2019 a record year for Austin's housing market
As expected, 2019 was another banner year for the Austin-area housing market.
With December's figures in, last year saw both the number of single-family home sales and the median home-sales price in Central Texas reach all-time highs, the Austin Board of Realtors said Thursday. It marked the ninth year in a row in which the sales volume and the median price topped the previous year's numbers.
Real estate agents sold 33,084 single-family homes in Central Texas last year, a 7.2% increase over 2018's volume — more than any year on record, the board said.
Half of those homes sold for more than $318,000 and half sold for less, for a 2.6% increase in the median price, the highest annual median on record, the board said.
The dollar volume of 2019's sales — almost $13.2 billion — also was a record amount, the board said, surpassing the previous record of $11.9 billion generated by 2018's home sales.
"Austin's unprecedented population growth during the past decade has heavily impacted the real estate market," Romeo Manzanilla, the board's president, said in a written statement. "Compared to 2010, home sales in 2019 increased by 84%. That type of exponential growth has put enormous pressure on the market, raising the median home price from $193,520 in 2010 to $318,000 in 2019. As we look forward to this year, the market is not showing signs of slowing down anytime soon."
On Tuesday, housing industry consultant Eldon Rude had a similar outlook in his annual housing market forecast. Rude predicted that 2020 will be another strong year for the Austin-area economy and housing market, fueled by what is expected to be continued job and population growth in the region.
"I don't see anything getting in the way of another robust year for our economy," said Rude, principal of 360 Real Estate Analytics. "It's going to be a huge year."
Within Austin's city limits, the number of sales and median price for 2019 also broke annual records, the board said.
Austin's median home price was $395,000, up 5.3% over 2018's median and the highest for any year on record. There were 9,572 sales of single-family homes in the city of Austin last year, up 1.8% from 2018's volume and the most sales for any year on record.
Along with the annual home-sales figures, the board also released December numbers for the Austin-Round Rock region, which encompasses five counties from Georgetown to San Marcos.
The board said 2,608 single-family homes changed hands in Central Texas last month, a 9.2% increase from December 2018, although not a record as December 2017's sales were higher. However, the median sales price in December was the highest on record for any December, coming in at $323,000, a 7.1% increase over December 2018's median.
Within Austin's city limits, the median price of the homes that sold in December increased 8% year-over-year to $405,093 — the highest for any December on record, the board said. The median price was higher in June 2019, at $418,000.
Sales in the city limits rose 8.9% in December year-over-year, with 738 houses selling. December 2017 had more sales, at 809.
Austin is one of only eight U.S. metro areas to have fully recovered in the last 10 years to pre-recession values, said Mark Sprague, a housing market analyst with Independence Title in Austin.
"Austin's GDP, which grew 117% over the last 20 years, helped the real estate market recover from the recession," Sprague said in a written statement. "The closest metro out of the top 50 in the U.S. to see this type of growth was Silicon Valley, which grew its GDP by 99% during the same period."
Local real estate agents say that factors ranging from quality of life to cost of living to a favorable tax and business climate are continuing to draw people — and companies — to Texas and to Austin.
"People are pouring in from California like you wouldn't believe," said Brian Talley, who owns Regent Property Group in Austin. "I've never experienced anything like it in my career."
Manzanilla said the Austin Board of Realtors continues to advocate for an updated land development code in Austin "so that folks who want to purchase a home in the area can afford to do so."
"If we don't take action to increase housing supply in Austin, we will continue to see exponential increases in home values," Manzanilla said.
In his forecast, Rude said demand last year was highest for homes in the $225,000 to $325,000 price range.
Kate Rogers, a real estate agent with Keller Williams Realty in Austin, also noted the influx of people moving from California, as well as Florida, the East Coast and elsewhere, and the Austin area's limited housing supply.
"Because of that, we're having homes go up on the market on a Thursday or Friday and having multiple offers within that weekend," said Rogers said. "It feels like it's the summertime right now. And a lot of them are coming in with cash. They're able to come in here and pay anything, because it's a better deal."