Austin Real Estate Market Update – Oct 2010 Sales

Real Estate Market Stats

Sales volume continues to drop year over year in Austin while prices continue to rise. Let’s have a look at the chart below.

Austin Real Estate Sales Monthly Update – Oct 2010
Homes only (condos, duplexes, etc. not included) compiled from Austin MLS data

Sep 2010 Oct 2010 Oct 2009 Yr % Change
# Sold 1229 1125 1759 -36.04%
Avg List $265,206 $280,552 $250,276 12.10%
Med List $202,645 $209,900 $189,875 10.55%
Avg Sold $253,053 $266,034 $239,897 10.90%
Med Sold $195,900 $200,000 $183,000 9.29%
Sold/List % 95.42% 94.83% 95.85% -1.07%
Avg SQFT 2237 2283 2101 8.66%
Med SQFT 2008 2062 1888 9.22%
Avg $ SQFT $113.12 $116.53 $114.18 2.05%
Avg DOM 77 86 70 22.86%
Median DOM 55 66 47 40.43%
# Expired 691 701 528 32.77%
# Withdrawn 1051 985 753 30.81%
Not Sold 1742 1686 1281 31.62%
Not Sold % 58.63% 59.98% 42.14% 42.34%


The number of homes sold dropped 36% from Oct a year ago, but remember, a year ago in Oct we all thought the government tax credit for new buyers was going to end in Nov 2009, so we had artificially increased demand for the fall/winter selling season. Nonetheless, it’s a 36% drop, which is huge. We’re going to see similar year over year drops in the March-Jun stats in 2011 too. In fact, it will be more than two years from now before I can run stats that don’t include the caveat “remember a year ago the government was meddling in the real estate market, or we were in the tax credit hangover, and thus …”

Let’s talk about the color coded right column. This is the first time ever that the spreadsheet I pasted into a blog article maintained the color coding that I have programmed in. Essentially, green indicates a metric that moved in a positive direction, and red is a metric moving in the negative direction. We could have a long debate about whether and why higher prices are “good”, because for buyers maybe lower prices are better. But for the economy in general, jobs and growth, the real estate market needs to be appreciating and growing, so for the purposes of my stats, “good” means it’s good for the owners and sellers of real estate because values are rising.

Don’t give too much credence to the high upward swings in the green rows. Those are distortions. The typical 4 bedroom 2,000 sqft 10 year old home in Austin is not worth 11% more than it was a year ago. We’re simply seeing more expensive properties sell while last year it was the lower priced homes driving the market because of the tax credit.

Let’s have a look at the year to date stats.

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Austin Real Estate Market Update – Jan 2010 Stats

The Austin real estate market started 2010 on an upswing. Average sold price is up 5.39% from a year ago, median sold price is up 2.12%, days on market are down. In fact, every measured metric on the chart below moved in a positive direction except for median list price, which is down slightly, but of no consequence. Let’s have a look.

Austin Real Estate Sales Market Update – January 2010
Homes only (condos, duplexes, etc. not included) compiled from Austin MLS data

Dec 2009 Jan 2010 Jan 2009 Yr % Change
# Sold 1323 823 816 0.86%
Avg List $274,819 $259,858 $249,289 4.24%
Med List $199,740 $188,000 $189,700 -0.90%
Avg Sold $262,574 $247,767 $235,101 5.39%
Med Sold $194,000 $184,000 $180,189 2.12%
Sold/List % 95.54% 95.35% 94.31% 1.10%
Avg SQFT 2283 2220 2170 2.30%
Med SQFT 2049 2043 1942 5.20%
Avg $ SQFT $115.01 $111.61 $108.34 3.01%
Avg DOM 82 78 82 -4.88%
Median DOM 48 50 66 -24.24%
# Expired 852 394 544 -27.57%
# Withdrawn 696 577 701 -17.69%
Not Sold 1548 971 1245 -22.01%
Not Sold % 53.92% 54.12% 60.41% -10.40%

So, is this good news? Maybe. I don’t think sellers should get too excited, and buyers need not start worrying about rising prices. Jan 2009 was a down month, so topping it is nothing to brag about. Nevertheless, I do think our Austin real estate market has sunnier weather ahead, at least for the first half of the year.

The extended tax credit and continued low interest rates will motivate buyers in the lower ranges. An improving job market and the return of good job news, (some of which was announced today with Facebook bringing 200 new jobs and a Solar Panel company bring several hundred more), will cause an already “ok” Austin unemployment rate to keep dropping through the summer, barring any terrible macro-economic setbacks in the national economy. Once interest rates starts rising, as we expect later in the year, that will frighten some additional buyers into getting off the fence for fear of missing out on the good rates.

I think the upper end market will be slower to come back as many of the former $500K to $800K buyers will, I think, scale back lifestyles and settle for less Austintacious digs. Mercedes Homes said as much during a lunch presentation I heard today. They’ve redesigned a bunch of new floorplans to accomodate what their research says will be a more frugal market in the $300K and up range, as buyers seek smaller, better quality homes instead of sprawling big layouts. Makes since to me.

Below are some additional charts and stats. Let’s start with the 23 month lookback chart.

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