Austin Sales Stats – July 2006

I’ve put together some stats for July 2006 sales. Homes only, no condos, townhomes, etc. Usually I just grab the chart that ABOR puts up in the Realtor area of the website, but that chart doesn’t break things down into different areas, so this month I decided to do something different. Looks like the average sales price in the Austin MLS overall has increased about 8% since last year, but look at the breakdown of different parts of Austin and you’ll see that, with a 12% increase, Austin proper is still outperforming all other areas except Westlake, which has a whopper of an increase at 49% (the smaller sample size may account for this spike, but Westlake is no doubt a very desiearble area with the best schools in Central Texas).

Looking at the areas I’m always telling buyers and investors to stay away from, we see why. Hutto/Manor/Elgin, the cheap areas northeast of Austin with tons of cheap new homes have 0% appreciation the past year. Pflugerville surprises me though. I was talking with some agents the other day who told me sales in PF are very slow. One had a new listing that received its first showing after 3 weeks on the market. So I’m not sure how to explain the 8% increase in average sales price. I’ll have to dig deeper and see if there is a new home neighborhood up there driving up the average and hurting the resale activity. That’s my first guess.

Otherwise, a 12% increase in Austin is exactly what we want. We don’t need 15% to 30% appreciation, though many new investors are hoping for that. Measured, steady growth and appreciation is much better in the long run.


Austin Sales Stats July 2006
Previous Month and Year Comparison
All MLS Areas – Houses Only
June 2006
July 2006
July 2005
Yr % Change
# Sold
Avg List Price
Median List Price
Avg Sold Price
Median Sold Price
Avg Size SQFT
Median SQFT
Avg $ per SQFT
Avg Days on Mkt
Median Days on Mkt
Austin July 2006 Average Sales Breakdown by City/Area
June 2006
July 2006
July 2005
Yr % Change
Round Rock
Cedar Park/Leander
Dripping Springs
Lake Travis ISD
Westlake/Eanes ISD


14 thoughts on “Austin Sales Stats – July 2006”

  1. Which MLS areas are considered “Austin”? I live in Avery Ranch which is technically Austin (according to the Post Office), but it’s probably priced as Cedar Park. Also, what do you think of the new Muller redevelopment of the old airport site? Dripping Springs is nice, but traffic must be a nightmare out there and it seems there’s no solution to the problem because much of the area is environmentally sensitive.

  2. Hi Leon,

    Avery Ranch is split between MLS areas ‘CL’ (Cedar Park/Leander) and ‘RR’ (Round Rock), depending on the schoold you attend. I think Parmer Lane is the dividing line. Austin annexed the area about 7 years ago I think. So you pay City of Austin property taxes, school taxes to either Leander or Round Rock, and Williamson County property taxes, plus Brushy Creek MUD for water. It’s a real mixed bag up there.

    I personally don’t consider Avery Ranch part of ‘Austin’. It’s geographically more connected to Round Rock. I have a hard time thinking of anything north of RR 620 as “Austin”, but technically you do live in Austin.

    I’m glad you asked though because it brings up a point with the way I segment sales and leasing data. For Austin, I just limit the city field to “Austin”. But for Round Rock, I select the MLS area RR. This means some homes are being counted twice, both in the RR stats and the Austin stats. There is bleedover in other areas as well. Our MLS naming system needs improvement, but it’s actually much more complicated to draw the lines than one would think. There is in fact no way to do it without having crossover of boundaries that some people consider more important than others.

    For example, should MLS Area RR be limited to Round Rock Schools? or the City of Round Rock? Should it exclude RR school areas that are City of Austin? Part of Round Rock is in Travis County and attends Pflugerville ISD.

    Buyers use schools as a boundary more than they do city names. I personally like zip codes, but even zip codes are sometimes changed by the post office.

    So, whatever stats I produce can be subject to those imperfections.

  3. Steve,

    Where exactly did you get these #’s from. I look at the ABOR .pdf file once a month with all these stats and they have average price of $245,328 and 2721 sales for single family for July/06, similarly for all the other #’s

    I did notice that typically #’s for previous months will change as well every month. I wonder if they consider a sale that was listed last june but closed today as belonging to the past year and update the stats accordingly.

  4. Btw, I just looked at the ABOR compiled stats and noticed that for area HU avg price increased $138,351 to $147,453 and for MA it’s $143,339 to $154,177, however for Manor $/sq.ft. actually dropped a bit and sale/list ratio went down.

    Do you compile these numbers manually from MLS?

  5. Hi Jim,

    Stats are pulled straight from MLS – houses only – no townhomes, garden home, condos, etc. Typically, I select Status=Sold (along with the sold date range), Property Type=House, and either MLS areas or city name, and click the “statistics” button in the search window.

    For Hutto, Manor, Elgin, I select “HU,MA,EL” as the MLS areas, but no city names. The numbers you see above are the correct results. I’m not sure where ABOR came up with the numbers you are quoting unless Elgin pulls the average of the other two down substantially. I group those three area because they are all North East of Austin, all three have substantial new construction happening, and all are along the new 130 corridore. Also, even grouped together, there are only 71 sales for July – not a large sample size.

    But now I’m curious so I’ll probably do another breakout of just standalone MLS areas and post it online when I get some time.

  6. Yes, that’s the difference. Area EL shows a sharp drop, while the other two are moderately increasing.

    Btw, I think ABOR calculates the data differently. For example, a sale that closes in July may have gone under contract in May. You’re going to add it to July results, while ABOR applies it to May results. That’s why I see previous months’ results updated in that report they release. I think this is a more accurate portrayal of the market, since it reflects market forces for the month when the offer was made. So a listing that gets an offer today but closes in December should be counted as an August sale.

