central texas: Austin Market Dashboard - updated - 11/05/11 05:41 AM
Followers of my blog know that I have not been keeping up with this space over the past several weeks -- a testament to the busy-ness of the Austin/Central Texas real estate market. Amidst continuing discouragement from national news reports, our local economy is growing and creating jobs, and the real estate market is moving well as a result. I have posted a complete discussion at www.AustinMarketDashboard.com, but I'll offer a couple of highlights here. First, for three consecutive months -- July, August, and September -- 2011 home sales were up more than 30% compared to the same months in 2010:

central texas: Austin ranks highly in economic growth - 09/14/11 05:53 AM
Austin Business Journal posted an article this morning about the growth in Austin's Gross Metropolitan Product in 2010 -- just under 7%, compared to 2.5% average GMP nationally.  Here is their source, from Business First of Buffalo:

Gross metropolitan products for 366 metro areas

Among all 366 metro areas analyzed, the Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos area was the 35th largest local economy.  It ranked 13th on GMP growth rate:

Notice that most of the other cities on that list are much smaller economies.  Among the 50 largest metropolitan economies, the Austin/Central Texas area enjoyed the 2nd fastest … (0 comments)

central texas: Austin-area fires somewhat contained, but devastating! - 09/07/11 06:17 AM
I was out of town for the past several days, catching glimpses of the news about fires burning all around the Austin/Central Texas area. I contacted clients and colleagues that were the most likely to be directly affected, and I am very happy to find most still okay.
One family that I helped buy their first home a few years ago still hasn't been able to get back to find out if it is still there, but they got themselves and their pets out safely. Another friend and client who lives on acreage south of the Austin airport is packed up … (0 comments)

central texas: Austin maintains in a faltering Case-Shiller world - 08/30/11 05:54 AM
S&P's Case-Shiller home price index reports are out and numerous press reports are highlighting the fact that in June 2011 average home values were down compared to June 2010 in all twenty of the cities used in the C-S study.  There really is no way to sugar-coat that for homeowners in those cities except to point out that on a month-to-month basis things don't look nearly so bleak this year.  If you own a home in one of those cities, though, and you have been waiting to sell your home so you could move for a better job (or for any … (1 comments)

central texas: Austin Market Dashboard - thru July - 08/24/11 12:27 PM
Reports on the United States residential real estate sector continue to disappoint, with weak housing starts, falling home sales, and declining prices.  Even the Austin/Central Texas market experienced similar shifts in July 2011, but not as part of a trend as in other parts of the country.  The Austin metropolitan area continues to enjoy population and job growth, high rental occupancies and resulting rising rents, and general strength in the regional economy.

To begin this month's dashboard discussion, here is a snapshot of the Austin Metro market as of August 24, 2011:

Active Listings:  8,714
(down from 9,021 last … (0 comments)

central texas: Austin in the news ... - 08/22/11 06:46 AM
All of these articles, and many others, are linked on the Austin Chamber Of Commerce website. There's a ranking here to please almost everybody: Greenest
Best Place To Live
"Job Creating-est"

Unfortunately, this year we're also among the "hottest." I think we're at 67 days at 100 degrees or higher this year. That's already several times the average number of triple-digit days here. The record is 69 days, and it's clear that we'll break that. Personally, I like summer, even this one, but a lot of folks here have just about had it.
Anyway, this post includes at least four … (0 comments)

central texas: July numbers are in ... highlights - 08/22/11 06:43 AM
Two articles this week focus on residential real estate sales in July: Home Sales Down in July but Up Strongly from a Year Ago (RISMedia)
Austin-area existing home sales up 32 percent in July (Austin American-Statesman)

Sales volume in Austin was down almost 8% in July compared to June. Nationally, the month-to-month decline was 3.5%. It is unusual to see any indicator look worse in the Austin/Central Texas market than nationally. As I have pointed out repeatedly, though, Austin unit sales have been increasing steadily, and substantially, since January 2011 -- a trend that most other cities in the U.S. envy.

central texas: 1st Half 2011 -- Investment Properties in Austin - 08/08/11 10:33 AM
Six months ago I compared "typical" investments in 2010 in single family homes as rental properties in various parts of Austin.  (See Where to invest in Austin real estate?)  Then I ranked the "MLS Regions" by Gross Rent Multiplier.

