Local home sales down, prices up

March snapshot of Travis County real estate activity from Austin Board of Realtors.

By LYNETTE HAALAND, Four Points News

So far this year, the number of homes sold in the Four Points area, in Travis County, and in Greater Austin have gone down while the price per home has increased.

According to the Austin Board of Realtors March 2022 Central Texas Housing Report, the Austin-Round Rock Multiple Statistical Analysis or MSA experienced a decline in residential home sales, while a slight increase in housing inventory coincided with a new all-time record for median sales price.

The number of homes sold in the Four Points area was down from 66 in the first three months of 2021 to 54 during the first quarter of this year. The average price per square foot is up significantly to an average of $344 versus $242 last year during the same period, but that is skewed by a couple of homes that sold for over $3 million in the Comanche Trail area. 

“These numbers are unbelievable to most people,” said Rhonda Durrill, Realtor and broker associate with Avalar Real Estate and a Steiner Ranch resident. “I can tell you that it seems to have slowed down the last couple of weeks. Buyers aren’t lined around the homes waiting to go in like they were a few months ago.” 

Durrill said that it doesn’t seem like there are as many offers on properties in Four Points as there were, and a few are staying on the market a little longer than three days.

“Possibly because the interest rates are climbing up a bit or the fact that more inventory is out there,” she said.   

Durrill compiled a Four Points snapshot for the first quarter of 2022 using Multiple Listing Service data from local communities including Comanche Trail, Grandview Hills/Parke, River Place, Steiner Ranch and Westminster Glen.  

Taking a wider look, Travis County home sales decreased 7% to 1,615 sales, while sales dollar volume increased 4% to $1,215,615,940. The median price in Travis County in March rose 22.8% year over year to $600,500 

“Rising home prices along with nationwide inflation and rising interest rates can seed caution in the market, so it’s important to remember that we are still experiencing a very active housing market driven by true demand, not investor speculation,” said Cord Shiflet, 2022 ABoR president. 

“More homes are being listed and sold in Austin than ever before, and people are buying those homes because they need to live in them. The Austin area has a dire need for more housing stock across all housing types and price points,” Shiflet said.

In the Greater Austin area in March, residential home sales declined some 6% year over year to 3,302 closed sales as the median price rose 22.6% to a new all-time record of $521,100. 

City of Austin demographer Lila Valencia shared insights on Austin’s population growth and its impact on the housing market.

“According to the Census Bureau’s 2021 population estimates, Austin is experiencing a net growth of 146 people per day. This type of growth places immediate and significant demand on infrastructure, particularly housing. When a person or family moves into Austin, finding a place to live is at the top of their agenda,” Valencia said.

The latest Austin Board of Realtors data shows strong housing market growth in Bastrop and Caldwell Counties, a sign that people are having to look farther out from the central city, which has implications not just for the local housing markets in these areas but also for transit and transportation and access to other amenities and services, Valencia said.

Shiflet added that rising mortgage rates across the country are a further complication in an already complex housing market, underscoring the importance of working with a Realtor who can help homebuyers and renters fully understand their options. 

“Higher interest rates do not automatically equate lower home prices, especially in a high-demand market like ours. For individuals who are borderline on being able to afford that monthly payment, increased mortgage rates can make it that much harder,” said Shiflet, who recommends using Realtors in the home buying and selling process.