With the help of TOWERS Realty, we have put together a comprehensive analysis of recorded downtown Austin condo transactions in 2009. The analysis looks at MLS data capturing 2009 condo sales in area DT during the year 2009. Like all listing data, it excludes private transactions that were not listed on the MLS. This is a big exception considering that hundreds of units have been sold through non-mls sales.
The data does, however, provide a very clear view of the downtown resale market. It shows the price per square foot that buyers are willing to pay for real units, provides information on building-by-building sales prices, and shows how long it takes for units to actually sell. Here is the annual summary of 2009:
Market Summary – MLS recorded 112 downtown Austin condo transactions during 2009 (down 14% over 2008) with an average sales price of $329,374 (down 5%) which represents an average price per square foot of $298 (down 3%). Units sold for 95% of listing price in an average of 88 (3 days faster than 2008). For the second year in a row, the project with the most sales on MLS was Milago with 24 transactions (v 25 last year). Here are the details for 2009 with the comparison to 2008 in parenthesis:
– DT Condo Transactions: 112 (130 in 2008)
– Avg. Sales Price: $329,374 ($345,856)
– Avg. Listing Price: $353,311 ($362,750)
– Sold Price as % of Listing Price: 93% (95%)
– Avg. Sold $/SF: $298 ($308)
– Avg. Listing $/SF: $319 ($322)
– Avg. Days on Market: 88 (91)
– Avg. Unit Size: 1,126 (1,106) Square Feet
Old v New – The MLS data clearly shows that the downtown Austin condo market is really 3 separate markets. The first market contains older units constructed prior to 1986 with an average age of 41 years. The second market is buildings constructed after 1998 when the current downtown boom started. The third market, which we have the least data on, is buildings currently under construction or recently completed. In particular, the high-end Austonian, W, and Four Seasons serve a much higher-end market than any of the current projects. Over the last year, sales of older units has plummeted as new buildings have entered the market. Sales of newer units are up dramatically. Prices for all units are down. Here are the details:
– Average Year Built, All Condo Sales: 1991 (1983 was the average in 2008)
– Units Built Before 1986: 40 (73)
– Units Built 1987 – 1998: 0 (0)
– Units Built After 1998: 82 (57)
– Pre 1986 Avg Sales Price & $/SF: $219,083 ($277,737) & $237 ($278)
– After 1998 Avg Sales Price & $/SF: $390,646 ($430,416) & $324 ($363)
High & Low: In a market and year where affordability is an important issue, it is amazing to see that there were 24 transactions under $200K which is a large increase from 18 units in 2008. It shows that it is possible to find affordable units downtown.
– Least Expensive Sale: $110,000 in Greenwood Towers ($107,000 in Greenwood Towers in 2008)
– Most Expensive Sale: $1,368,000 in the Nokonah ($1,100,100 in the Nokonah)
– Lowest $/SF: $162 for a unit in Greenwood Towers ($168 for a unit in Towers on Town Lake)
– Highest $/SF: $452 for a unit in the Nokonah ($571 for a unit in Five Fifty Five Condos)
– # Units Under $200K: 24 (18)
– # Units Over $750K: 5 (6)
Transactions by Month: Sales results were less cyclical than usual with strength in the second half of the year. Compared with 2008, the beginning of 2009 saw a dramatic reduction in the number of units and the back half of the year saw a strong increase over 2008. While there was strength in the back half of the year, it doesn’t seem to have translated into higher prices. At Milago for example, prices were 3% lower on average in the second half than the first half.
Month – # Units
January – 4 (5)
February – 6 (6)
March – 4 (14)
April – 4 (22)
May – 11 (13)
June – 8 (13)
July – 12 (10)
August – 14 (13)
September – 15 (13)
October – 13 (9)
November – 13 (8)
December – 8 (4)
Over the next year or two, as a significant quantity of transactions continue to be conducted outside of the MLS, it will be difficult to gauge exactly what is happening with downtown Austin condo sales, especially on the high end. With a greater proportion of transactions shifting from private developer sales and auctions to resale and the MLS, we need to see increased MLS activity over the next year just for the market to remain stable. While lending remains constrained and the stresses of the economy remain strong, a dramatic near-term downtown condo upswing is unlikely. For sellers in particular, the next few months will continue to be very difficult.
With the addition of December data (it was a strong month), we’ve updated the AustinTowers | REATX Downtown Austin Condo Market Index through the end of 2009.