We reported 9 days ago that downtown Austin condo sales were up 44% year-over-year while prices were down 3%. This was good news but not necessarily indicative of the broader Austin market. Today, newly released MLS numbers show that central Texas existing home sales soared 38% in October with 1,823 houses selling compared with 1,322 a year ago.
While volumes were up, prices were down 5% to $182,000 as a result of a shift in mix to lower priced houses as the demand for inexpensive housing was boosted by the federal tax credit for first-time home buyers.
October sales volumes surpassed October sales in 2008, 2007 and 2006 making this the best October since 2005. The number of homes listed for sale, 8,947, was down 10 percent from a year ago. And pending sales were up 47 percent, with 1,811 contracts waiting to close. Year to date, area home sales are down 11 percent, and the median price was down a very minor 1 percent to $189K.
This is very good news for the Central Texas market and another sign that the worst may be over. That said, the current real estate market remains fragile with low interest rates and tax credits driving mostly low-end demand. For downtown condos, it still remains a buyer’s market although the supply of new units priced below $350K is rapidly disappearing. Many reasonable units, however, are still available on the re-sale market.