The real estate slowdown crept up on us, but it’s really here for sure, despite the fact that the headlines say it (see below). Yet prices in Austin keep rising. A buyer a couple of weeks ago told me “I’m going to wait to buy because the bubble in Austin is going to burst soon”. Huh?!? Austin has no bubble, dude. Our prices were flat as a pancake from 2001 through the end of 2005. We saw reasonably decent appreciation of about 10% for 2006 and the first part of 2007, but not the sort of appreciation that creates a “bubble”. The medain home price in Austin is still $185,000. In other words, there is no inflated price ceiling from which Austin has to fall.
By the way, during our 4 years of ZERO appreciation in Austin, each year was a record year in NUMBER of sales, yet many, many sellers could not sell.
Anyway, I’m going to work on my monthly, quarterly, and YTD stats this weekend and see exactly where we stand in all the different areas of Austin as we head into the last three months of the year. Meanwhile, here is a story from today’s Austin Statesman.
Number of homes on the market hits four-year high.
Friday, October 19, 2007
Mirroring the national housing slump, existing home sales in Central Texas continued on a double-digit decline in September. Sales fell 22 percent from a year ago, following a 10-percent drop in August, and the number of homes on the market reached a four-year high of 9,979.
September sales were the lowest for the month in three years, according to figures from the Austin Board of Realtors today.
The sales drop was sharpest for homes below $200,000, but also hit higher price ranges. Sales of houses between $400,000 and $599,999 fell almost 23 percent.
Experts say that though Central Texas’ housing market is faring better than many others around the country, it hasn’t been immune to the national credit crunch. Banks and mortgage companies have toughened lending standards, shutting many first-time buyers out of the market.
But the news isn’t all grim. While prices are declining in many areas around the country, the median home sales price in the Austin area rose to $182,500, up 9 percent from September 2006. Experts attribute the increase to price appreciation as well as rising construction costs and more sales of higher-priced homes.