The Austin real estate market for December 2008 ended better than I predicted. The Austin market held up well throughout 2008, all things considered, and within the context of the national economic climate and the fierce headwinds created by fear and negative consumer sentiment. Before we get into the December stats, the YTD stats and the MLS area breakdowns, let’s take a quick look at the graph below to get a perspective on how the Austin real estate market has performed since 1999.
As you can see above, even though 2008 is down a bit from 2007, it’s not anywhere near the nose dive that most of the rest of the country has experienced. In fact, viewed on the 9 year graph, the small dip is no big deal. It has to be noted that both 2006 and 2007 saw price appreciation of just below 10%, both years setting new record high prices in Austin. Each succeeding year cannot be a new record. Real Estate markets do not produce straight upward sloping lines over time, nor should that be the expectation, so it somewhat puzzles me the degree of concern we hear from buyers and sellers when the market does what it’s suppose to do, but that’s what we’re hearing a lot of lately.
Relax, 2009 may be slightly down as well. But real estate is a long term investment, not a lottery ticket or an ATM machine, as folks came to view it during the early through mid 2000’s. Moving on. Below is the December 2008 stats summary as well as the 2008 vs. 2007 sales comparison and breakdowns by MLS area. First, let’s see how December did.