Real estate home sales decrease, price increases

By LYNETTE HAALAND, Four Points News

Single-family sales in the Four Points area year-over-year and year-to-date have decreased 8.5 percent. The median price has increased from $492,500 to $525,250, according to data in the Austin Board of Realtors September 2017 Central Texas Housing Market Report.

“Sales have slowed down as a result of less inventory and the increase in the median sales price as compared to that in the surrounding areas,” said Tom Radack, owner Bartlett Real Estate, Keller Williams Realty.   

Inventory is now increasing as expected this time of year. There has been minimal production of more affordable new homes (less than $600,000) and less inventory for resale homes in this price range, he said.

But Radack says that the Four Points home sales outlook continues to be strong.

“The benefits of living in the Four Points area continues to draw middle and high income families, and all indications are that will continue,” Radack said.

The RM 620 and RM 2222 bypass and road improvement project, that funding was recently approved for, is likely to affect the market over the next several years.

“The approval of plans to improve the road systems at the 2222 and 620 intersections will have a positive effect on this market in the long run,” Radack said. “During the two or so year’s construction period, increased traffic could discourage buyers to the area. Key to increased home sales will be the availability of more moderately priced homes. Higher priced homes will still be highly sought after because of the draw to this area of upper income families.”

Greater Austin in September

Single-family home sales declined across most of the Austin-Round Rock Metropolitan Statistical Area in September, while inventory levels continued to increase, according to the September 2017 ABOR Central Texas Housing Market Report.

Home prices in the five-county MSA continued to rise at a steady pace in September. In the city of Austin, median price increase 4.0 percent to $355,000 in September, while monthly housing inventory remained unchanged at 2.4 months of inventory. The increase in housing inventory has led to a recent spike in new and active listings.

Single-family home sales in the Austin-Round Rock MSA decreased 4.3 percent year-over-year in September 2017. Single-family home sales also declined in most of the counties in Central Texas, with the exception of Williamson County (up 1.0 percent). Home sales declined in Travis County (down 8.6 percent year-over-year), Hays County (down 0.3 percent year-over-year) and the city of Austin (down 4.1 percent year-over-year), according to the ABOR report.

Brandy Guthrie, 2017 president of ABOR commented, “It’s important to remember that we’re comparing our current figures to the record-breaking housing market activity in 2016 and it’s not necessarily indicative of a downturn.”

Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the National Association of Realtors, agreed: “Austin has had one of the fastest job growth rates in the country over the past decade and consequently one of the strongest housing markets with rising sales. But steady depletion of housing inventory is resulting in a fast rise in home prices and affordability challenges. The construction of single-family homes as well as condominiums needs to ramp up higher in order to fully satisfy housing demand and maintain housing affordability. Otherwise, job growth could stall and bring less dynamism to the local economy.”

“For 2018, slightly higher mortgage rates will further pressure affordability and therefore attest to even greater need for new home construction to tame home price pressure,” said Yun. “Home sales, based on recent past job creation, should continue to modestly increase in 2018. But home sales in 2019 will depend critically on inventory availability.”

Four Points in September

Steiner Ranch homes listed in September were down 12.6 percent while the median days on market increased by 22 days. The number of homes sold was down 32 percent compared to last September, Radack said.

In River Place, homes listed in September were down by three listings, those sold were the same but new listings increased from four to nine in September; also, median DOM decreased from 60 to 30.  

“The Four Points area is a great place to live and raise a family,” Radack said.

Expect the real estate market here to continue to be strong and values over time to increase, he said.

“One can expect that if the trend continues, home sales will be on an upward trend beginning in 2018, and prices starting to rise again in our area, as inventory is depleted in the coming months,” Radack said.

Bartlett Real Estate compiled data from the Multiple Listing Service from Jan. 1 through Sept. 30, 2017. This report
uses median price, sold price per square foot (SP/Sqft), cumulative median days on market (DOM), and June sales and
inventory. The Four Points subdivisions in this report are Comanche Trail, Grandview Hills/Parke, River Place, Steiner
Ranch and Westminster Glen. Data used is the median value.