Now, I want to offer an updated look at residential real estate investments in the first half of 2011 -- this time including single family homes, duplexes, and fourplexes.  Those property types are shown in separate tables a little later in this post, but it is important to point out some deficiencies in these calculations:

First, note that in all … (0 comments)

central texas: Austin Market Dashboard -- still encouraging - 08/01/11 01:09 PM
Even as chaotic market conditions still dominate press reports about real estate nationally, the Austin/Central Texas residential market continues to demonstrate fundamental strength.  Sales volume is up for five consecutive months, and average and median home values have appreciated all year.  Local and regional economic results and expectations are promising.  The real housing crisis remains concentrated in five states.  Austin's ultimate market growth still depends on national recovery from the recession and the housing downturn, but there is plenty of reason for optimism based on our local market activity.

First, this month's snapshot, covering Single Family Homes, Condominiums, and Townhouses … (2 comments)

central texas: Austin and Washington DC outpace Case-Shiller - 07/29/11 05:02 AM
It's time to comment on updated S&P Case-Shiller home price index data.  As always, the index lags, so the latest data gets us through April 2011.  For this discussion, I have focused on the Case-Shiller 10-City and 20-City indices and how home values have performed there compared to Austin.  In addition, because of a number of recent articles about Washington, D.C. as the best-performing Case-Shiller city (which it is) and as the only U.S. with increasing home values (which it is not), I have added Washington to this month's comparison.

The Case-Shiller indices have not told a happy story recently, … (0 comments)

central texas: Market signals -- Austin-area building permits - 07/07/11 03:56 AM
There have been some encouraging signs in Austin/Central Texas residential real estate recently (see Signs of Austin-area market progress and Demand for new homes may be picking up ...). Since building permits indicate builders' and developers' confidence or lack thereof, this brief summary of permitting activity offers some interesting insights. To keep this simple, and to avoid getting bogged down in month-to-month variations, I focused on cumulative, year-to-date, permits issued in 2010 and so far in 2011. This year, new permits for single family homes continue to lag last year -- about 5% through May:

Permits are still being issued, and … (1 comments)

central texas: What do you get for $200,000 in Austin? - 07/06/11 10:46 AM
The median sale price of a single family home in the Austin metropolitan area in June 2011 was $203,275.  (That's MLS data as of July 6, 2011.  Final June data will be out in a couple of weeks.)  That median is 3% higher than May, and only one month ever has been higher -- July 2010, which was badly distorted by the end of the last homebuyer tax credit program.

Using that same MLS data, listing inventory today represents just 4.8 months' supply -- well below the 6.5 month "balanced" market conditions that I have written about many times.  We're … (0 comments)

central texas: Updated Austin Market Dashboard - 06/29/11 03:39 PM
Residential market activity in the Austin metropolitan area is up.  As of June 29, 2011, here is a high-level look at our residential market:

9,360 Active residential listings (single family homes, condominiums, and townhouses)

1,681 Sold in the past 30 days

At that pace, existing inventory will last about 5.6 months, compared with 6.5 months that most analysts consider a "balanced" market.  This is really a minor difference.  The characteristics of a strong Buyer's Market really become noticeable at about 8 months' inventory.  A true Seller's Market becomes recognizable at about 4 months' supply.  The Austin market remains … (1 comments)

central texas: Signs of market growth in Austin - 06/29/11 03:38 PM
Market conditions for residential properties in the Austin/Central Texas area continue improve, and remain better than reports in the national media and far better than conditions in the metro markets that suffered most during the housing downturn over the past few years.

