Home sales in the five-county Austin metro took a dip in July for the first time since May 2020, according to a monthly report from the Austin Board of Realtors.
Residential home sales in the metro dropped by 9.9% to 4,041 as the market plateaued for the first time in over a year. Despite cooling sales, the market's home prices stayed hot, and broke a July year-over-year record with a median home price of $574,975. Home prices in the city of Austin dipped slightly from a median home price of $575,000 in June, ending a five-month streak of record year-over-year home sales.
Median year-over-year sales prices in the metro rose 37% to $480,000, a record for July, but fell just short of an all-time record of $482,364 set in June. As prices plateaued slightly in the metro, the ever-depleted monthly housing inventory also rose slightly from 0.8 months to 0.9 months of inventory. While still unhealthily low, the metro is showing a slight recovery from a frenzied first half of 2021.
While a slowing market, no matter how slight, is rare to see in Austin, MetroStudy regional director Vaike O'Grady said that prices aren't likely to drop significantly anytime soon.
"Austin is always considered one of the top places to live in the U.S., but we're losing ground due to shrinking housing inventory and affordability," O'Grady said. "With construction delays and regulatory barriers, builders and developers are having increasing difficulty getting new homes on the ground. Because of that, there's not enough supply coming to the market to significantly impact available inventory, which further pushes prices up. Looking ahead, there will likely only be new inventory available further out in the suburbs; meaning, other submarkets may gain traction over Austin."
The cooling market might instead point to seasonality as families go on vacation and enjoy their summer break. O'Grady said the market is still a gold mine for homeowners looking to sell.
"Seasonality has a hand in the increasing home sales growth across our region and nationally," O'Grady said. " If you're looking to buy or rent a home, don't miss this opportunity to take advantage of the market's slower pace. If you're looking to sell, don't mistake this dip as a cooldown—it's still an excellent time to sell a home."
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After months of speculation, a new report says political personality Beto O'Rourke is mulling a run for Texas governor that he will announce later this year.
Sources tell Axios the former congressman is preparing his campaign for the 2022 election, where he will likely vie for the position against incumbent Gov. Greg Abbott. The only other candidate that has announced he will take on Abbott for governor is former Texas GOP Chairman Allen West—no Democrats have announced they are running as of yet.
"No decision has been made," Axios reports David Wysong, O'Rourke's former House chief of staff and a longtime adviser, said. "He has been making and receiving calls with people from all over the state."
A new poll from The Dallas Morning News and University of Texas at Tyler shows O'Rourke is narrowing the gap between himself and Abbott's prospects for governor. In the poll, 37% said they'd vote for O'Rourke over Abbott, while 42% said they'd vote for Abbott.
Abbott has been in the hot seat due to his handling of COVID-19 and the signing of landmark legislation into law, including new abortion and voting rights laws; 54% of poll respondents voted they think the state is headed in the "wrong direction." Still, Texas hasn't had a Democrat as governor since the 90s.
O'Rourke's people-focused approach to the 2018 Senator race, which he lost to Sen. Ted Cruz, gave him a widespread following and many hoped he'd throw his hat into the ring since he said he was considering it earlier this year.
"We hope that he's going to run," Gilberto Hinojosa, the state chair of the Democratic Party, told Axios. "We think he'll be our strongest candidate. We think he can beat Abbott because he's vulnerable."
Austin rapper Jordi Esparza may not have won the 2021 Red Bull Batalla, the world's largest Spanish freestyle rap competition, but for a spirited two rounds, the 22-year old Mexican native looked like he had every right to.
On Saturday evening in Los Angeles, the event itself looked like Cobra Kai meets Star Search with graphics adding a very Batman Beyond aesthetic. Over a dozen rappers hoping to represent the U.S. in the international round of the competition took to the stage with in-your-face jabs at accents, sexual orientation and odors, among other things.
This was Esparza's second rodeo; he had placed third at the 2020 National Finals, automatically securing him a spot this year.
However, things were different this year. He was not nervous about the contest. Unlike in 2020, when he made his Red Bull Batalla debut, the anxiety of the event led him to "feeling so bad."
Affecting a casual calm, the locally-based landscaper said he just felt "so relaxed, so happy" and primarily wanted to "enjoy everything."
Choosing his first-round opponent, Esparza, whose stage name is Jordi, elected to go against LA-based Boss.
Esparza freestyled an attack on his opponent's weight and cholo style of dress.
Boss—bracketing his Latin freestyle with English appeals to the crowd—mocked Jordi's lack of education, made fun of how clean Jordi's shoes looked and suggested that Jordi just came back from a Footlocker.
That first round went to Jordi.
But his next opponent Eckonn would prove to be his undoing.
Eckonn compared Jordi to Hannah Montana, while Jordi soulfully explained that he had learned from the best.
Esparza's verbal dexterity is matched by a rattling rhythm and a game face that is as mawkish as it is mockish. The overall effect is that of an underdog with bite.
Eckonn beat Esparza in that round with the overall championship going to Palm Beach-based rapper Reverse.
However, Esparza was just happy to be there. He recently told Austonia going to the finals again was a dream come true—a pinnacle that he said he won't know how to top.
With his nimble jabs and sneaky prowess, honed from pop culture and the swagger of a young working man hungry to be more, Jordi Esparza is just getting started.