Feeling burned by the Austin housing market? You're not alone.
The average home in the five-county Austin metro sold for more than 7% above its asking price during a four-week period ending in mid-March, according to a recent analysis of 47 U.S. metros conducted by the real estate brokerage firm Redfin. This places Austin at the top of the list—and represents an 8% increase from this time last year when the average home sold for 0.9% below its asking price.
The median sales price in Austin reached an all-time high of $491,000 last month, according to the Austin Board of Realtors. A home listed for $491,000 would sell, on average, for more than $525,000 at this markup, creating an additional financial strain on buyers who are already facing a tight market.
"Nearly every offer my clients make faces competition, and most homes are going for more than 20% over asking price," Austin Redfin agent April Miller said in a press release. "I recently submitted an offer on behalf of a client for a remodeled three-bedroom, two-bathroom home listed at $515,000. We offered $100,000 over asking price … and we still came in third out of 38 total offers."
Home prices continue to rise in the Austin metro, despite the pandemic and, more recently, catastrophic winter storms. But an ongoing housing shortage and reluctance from sellers have pushed inventory to record-low levels. The result? Demand far outweighs supply, leaving buyers with steep competition and sellers in the unenviable position of choosing between dozens of offers.
Mark Strüb, owner of the local real estate firm Stüb Residential, told Austonia last month that the home buying process is already scary and stressful, particularly for first-timers. But the current market is a different beast. "Now they're literally walking into a war," he said.
Nationally, the average home sold for exactly its list price during the same time period, according to the Redfin analysis. But Austin isn't a total outlier. Homes in the West Coast—San Jose, Seattle, San Francisco and Sacramento—are also selling well above their asking prices.
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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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