This recent article highlights an important point of reference:

Existing home sales lag, but some statistics point to upturn in Central Texas

I will update my Austin Market Dashboard shortly, but the highlight in that Austin American-Statesman piece is the emphasis on the number of pending contracts for single family homes at the end of May … (0 comments)

central texas: Austin/Central Texas Home Sales -- May 2011 update - 06/20/11 05:42 AM
Final data for May 2011 is available this morning so I will be updating my Austin Market Dashboard this week. For now I just want to offer a quick summary.
First, home sales (units) in Austin and Central Texas are still down year-over-year, about 10% from May 2010 to May 2011, but the gap was narrower last month, and the year-to-date trend is encouraging (data courtesy of the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University): Of course, monthly sales growth this time of year is normal, but "normal" seasonality has been a little less predictible in recent years than before 2007.

central texas: A recipe for delaying recovery - 06/16/11 03:40 AM
Hypothetical #1:  You have decided it's time to move.  You have been in your house for a few years, but it's now too small, or too large, or in the wrong location.  We meet to discuss the process of selling your home.  I'll go through a detailed market analysis with you and discuss preparation and staging and marketing, but before we get to the "meat" of the conversation I say, "I would love to list your home and get it sold, but before we begin you need to know that we're in the worst housing market in 80 years ...."
Hypothetical #2:  … (2 comments)

central texas: Home values still strong in Washington D.C., and in Austin - 06/10/11 04:19 AM
Austin, Texas and Washington, D.C. have a lot in common.  Both are beautiful cities built on rivers that feature prominently in their ambience.  They are also both capital cities, which has much to do with other aspects of the cities' character.  Both offer moderate climates and active cultural and recreational opportunities.  I love living in Austin, and I have enjoyed the time I have spent in the Washington area.

I can't write this without pointing out a couple of differences, though.  First, the Texas Capitol building is almost 20 feet taller than the U.S. Capitol building (308 feet vs. 289 … (0 comments)

central texas: Keep your eye on the target ... those sellers will come around - 06/04/11 01:08 PM
In a couple of recent posts I discussed the market environment in various price ranges around the Austin/Central Texas area, and pointed out that some market segments here are clearly moving well regardless of the "typical" price range in the area, while others are moving VERY slowly.  (See Austin sales performance by price range, 05/07/11 and Austin/Central Texas market performance -- what's selling?, 05/10/11.)  There is no direct correlation across the area between "market velocity" and price range.

The second of those posts included a table that showed the "Austin West-Westlake" region with the largest gap between the average list … (0 comments)

central texas: Austin Housing Affordability compared - 06/01/11 04:55 AM
Reported by RISMedia over the Memorial Day weekend:

Housing Affordability Rises to Record Levels

As always, I was curious about how Texas and Austin stack up compared to other metropolitan areas and to the national average.  As a start, I went to the source data by MSA and charted the large cities listed in the article as the five most and five least affordable, along with Austin:

That chart shows the Housing Opportunity Index reported by the National Association of Home Builders and Wells Fargo, which measures the percentage of housing stock in a market area … (0 comments)

central texas: Austin Market Dashboard through April - 05/27/11 03:51 PM
Final data for April has been in for a few days so it is time for an update.  First, here is a snapshot of the Austin Metro residential market as of May 27, 2011:

The important point here is the market absorption rate:  With sales of 1,682 properties in the past thirty days, today's listing inventory represents about 5.5 months' supply -- healthy conditions, with demand slightly outpacing supply, but not significantly favoring either buyers or sellers.  As I have pointed out previously, conditions vary widely from market segment to market segment, but this overall average is useful.

Bill Morris, ABR, CRS, CDPE, ePRO, MBA (RE/MAX Capital City)

Bill Morris


Austin, TX

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Address: 13018 Research Blvd, Austin, TX, 78750

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