The Austin real estate market finished 2010 with increased overall sales prices. The market is roughly a bit higher than the peak 2007 values. See the graph below for an illustration of Austin home sales values from 1999 through 2010.
The graph can be deceiving though. It simply represents the cumulative data from all MLS sales. Certainly, most homes in Austin are at or still below the 2007 values. Some are significantly below the 2007 values, especially in the high end at $500K and above. For the entire year of 2010, 48% of all MLS listings departed the MLS as a failed sales effort (expired or withdrawn). Anytime half the listings are not finding buyers, it’s a tough market for sellers overall.
On the flip side, 2010 was not exactly a “buyer’s market” in Austin. There was little to no “low hanging fruit” to be plucked from the market. Sellers were, for the most part, not crying Uncle and were not dropping prices drastically. Yes, we have anecdotal examples of some good deals that were had by some buyers, but most buyers were simply frustrated at the difference between the perceived “buyer’s market” and the actual reality of trying to find a great home at a great price.
The only winners in 2010 were the sellers who were fortunate enough to sell quickly at an acceptable price, and the buyers who allowed for themselves enough flexibility and patience to eventually find the right combination of motivated seller and acceptable home. It was not a good year for picky buyers with narrow parameters, as they kept running into stubborn sellers unwilling to negotiate to the degree buyers thought warranted by market conditions.
Year 2011 will be more of the same in the Austin real estate market, but volume will pick up and I believe sellers will start enjoying a slightly better market. 2012 is the year that things will really bust loose again, in my opinion, but we’ll see. 2011 may have a surprise upswing in store if job growth continues to pick up in Austin. More market stats below.
The following graph illustrates the ups and downs in market prices over the past 35 months in Austin.
The graph above is a month by month picture of medain and average sold values in Austin. As you can see, the market swings up and down quite a bit, but for the most part, remains within a range close to $250K for average sold price and $190K for median price. Both median and average sold prices ended the 35 month period not far from where they started on the graph. The market started trying to bust out of that range about 7 months ago (following the end of the tax credit sales, and thus an artificial bump in sold values) but has settled back in to the range. When we start to see a stead, sustained climb, we’ll know that prices are heading up again for good.
Below is the 2010/2011 comparison chart in table format. The green fields represent “improvements” in market values ad activity, the red fields show movement in a direction that would favor buyers. As you can see, 2010 looked better for sellers than it did for buyers, the high numbers of expired and withdrawn not withstanding. In other words, buyers who’ve decided to sit out the market the past couple of years waiting for values to plunge have not seen that happen.
|Austin Sales Market Update – End of Year 2010|
|Homes only (no condos, duplexes, etc) – Data from Austin MLS|
|Jan-Dec 10||Jan-Dec 09||Yr % Change|
|Avg $ SQFT||$115.26||$112.89||2.10%|
|Not Sold %||47.80%||43.79%||9.15%|
As you can see above, the ups and downs are fairly moderate. And it was such a weird year due to the economy and the tax credit sales that it’s harder to place real meaning on the numbers than it would be in a completely normal market operating with fewer external factors. As usual, comments, observations and opinions are welcome. I’ll be working on the breakdown by specific areas next week and we’ll see if there were any clear winners or losers from a geographic standpoint.