    In fact, ABOR’s stats will say that current month’s (July, for example) data is preliminary. That just means not every contract that originated in July has closed yet. I don’t know if it makes much of a difference for comparing with previous years, but I get $245328 average sale price for July, while you get $248324. You may have in there sales that originated in June but closed in July, so they reflect the higher june average prices.

  7. > So a listing that gets an offer today but closes in December should be counted as an August sale.

    No, it’s counted as a December sale. It’s not a sale until it closes, and it’s counted for the month it closes. Searches for sales data in a particular time perios are segmented by closing date only. None of the other dates matter, except for calculating Days on Market. The Pending date will affect only the ADOM (Active Days on Market) and stops that number from increasing.

    So a home can go on sale Sept 1, Pending on Sept 2, and close on October 15th and it will be an October sale that sold in 1 day.

  8. > Yes, that’s the difference. Area EL shows a sharp drop, while the other two are moderately increasing.

    Also, look at June 2006 compared to July 2006 for MA, EL, HU. We know homes didn’t drop $14K in value, so the difference is a function of sample size more than anything. Over time, the trends work themselves out, but any given month can show dramatic swings when the sample sizes are smaller. Westlake for example shows a 49% appreciation in average prices. I know Westlake is in fact higher than a year ago, but 49% seems a bit high. So we look at that number and take note, but as an investor I wouldn’t rely on a single piece of data like that without further analysis.

  9. So a home can go on sale Sept 1, Pending on Sept 2, and close on October 15th and it will be an October sale that sold in 1 day.

    What I meant to say is this scenario SHOULD be a September sale. If you think about it, the numbers are supposed to reflect what buyers are willing to pay in a given month, and it shouldn’t matter when the sale closes, only when an offer was made. That’s the whole point of the statistics. If on October 1st, a hurricane happens and all of Austin is wiped out, does that mean that all those pending sales from September or August accurately reflect the October market? I think not.

    That’s why the ABOR data is off from yours. They show 2721 sales so far. They count some sales closed in August that went pending in July. I guarantee you next month’s data will have an even higher number, as July pending sales that close in August or early September will be added. This is a much more accurate way of doing it and represents the true market prices.

  10. > What I meant to say is this scenario SHOULD be a September sale.
    Yeah, I understand your point. It’s just one of those things that is imperfect. I bought a house once in 4 days. I’ve done deals that took 90 days to close, for various reasons. But most deals do in fact close in about 30 days and therefore the data normalizes over time as the pricing lag applied uniformly to all sales data.

    > That’s why the ABOR data is off from yours. They show 2721 sales so far. They count some sales closed in August that went pending in July.

    They shouldn’t be doing that. The closing date shoul be the only determining factor as to which month a sale is recorded. I think the variance in ABOR data and mine is that they include Garden Homes and Townhomes as “houses” instead of condos. I’d have to fiddle with the searches and see what combination results in a match with their data, but to me, a single family home is a single family home and I don’t mix them with garden homes or townhouses when looking at stats.

    Thanks for your feedback and comments. Much appreciated.

  11. Hey Steve,

    I moved from Phoenix, Az to Austin, Tx and ended up purchasing a home in Manor, Tx. We didn’t know much about the areas here when we came down here to purchase a home, but my wife feel in love with the Shadowglen Community. We put in an immaterial amount to get the house and it is still in construction.

    Should I consider backing out of the home? We do not plan on moving any time soon (Figure we are going to live there at least 10 years) and for the price we paid for it, we could probably get a home in Round Rock with similar features less the master planned community. What are you thoughts?

  12. Hi Mark,

    > Should I consider backing out of the home?

    As a husband, I can say I’ve never regretting doing whatever makes my wife happy. If she fell in love with Shadowglen and is excited about living there, you’re making the right decision. It’s a beautiful community with great amenities and proximity to Austin. And 10 years is plenty of time for an area to mature and build out, especially in a master planned community with good restrictions.

    Not everything in life should be determined by Appreciation and Investment mentality. I know my website and a lot of the blog articles lean that way, but that’s because we deal with a lot of pure investors.

    If you were single and telling me you only plan to live there only 2 years, I might have a different response. In that case, your written agreement with the Builder will control all decisions and consequences of any decision you make regarding backing out of a purchase agreement.

    But no house is worth more than a happy wife who loves her home. Do what your wife wants, keep her happy, live where she wants to live always and you’ll never regret doing so.

  13. While this is a good news, the national real estate outlook is as bad as it could be. Some are even predicting a general resession worse than the 2000-2001 tech bubble burst (we all remember that one vividly.) I think Austin’s real estate market is relatively unaffected by the rest of the country, however, it will be if the national economy is going sour. I sincerely hope that doesn’t happen. On the other hand, I’ve noticed that there are plenty people whose making $40-$60k per year are waiting their chances to buy a house that’s around $200-$260k in those areas where not even condos are in that price range. I guess, from a buyer’s prospective, the home pricing really need a deep adjustment.

  14. I don’t think Austin is going down anytime soon. I have friends in other, less desireable parts of the country (think north Midwest) who are surprised by how cheap the homes are down here. Austin market was depressed after the dot com bust as well, so we’re climbing up from the bottom.

    As for those buyers who think they’re clever and can outwait the market, they’ll be desperately buying something, anything, after a year of waiting when the market leaves them behind. I’ve seen those before.

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