By LYNETTE HAALAND, Four Points News
The number of homes sold in Four Points is down in the first nine months of this year compared to last year but the median sales price has gone up.
Home sales in the Four Points area dropped to 216 in the first nine months of this year compared to 292 sales in 2021 but the median sold price was up from $850,500 last year to just over $1 million this year.
Looking at the numbers quarter by quarter, the sold median price per square foot has dropped a bit in the third quarter compared to the first and second quarters this year. The first quarter median price per square foot was $338, 2nd quarter came in at $347, and the third quarter finished at $319.
With approximately three months of inventory in the Four Points area, “we are still in a seller’s market, but the days on the market have been gradually increasing,” said Rhonda Durrill, Realtor and broker associate with Avalar Real Estate. The median days on the market of active listings in Four Points neighborhoods for October is 66.
Cord Shiflet, 2022 Austin Board of Realtors president, echoes those facts.
“We’re still in a seller’s market, but as homes take longer to sell and are being bought for less than the original list price on average, and with inventory steadily increasing, right now is a great time to be a homebuyer in Central Texas,” Shiflet said.
Durrill explains what is happening in the Four Points real estate market.
“It has been a 2-year roller coaster for sure. We finally have more homes on the market and it’s not as crazy as it was last year at this time,” Durrill shared. “This time of year is always slower for real estate sales, yet homes are still selling for prices we could not have fathomed two years ago.”
Recently the increase in inventory/homes for sale has brought relief to the buyers.
“Homes are selling at 95% of their original list price. Sellers need to know that the days of multiple offers way over asking price are a thing of the past,” said Shiflet of the entire Austin-Round Rock MSA.
“Prices are still high, but the days of the buyer paying title policy, HOA fees, and giving appraisal waivers on offers are gone,” Durrill said. “Also gone are the days of sellers being able to leave the walls painted purple with dirty carpets and green pools. In this new – and typical – market, sellers have to spruce up the homes and be smart with pricing.”
Durrill advises that with pricing, in addition to looking at sold comps, sellers should also compare current for sale/pending prices to get an idea of the current market value.
Interest rate hikes
Additionally the recent increase in interest rates has caused buyers to reevaluate their maximum price point. To put it into perspective, Durrill recently had a first-time buyer purchase a home in August for under $400,000.
“If they would have closed now instead of in August, their payment would have gone up $650 a month. Because of this rate hike, many buyers are having to look for more affordable homes to stay within budget,” Durrill said.
Rents are up
In the Four Points area lease prices for rental housing feeding into Vandegrift High School have increased year over year. In 2020 median lease price per square foot was $1.09. In 2021 this increased to $1.25, and this year we are at $1.35.
“Sadly for tenants, these numbers will most likely continue to rise after landlords start adjusting for the massive increase in property tax assessments and the resulting increase in homeowners insurance,” Durrill shared.
Since assessed values have increased, tax rates are becoming a big factor when buyers are looking for a home also. Here is a breakdown of the different rates in Four Points area neighborhoods:
- Steiner Ranch 2.32%
- River Place 2.53%
- Westminster Glen 1.99%
- Grandview Hills 2.45%
- Comanche 2.07%
Looking ahead, buyers are still coming to Austin and when they do, the Four Points area with all it has to offer with the hills, lakes, schools and master-planned neighborhoods is a desirable place to call home, Durrill said.
ABOR’s Shiflet also noted that surrounding Central Texas areas that aren’t necessarily considered major population centers are experiencing strong home sales growth.
“The more outlying areas are gaining in popularity as Bastrop, Caldwell and Hays counties all experienced significant growth in sales activity. As more developments are planned and opened in these areas, buyers will have even more options to find a home that works for them that is still easily accessible to downtown Austin,” he said. “This is great news for buyers, renters and our economy.”