If you’ve owned a house in Austin over the last year, I am pleased to announce that you are 0.33% richer based on the new value of your home. Between February, 2007 and February, 2008, the average single family house in Austin is up 1/3 of a percent to $233,015.
While this may not seem like good news at first, it makes Austin one of the strongest real estate markets in the country. During a period when national home prices fell 10.7% and housing in markets such as Miami, Phoenix, and Las Vegas fell by 19.3%, 18.2%, and 19.3% respectively, Austin is practically in a class of its own. Of the top twenty markets, of which Austin is not included, only Charlotte, North Carolina showed a positive return.
While the data is not apple to apples — the Austin market looks at the average sale over the period and the national statistics look at repeat sales of the same houses — Austin’s positive growth is a sign of strength in difficult times. While most of the country is struggling with unprecedented market declines, record foreclosures, and skittish buyers waiting on the sidelines for the market to bottom out, the Austin market has held steady. In parts of the city — especially central Austin and Westlake — values continue to grow at enviable rates.
While Austin isn’t immune to the effects of the national market, the city’s strong job growth, economy, and migration patterns have provided a buffer against weak credit markets and rising jumbo mortgage rates.
While Austin has remained flat, CNN reports that the national data released today is the worst on record:
“Residential real estate has posted another record decline.The S&P Case/Shiller Home Price index of 20 key markets, released Tuesday, shows that home prices plunged 10.7% in the 12 months ending January. That marks their lowest level since the index launched in 2000.Of those 20 metro areas, 16 reported record annual declines. Ten of those cities posted double digit declines through the 12 months that ended in January.The survey’s 10-city index fell 11.4% year-over-year, its steepest decline since its inception in 1987. “