Austin home sales climbed to their highest median price ever in October, according to the latest monthly report from the Austin Board of Realtors.
The median price point for Austin home sales jumped 13.1% from October last year, topping off at $441,250.
The upward shift was matched by a growing number of listings – 1,345, or nearly a fifth more than the year before – as well as a decrease in the amount of housing stock. Homes continued to sell faster as well.
The Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce's president, Laura Huffman, said the housing market signals economic growth but voiced concerns about the region's growing affordability problem.
"The region needs to address housing affordability to help people from being priced out of the market, even as salary and job growth continues," Huffman said in a statement.
Zooming out, the housing market trends carry across in the broader region as well. The Austin-Round Rock metro area experienced a 29.4% increase in October home sales over the past year. Homes in the region sold faster and at higher price points than ever before.
October also marked the third consecutive month of double-digit home sales growth.
"As we come to the end of a challenging year, I'm proud of the work that Austin (realtors) have done to stabilize and grow our market," ABoR President Romeo Manzanilla said in a statement.
Since Austinites passed Proposition A, an overhaul of the local transit system, Manzanilla said he expects the city to turn its focus toward housing affordability soon, which he says has "only worsened during the pandemic." ABoR "looks forward to collaborating with both new and returning Council Members on ways to address this important issue," he added.
Manzanilla also cautioned that homeowners could expect higher property taxes, owing to recent property tax hikes attached to Props A and B, as well as rising home values.
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So you want to buy a house?
To anyone trying to get on the "housing ladder," it's been a discouraging couple of years as prices skyrocketed in a market crowded with buyers bidding against each other for just about any available home.
Things may be calming down, with the Austin Board of REALTORS reporting fewer sales and more available homes this summer.
Mortgage rates have more than doubled in the last year, from around 3% to well over 6% on a 30-year fixed rate loan, getting even more of a bump this week after the Federal Reserve raised bank rates on Wednesday.
So how affordable are homes right now? That, of course, depends on what you want and how much you're able or willing to pay, but here are some rough estimates of what a typical buyer would pay to buy a $650,000 home, which would be considered "mid-price" in today's market.
Mortgage banker Chris Holland (NMLS 211033) of Austin's Sente Mortgage ran some numbers for Austonia to illustrate a typical purchase.
Holland says that while the 30-year fixed rate mortgage is often mentioned in the media, the most popular loan that he's seeing now is a 7/1 adjustable rate mortgage, which has a fixed rate for 7 years and then adjusts every year based on market rates, with a limit on how much it can increase each year. The interest is amortized over a 30-year period. Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARMs) offer lower rates than fixed rate loans.
Here are the numbers, which are examples. In practice, exact numbers vary with a buyer's credit rating and overall financial situation, and with the rate, which can move up or down at any time.
- $650,000 home purchase price
- 7/1 ARM at 5.875%
- 5% down payment, equals $32,500
- 95% financed, equals $617,500
- $4,990 payment, including principle and interest (P&I), insurance, and property tax
- Typically, a borrower's debt to income ratio needs to be at or below 45%. So for this mortgage, a borrower, or borrowers, would need income of roughly $11,100/month, or $133,200/year. That number could be higher, depending on the buyer's outstanding credit balances on things like credit cards and car loans.
Holland says he's had a lot of clients approved for loans who were house hunting but have put that on hold, hoping prices come down.
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