Home sales & prices increase in Four Points some 16%

By LYNETTE HAALAND, Four Points News

The median price for single-family homes in the Four Points area increased by 15.7% to $622,500 for 2020 compared to last year, considerably higher than the surrounding counties, and sales increased similarly — 16% to 341. 

The September median home price rose 37% year over year to $624,000, sales increased 42% year over year to 44, according to the Austin Board of Realtors.

The first nine months of 2020 versus the same time in 2019 had Steiner Ranch and River Place experiencing increases in sales of 14.6% and 34%, respectively, said Tom Radack, owner of Bartlett Real Estate, Keller Williams Realty in River Place.   

Bartlett Real Estate compiled the median value data from Jan. 1 through September 30, 2020 from the Multiple Listing Service in Four Points which includes Comanche Trail, Grandview Hills/Parke, River Place, Steiner Ranch and Westminster Glen. This report uses median sold price, sold price per square foot (SP/Sqft), and cumulative median days on market (DOM).

Through the third quarter ending Sept. 30 and compared to last year, the median price in Steiner increased to $569,000 (18%), while River Place increased to $739,000 (4.3%). 

Grandview Hills/The Parke and Westminster Glen had a decline in sales of 29%, and 36%, respectively; the median sold price declined to $475,000 (4%) for Grandview Hills/The Parke, while Westminster increased to $1,385,000 (2.3%).

During this time, new listings overall were about the same at 398; while current listings dropped 34%. 

As of October 19, current inventory is at an all-time low of only 23 active listings and only 19 new listings in October.  Pending sales, however, have soared to 52.

“As is the case in the Austin-Round Rock MSA, we are in a classic seller’s market, for us (Four Points) even more so,” Radack said. “The lack of new construction and limited available building sites, very low resale inventory, high and rising median sale prices, low interest rates and a large influx of new buyers are driving prices up and inventory down.  This situation is expected to continue into the foreseeable future.”

The Central Texas housing market continues to exhibit strength despite economic challenges and shrinking housing inventory, according to the latest Central Texas Housing Market Report released by the Austin Board of Realtors.

In September, home sales across the Austin-Round Rock MSA soared 31.5% year over year to 3,892 sales. Historically this time of year home sales are slower, but because of decreased activity during the shelter-in-place orders due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the summer selling season extended into September.

The market’s strength was evident across the five-county MSA as sales dollar volume jumped 51.7% to $1,779,067,529, and the median price rose 12.1% to $355,000. New listings increased 5.0% to 3,539 listings, and pending sales jumped 28.2% to 3,767. At the same time, active listings dropped 49.9% to 3,708 listings.

“The housing market is pumping billions of dollars into our region’s economy at a time it’s greatly needed, but we also need to be cognizant of the impact such rapid activity is having on record-low inventory levels and rising home prices,” Romeo Manzanilla, 2020 ABoR president said. “Austin’s suburban markets have historically offered housing stock at lower price points that created opportunity for people when buying or renting inside Austin city limits was not an option. Now, these markets are showing the same gains in prices and declines in inventory as we’re used to seeing inside Austin, putting pressure on the market as a whole.”

Vaike O’Grady, Austin regional director for Zonda (formerly Metrostudy), said the city of Austin has a limited number of residential lots. This is forcing developers to move to the suburbs where land is more available and less expensive. When it comes to construction in suburban markets, homes simply can’t be put on the ground fast enough to meet demand.

“We need to remove the barriers to new construction and open up more building opportunities across the region to create more inventory for buyers,” O’Grady said. “Austin’s economy is bouncing back better than most cities, allowing more people to make a move to a home that meets their needs. To solve Austin’s housing supply and affordability challenges, we need to commit to streamlined review and approval processes for new construction.”

“The Austin area needs more housing supply at all price points in order to stabilize home price growth and help make homeownership accessible, especially for first-time homebuyers,” Manzanilla said. 

The low levels of inventory in the city of Austin drove the median home price up 8.7% year over year to $415,500. Residential sales increased 20.7% to 1,248 sales. 

Travis County residential sales increased 27.1% to 1,930 sales. The median price for residential homes increased 13.8% year over year to $420,000.  

The ABOR is a nonprofit organization that has been serving Central Texas realtors and homebuyers, sellers, and renters for nearly a century.