Home sales in the five-country metro increased 13.1% year-over-year in March despite inventory remaining at a record-low 0.4 months, according to the Austin Board of Realtors' latest monthly report. At this inventory level, if no other homes are listed the number of listed homes would sell in a week; a balanced housing market has around six months of inventory, according to the Texas Real Essate Research Center at Texas A&M University.
"Our housing market is undergoing growing pains and creating a paradox: affordable from the outside looking in, but increasingly unaffordable for those who already call Austin home," ABoR President Susan Horton said in a statement.
The median sales price for homes in the city of Austin jumped nearly 25% last month, to an all-time high of $514,000, according to the report. Across Travis County, the median sales price grew nearly as fast, increasing 24.1% to $490,000.
Ten years ago, the median sales price in the Austin market was $203,860, a fraction of what it is today, according to the Texas Real Estate Research Center.
Despite the skyrocketing price, Austin homes remain relatively affordable for buyers coming from more expensive markets, such as Denver and Atlanta. "There is a reason so many transplants, especially from the east and west coasts, are coming to Austin," Dr. Jim Gaines, an economist at the center, said in a statement. "They can buy more house for their money than what they could in the cities they are leaving behind."
Such competition is great for sellers but may challenge prospective homebuyers, who face one of the highest markups in the country. "With an average closing price of 108% of list price across the Austin area, the decades-old expectations of submitting a lower offer and negotiating up is no longer a reality," Horton said.
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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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