Over $634 million was pumped into the Austin economy from international homebuyers from April 2020 to March 2021, a period that saw unprecedented growth in the housing market despite the pandemic.
According to the 2021 Central Texas International Homebuyers Report by the Austin Board of Realtors, the top international buyers were from five countries: Mexico (14%), China (14%), Canada (6%), India (6%) and Armenia (5%).
As the housing market reached new highs foreign investors continued to show interest in the area, according to ABoR president Susan Horton, although the number was significantly lower than the year prior due to travel restrictions from the pandemic.
"Even in the midst of a global pandemic, international homebuyers continued to invest in residential real estate in the Austin area—a testament to the strength, popularity and resiliency of our local housing market," Horton said. "The bottom line is that Austin continues to attract people from all over the world, and we welcome them to our community whether they are looking to relocate or invest."
Horton said that international homebuyers showed new interest in townhomes and condominiums as vacation homes. Around 3% of all sales dollar volume came from foreign-born buyers, who frequently bought homes $100,000 over the median price during that period. The median home price for international buyers was $428,100, over $75,000 more than the median sales price of international buyers nationwide and slightly lower than the median price of homes in the metro as of September 2021 ($450,000).
As more companies, including Tesla, Oracle and dozens of startups, begin to invest in the area, so did international customers—more buyers looked for investment properties and rentals than in the first International Homebuyers Report in 2020.
That international interest was reflected in native Austin buyers as well. Nearly 65% of the 2,000 Central Texas realtors surveyed, said they worked with an American client to look for properties abroad, well above the national average (11%).
With the pandemic bringing remote workers in and out of Central Texas and continued global interest in the Austin area, Horton said local realtors will continue to see that trend increase.
"With the added job creation by major corporations such as Tesla, Amazon and Apple, Austin's reputation as a global leader in tech innovation will only continue to grow," Horton said. "The number of Central Texas realtorswho specialize in international real estate is growing equally as rapidly, and it will be exciting to see Austin's impact on the international housing market as the world begins to open up again."
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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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