The median price of a house in Austin-Round Rock metro area rose nearly 28% compared to last year and now stands at an all-time high of $499,995, new data from the Austin Board of Realtors shows.
And in the city of Austin alone, it’s even higher: the median price rose to $565,000 in the same time frame.
Cord Shiflet, the 2022 ABoR president, said February was a very active month as sales price records continued to break.
“We’re hearing from economists that last month’s numbers are a potential harbinger of a big year ahead even as our market continues to deal with insufficient supply compared to demand resulting in the steady cycle of home price increases,” Shiflet said.
While Austin’s housing market has been booming as Central Texas continues its growth as a major tech hub, other factors are affecting affordability.
Mark Sprague of Independence Title, an Austin-based title and escrow company, noted that the Russian invasion of Ukraine may be making an impact locally and nationally.
“The uncertainty in eastern Europe has stalled rising interest rates and contributed to keeping mortgage rates domestically below 4%, which is historically low,” Sprague said.
He added that the inflation rate is expected to rise even further, an event that’ll ultimately hurt renters, buyers and builders who foot the bill on rapidly rising construction costs.
Sprague said construction supply chain will also undergo even more strain since Ukraine sits on several material reserves like iron ore.
“Material and labor costs are on pace to rise from 4% to 5% monthly through 2023 and potentially further,” Sprague said.
This sets the stage for the possibility of housing inventory falling to be even more likely. Still, Sprague says Austin is in a better position to remain steady than other parts of the world due to the strong housing demand and diverse economy.
Here are the February housing market trends in Central Texas:
- In Travis County, home sales increased almost 4% as the median price in Travis County rose 15% year over year to $541,050.
- In Williamson County, home sales rose 32% as the median price rose 32.7% year over year to $479,000.
- In Hays County, home sales increased 7.6% as the median price for homes jumped 42.5% year over year to $427,350.
- In Bastrop County, home sales declined almost 25% as the median price skyrocketed 61% year over year to $443,835.
- In Caldwell County, home sales increased 42% as the median home price rose 57% year over year to $314,695.
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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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