Austin housing market continues to break sales price records—but record-low inventory could spell trouble
The Austin housing market continues to thrive despite the ongoing pandemic, but a continuing inventory shortage could jeopardize its growth.
The median sales price in the city of Austin increased 10%—to $433,493— in November, according to the latest Austin Board of Realtors market report. Meanwhile, the housing inventory fell to less than a month's worth. The Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University estimates a balanced housing market has more than six months' inventory.
"Despite the economic roadblocks and challenges the global pandemic has presented, Austin's housing market activity is stronger than it's been in several years," ABoR President Romeo Manzanilla said in a statement Wednesday.
The rising home prices and falling inventory go hand in hand.
"This near-zero level of housing inventory throughout the region is staggering, and it will put enormous pressure on home prices and the rental market," he said.
The trend is not limited to Austin; the five-county Austin-Round Rock metro also reported a record-breaking median sales price—as well as an all-time low level of inventory.
The median home price in the metro increased nearly 20% to $365,000 while the housing inventory fell to 0.9 months' worth, according to the report.
This is concerning, Manzanilla said.
"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 explained. "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 the influx of new residents.
Austin leads U.S. cities in population growth, according to LinkedIn's latest workforce report, which was published earlier this month. And hiring is up year-over-year.
Some big-name tech companies have also attracted national attention for their presence in town.
Tesla is hiring executives for its forthcoming Southeast Travis County Gigafactory, and its CEO Elon Musk is also house-hunting in Austin. Software giant Oracle also recently relocated its headquarters to Riverside Drive from its previous location in Silicon Valley.
"This growth is not sustainable," said Mark Sprague, state director of information capital at Independence Title, in a statement. "The one variable that will hold the market back is the lack of inventory."
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The Texas Department of State Health Services will allocate 332,750 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to 212 providers this week, with the bulk assigned to hub providers that are focused on widespread community distribution events. Six of those providers are in Travis County.
With the latest allocation of 16,450 sent to Travis County this week, the county will have received 104,275 doses of the vaccine. Local public health officials estimate that there are 285,000 area residents who fall in the 1A and 1B priority groups, meaning that around 37% of them should have access to doses seven weeks into the rollout process.
Here's where the latest allotment is going:
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Californian who wrote viral op-ed attacking Austin life tells Austonia he 'didn't include the positive stuff'
The California exodus has made headlines for several years now, and even more recently, with thousands of West Coasters seeking tax relief, less-expensive real estate and a simpler lifestyle in Texas' capital city.
However, a California man's scathing review of Austin, which was published in Business Insider on Wednesday, reveals that some are less than satisfied with their move.
Austin may soon be home to a tech plant that would dwarf the Tesla Gigafactory in both investment and job creation.
Samsung Electronics Co. is considering starting construction on a $10 billion memory chip plant in Austin as soon as this year, Bloomberg reported Friday.
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