it is. 2010 will be better than 2009 for sellers. Buyers will still find plenty of good opportunities though.
The elementary school for a rental home I own looks like it’s going to be switched from Oak Hill Elementary to Patton Elementary. My rental home is located in Scenic Book West, shown in green/turquoise just to the left of the words “Oak Hill” on the map below. Note that kids in this neighborhood, who previously attended Oak Hill Elementary will now be driven, literally, right past Oak Hill elementary further down the road to Patton. This is to provide relief to Oak Hill Elementary, which is well over capacity and still growing. But these kids will still track into Small Middle and Bowie High.
In this case, because Oak Hill and Patton elementary schools are both solid, reasonably well regarded elementary schools, I don’t expect a negative impact to the value of my home. Therefore, when I attended a public meeting recently at Clayton Elementary regarding the boundary changes for Southwest Austin elementary schools, I mainly wanted to listen to what other home owners and parents had to say about some of the other proposed changes. Also, at that time, my neighborhood wasn’t slated to be switched, though I knew it was a possibility being considered.
One of the proposed changes to the boundary map would have carved out a small section of Village at Western Oaks which currently attends Mills Elementary (shown in magenta above) and sent those kids across Mopac to Boone Elementary, and a different Middle to High school track. Mills parents turned out in force to oppose this ridiculously stupid and offensive boundary change, which would have not only sent the affected kids to poorer performing schools on the other side of a major freeway (as opposed to current walking distance to Mills), but forever separated them school-socially from neighborhood friends living just blocks away.
This, in turn, would have likely resulted in many of the parents of the relocated kids deciding to sell their homes and relocate back within their desired school track, which in turn would have created a sudden inventory spike in a small pocket of now less desirable homes, due to the newly imposed inferior school track. And, finally, Realtors like me and Sylvia would advise buyers against buying in this oddball pocket of the Village at Western Oaks because we fear it won’t hold value as well as the surrounding homes attending better school tracks.
Do schools and school tracks affect housing demand and values in this way? Of course they do. In a major way. And, as a Realtor team that pushes the value buying and owning homes that attend good schools (whether you have kids or not), Sylvia and I think it’s important that buyers understand just how unreliable and impermanent some of the Austin ISD tracking maps can be. Why the shifting school boundary maps?
Maybe I should start terming my Austin real estate market update blogs “Austin Real Estate Market, as Influenced by the Federal Government”. Indeed, the word “market” does need an asterisk next to it for the Sept-Nov time frame in Austin. Instead of taking its natural course, whatever that might have been, the lower end of the market was stimulated by government incentives for the Latter part of 2009 through November, and the sub-$200K buyers responded. Thus we see on the graph below the drastic drop in the average and median sold price for November 2009 as the final batch of first time home buyer tax credit sales closed.
It’s not hard to see what the real estate market is doing, but it is hard to know for sure why it’s doing it, or, that is, to what extent the number of sales (way up) and the average/median values (down) are influenced by these the artificially low interest rates and the buyer incentives, both being caused by government intervention in the market. Some economist believe that once these stimulus measures peter out, as they will later this year, the national real estate market is in for another big drop in prices as foreclosures will snowball to the highest levels we’ve seen yet.
So what does all of this mean for Austin? Is Austin real estate in generally good enough shape to ride it out better than most markets? I think so. Let’s have a look at the November stats.