February 2020 Austin Market Report

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Austin's hot housing market barreled through the early phase of the coronavirus pandemic unfazed in February 2020. According to the latest market report by the Austin Board of REALTORS (ABoR), Austin's median residential sales price rose by 14% to $395,750 compared to February 2019. Suburbs and outlying communities were up 12% over the same period to $327,140. However, active listings in Austin and the metro area last month were down by 34% and 29% respectively year-over-year. That continues the area’s trend of extreme low inventory and sky-high buyer demand. Inventory is still hovering around the critically low 1 month mark (balanced market is around 6 months of inventory).

Here are basic stats on single-family home sales for January 2019 for the City of Austin and the greater Austin area:

Of course, the social and economic landscape locally has changed markedly in the past couple of weeks. The pandemic will definitely affect the Austin real estate market in the immediate term. Many planning to list their properties will wait until self-quarantine/social distancing has passed. My colleagues and I are still seeing that many of the most serious buyers are still active, but a portion have put their search on hold. Whenever things return to semi-normal, I expect a surge of pent up listing inventory that is similarly met with pent up buyer demand in Austin. I don't expect this to change the area’s overall market dynamic of extremely low inventory and sky-high buyer demand.

Mark Sprague, state director of information capital for Independence Title, shares the sentiment:

Austin’s economy has diversified and strengthened over the past two decades. This leads me to be optimistic that our region is in a strong position to withstand economic downturns that may have a greater impact nationally. Effects will still be felt, especially by those who depend on each paycheck to pay their bills and provide for their families, and that cannot be discounted.
Current indicators are that Austin’s housing market remains strong and competitive. Any decrease in inventory would only increase competitiveness in our market. Overall, Austin’s economy and housing market look to be resilient during this uncertain time. Once COVID-19 subsides, there is a potential for even more investment by employers in the Austin market, and I would expect those looking for a more affordable cost of living compared to other major U.S. metropolitan areas will still look to move to and buy homes in Austin.

Landlords are navigating a temporary moratorium on evictions and current/potential tenants whose employment and income is negatively impacted.