Despite a pandemic and record-low inventory, the Austin housing market had a record-breaking year in 2020.
The median home price in the five-county Austin-Round Rock metro increased by nearly 16%, to an all-time high of $370,000, in December, and residential home sales increased more than 16% year-over-year, according to the latest monthly and year-end reports from the Austin Board of Realtors.
The city of Austin saw even more dramatic growth, with the median sales price rising nearly 19% to $461,000—a new monthly record—in December. Residential home sales increased 16.4%, year-over-year.
ABoR officials attributed this growth, in part, to the impact of COVID-19.
"The pandemic only increased demand for all types of housing across the region, pushing inventory to near-zero levels and creating the strongest sellers' market Realtors have ever seen," ABoR President Susan Horton said in a statement.
Dr. James Gaines, former chief economist for the Texas Real Estate Research Center, added: "The pandemic fostered an environment where many families increased personal savings, helping some transition from renting to ownership while others needed to 'move up' for more space while working from home."
Extremely low housing inventory factors into these jumps, with a record-low amount of housing inventory reported in the metro last month, according to ABoR.
"The complexity of a home sale is at an all-time high as it has become commonplace for homes to receive multiple offers well over list price," Horton said.
Horton's predecessor, Romeo Manzanilla, raised concerns about this trend.
"Central Texans who could not find a property within Austin's city limits have historically been able to expand their searches outward to find a home," he said in a statement last month. "But, when the entire region has virtually zero inventory, its leaders must think about how such a broad lack of housing will ultimately impact Austin's sustainability as a destination for business and economic growth."
Demand for housing is amplified by an influx of new residents.
Last month, the Wall Street Journal dubbed Austin a magnet for new corporate jobs, thanks to its lower costs (and taxes) compared to San Francisco and New York City. And LinkedIn reported that Austin gained the most newcomers of any city in the country, based on an analysis of its 174 U.S. users.
Overall, Gaines said the outlook for the 2021 housing market is "very good."
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Whether you became a home chef when the pandemic began or have always enjoyed crafting delicious meals, it’s undeniable that no home is complete without a cozy kitchen.
Take a peek at these five gems on the market now.
In the South Austin Parten community, this castle-like four-bedroom, three-and-a-half bathroom stunner puts you just minutes from Austin, Dripping Springs and other nearby communities. Stark white and black contrasting features give the interiors a clean look, while a large curving staircase serves as a centerpiece for the ground floor. The chef’s kitchen is spacious, facing the living room and multiple windows, and immediately draws the eye. Upstairs you’ll find a spa-style bathroom, game room with a wet bar and Hill Country Views.This listing is held by Adam Zell and Lexie Zell.
This hyper-modern, 3,300-square-foot Scandinavian-styled home is a paradise for natural light in Hyde Park. With four bedrooms and three-and-a-half bathrooms spread across one story, the home rests on concrete columns to protect from extreme climate conditions. Inside, you’ll find crisp, clean trim in the open-plan kitchen with built-in luxury appliances and a walk-in pantry. Lofty 12-foot ceilings and gigantic windows set the tone, with a wet bar and second living room for entertaining. When you retire to the master bedroom, enjoy a warm bath in the soaking tub or enjoy the multi-output shower.
This listing is held by Austin Stowell.
In the heart of Westlake, this stacked three-story new build is a sprawling 4,483 square feet with five bedrooms and four-and-a-half bathrooms. The home is centrally located and full of natural light, especially on the open concept first floor, which includes the kitchen, casual dining space and living area. The third floor has a bedroom and loft, perfect for the at-home worker.
This listing is held by Jen Templeton and Cheryl Albanese.
This 3,539 square foot, three-bedroom, three-and-a-half bathroom Tarrytown townhouse is newly remodeled but still holds on to its vintage charm. Bright white cabinets, a green accented island and quartzite countertops in the kitchen give the space a cheery feeling. Entering on the second floor, you’ll have to walk downstairs to get to the bedrooms, which include ensuite baths and walk-in showers. The third level bonus room is the perfect place for an at-home office.This listing is held by Cindy Fowler.
Just outside Austin in the sleepy town of Wimberley, the Backbone Ridge Ranch is one of the city’s most “iconic and pristine” properties. On nearly 50 acres of land, the house takes you into nature without getting too far from nearby cities. With 4,369 square feet, six bedrooms and six-and-a-half bathrooms, floor-to-ceiling windows effortlessly light the entire space. You’ll feel like a celebrity chef while cooking in the kitchen, even more so entertaining from the outdoor kitchen and living space. The 33,000-gallon quarried limestone pool is perfect for those hot Hill Country summers!This listing is held by Nicole Kessler.
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Sample some spirits
When: 11:30 a.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday
Where: Desert Door, 211 Darden Hill Rd. Driftwood
What: Attend Desert Door Distillery’s first Explorer Series of 2022. Guests will be able to sample Caliber on its own or in a delicious cocktail.
Eat some chili
When: 12 p.m. Saturday
Where: Sagebrush, 5500 S. Congress Ave.
What: Enjoy great chili and great music at the 14th Annual Chili Cold Blood Chili Cook-Off. All proceeds will be donated to Health Alliance for Austin Musicians in memory of Nick Curran.
Enjoy some local art
When: 4 p.m. Saturday
Where: Neill-Cochran House Museum, 2310 San Gabriel St.
What: The Neil-Cochran House Museum will host a multi-media art exhibition by Austin artist Nell Gottlieb, titled “Land as Persona: An Artist’s Journey.” Gottlieb works in multiple media to reexamine her coming of age, white and female in the Jim Crow South.
Catch some improv comedy
When: 7 p.m. Sunday
Where: GameOn! ATX, 1515 Dungan Ln.
What: ColdTowne ThrowDowne is an improv comedy tournament between troupes that will take place in front of a live studio audience and streamed live to the world on Twitch.
Catch a Johnny Cash-style show
When: 7:30 p.m. Sunday
Where: Georgetown Palace Theatre, 810 S. Austin Ave.
What: Experience music history with a unique musical about love and faith, struggle and success, rowdiness and redemption, and the healing power of home and family set to the tune of the legendary Johnny Cash.