Sylvia and I usually attend an annual Austin Real Estate Economic Update to find out what the coming year holds. This year, I exclaimed to her, “Why bother? It’s going to be full tilt boogie, just like 2013“. I mean, Austin is rumbling along with all cylinders firing. There is nothing I need to hear about 2014 that I don’t already know. We’re gonna be working our butts off and house prices are going to keep rising.
For many, this is good news. If you’re going to sell a home in Austin this Spring or Summer, you’ll be happy. If you’re buying a home in Austin, you better have an “A Game”, and you better be ready to bring it. And I mean bring it. You don’t buy a house in Austin anymore, you compete for one. Oddly, you’ll be happy too, when you finally win a multiple bid competition and pay too much for a house.
Many of our Realtor friends had record production years in 2013, as did Sylvia and I. Most are looking forward to another busy year in 2014. But I don’t like it. I don’t want to be this busy. And I think, to some degree, these manic real estate swings and rising values are ruining Austin, and the real estate profession. Everything has become hyper-instant. Everything is Urgent. Sylvia called on a new listing the morning of Jan 2nd which had already gone under contract with 7 offers New Years Day. This wasn’t even in a “hot” area. Why aren’t people sleeping in on New Year’s Day instead of out fighting over a house?
I know. It’s a weird thing to complain about, being busy, doing well, enjoying professional success. Shame on me. Read more …
This isn’t a full-blown market update, but I wanted to post a few graphs real quick to show current market activity and movement. Let’s start with the graph below showing Average and Median Sold values for homes in Austin for the past 49 months.
So, what looked like a pretty bleak December/January (lowest of lows for past 49 months. See the previous bottoms) quickly turned into an upswing. This isn’t necessarily unusual. In fact, if you look back at every May in the chart, that’s when the price peaks normally occur, and we’re heading that direction again this year. What is unusual is the fast and sudden absorption rate of homes combined with shrinking inventory. This is a sudden “spike”, at minimum, and may develop into a sustained upswing. I’ve been monitoring this and don’t see any let-up yet.
Let’s look at the Active/Pending chart below.
Above, we see the aftermath of the Tech Bust in 2000/2001, and what happened to the Austin sales market in 2003. For 2003 there was an inverted Sold/Not Sold ratio. More listings failed to sell than actually sold. That’s a really weak, sour market when that happens. Dismal in fact. But then it happened again in 2010 in Austin. More sellers gave up (Expired or Withdrew) than successfully sold their homes in Austin. 2010 was the 4th year in a row of declining sales volume.
Then in 2011, we see these lines achieving separation again as the number of failed sales drops and the number of closed sales increases. And the separation is sudden and pronounced, indicating very strong buyer demand.
Now let’s see what that graph would look like for just the first 3 months of 2012.
Finally, a top 10 list that spares Austin the humiliation of being listed on yet another Top 10. Let all Austinites inhale a deep breath of humility. This top 10 is a list of the top one-way U-Haul rental destinations.
From the press release:
U-Haul compiles the list based on more than 1 million U-Haul one-way truck rentals to and from municipalities with more than 5,000 families moving in or out of the area. “Growth cities were then determined by calculating the percentage of inbound moves vs. outbound moves for each area,” explained John “J.T.” Taylor, U-Haul president of Phoenix Operations.
The top municipalities were:
1. Bronx, N.Y.
3. Portland, Ore.
5. Los Angeles
7. Tampa, Fla.
8. Orlando, Fla.
9. Charlotte, N.C.
10. Van Nuys, Calif.
I don’t know anything about the real estate markets in the above 10 cities – or do I? I know it costs a lot more to drive a one-way U-Haul rental to one of those cities than away from it. And I know it costs more because too many U-Haul trucks are piling up in these destination cities. And why are they piling up? Obviously because people are moving there. And since all those people will either need to rent or buy a home, that tells me the probable direction of the real estate market in those areas. And it’s the direction in which a real estate market is heading that most determines the behavior of buyers and sellers, and thus pricing trends. Thus the seemingly ridiculous proclamation in the title of this blog, Everything You Need to Know About Real Estate is at U-Haul.com.
The U-Haul rental cost calculator is an interesting tool to play with. It provides a migration snapshot, through the pricing differentials, of where too many U-Haul trucks are piling up and where they are in short supply. For example, let’s price a rental between Detroit to Austin and check the price gap depending on which way you’re heading.
Read more …