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Austin Real Estate Statistics for December

With 1373 sales in December 2009 (compared to 1305 in December 2008) this marks the fourth month in a row where Austin sales were up over the previous year. The average and median sales price were up 6 percent. The number of active listings is down 5% from this time last year.

After adjusting for seasonal variations, December had strong numbers compared to most of 2009. But it was much weaker than what we saw in the previous two months. October (1783 sales) and November (1542 sales) were incredibly strong. Below are monthly statistics for the last few years.

Yr Month Sales % 1 Yr Change % 2 Yr Change Average Price % Price Change Median Price % Price Change Active Listings % Change Pending Sales Sold to List Price Months of Inventory
07 Jan 1,475 $241,169 $175,000 7,060 2,186 96.9% 4.786
07 Feb 1,723 $233,936 $176,000 7,334 2,499 97.0% 4.256
07 Mar 2,315 $245,391 $177,000 7,776 2,934 97.0% 3.358
07 Apr 2,295 $249,912 $185,000 8,354 3,016 97.6% 3.64
07 May 2,698 $250,156 $184,050 8,821 3,125 97.8% 3.269
07 Jun 2,772 $259,310 $191,800 9,159 2,789 97.7% 3.304
07 Jul 2,621 $257,386 $189,900 9,451 2,573 97.2% 3.605
07 Aug 2,497 $259,686 $191,250 9,819 2,196 97.1% 3.932
07 Sep 1,816 $252,844 $182,500 9,979 1,695 96.2% 5.495
07 Oct 1,770 $242,399 $180,000 9,431 1,953 96.4% 5.328
07 Nov 1,648 $248,768 $185,000 8,069 1,278 95.9% 4.896
07 Dec 1,638 $251,123 $190,000 8,522 1,006 96.0% 5.202
08 Jan 1,312 -0.11 $245,305 0.02 $187,000 0.07 8,727 0.24 1,935 95.4% 6.651
08 Feb 1,547 -0.1 $233,945 0 $180,090 0.02 9,127 0.24 1,803 96.1% 5.899
08 Mar 1,829 -0.21 $239,777 -0.02 $188,000 0.06 9,638 0.24 2,063 95.9% 5.269
08 Apr 1,944 -0.15 $240,592 -0.04 $186,950 0.01 10,034 0.2 2,109 96.5% 5.161
08 May 2,108 -0.22 $261,580 0.05 $195,000 0.06 10,577 0.2 2,146 96.9% 5.017
08 Jun 2,222 -0.2 $259,114 0 $199,940 0.04 10,886 0.19 1,996 96.4% 4.899
08 Jul 2,068 -0.21 $256,526 0 $195,000 0.03 10,913 0.15 2,032 96.7% 5.277
08 Aug 1,994 -0.2 $256,345 -0.01 $196,740 0.03 10,348 0.05 1,792 96.2% 5.189
08 Sep 1,673 -0.08 $241,881 -0.04 $182,000 0 10,217 0.02 1,520 96.2% 6.106
08 Oct 1,322 -0.25 $243,364 0 $192,460 0.07 9,944 0.05 1,234 95.4% 7.521
08 Nov 997 -0.4 $234,444 -0.06 $182,000 -0.02 9,243 0.15 1,147 94.9% 9.27
08 Dec 1,305 -0.2 $247,025 -0.02 $182,500 -0.04 8,520 0 1,114 94.2% 6.528
09 Jan 840 -0.36 -0.43 $231,006 -0.06 $176,750 -0.05 8,738 0 1,327 94.3% 10.402
09 Feb 1,109 -0.28 -0.36 $241,586 0.03 $190,000 0.06 9,373 0.03 1,406 94.7% 8.451
09 Mar 1,407 -0.23 -0.39 $230,885 -0.04 $180,000 -0.04 9,704 0.01 1,846 95.1% 6.896
09 Apr 1,579 -0.19 -0.31 $232,394 -0.03 $189,900 0.02 9,889 -0.01 1,919 95.6% 6.262
09 May 1,691 -0.2 -0.37 $252,323 -0.04 $193,000 -0.01 9,939 -0.06 2,132 95.7% 5.877
09 Jun 2,092 -0.06 -0.25 $250,921 -0.03 $199,250 0 10,107 -0.07 2,084 95.9% 4.831
09 Jul 2,056 -0.01 -0.22 $244,878 -0.05 $192,290 -0.01 9,988 -0.08 1,996 96.3% 4.857
09 Aug 1,773 -0.11 -0.29 $243,257 -0.05 $189,000 -0.04 9,555 -0.08 1,980 96.2% 5.389
09 Sep 1,760 0.05 -0.03 $240,526 -0.01 $186,270 0.02 9,148 -0.1 1,886 95.7% 5.197
09 Oct 1,783 0.35 0.01 $237,095 -0.03 $180,000 -0.06 8,948 -0.1 1,811 95.8% 5.018
09 Nov 1,542 0.55 -0.06 $238,163 0.02 $178,000 -0.02 8,551 -0.07 1,232 95.8% 5.545
09 Dec 1,373 0.05 -0.16 $261,372 0.06 $194,000 0.06 8,079 -0.05 1,073 95.5% 5.884
Yr Month Sales % 1 Yr Change % 2 Yr Change Average Price % Price Change Median Price % Price Change Active Listings % Change Pending Sales Sold to List Price Months of Inventory

So all the numbers still look pretty strong. So the market is about to set on fire right? I am not so sure. I think the last few months the market has been incredibly strong because of the housing tax credit and historically low interest rates. Even if interest rates stay down for awhile longer, the tax credit is going to expire. And once the tax credit expires, I doubt the market will be moving as slow as it was this time last year (when people were talking about a possible economic depression). Rather, it's probably going to be slower than what we are seeing today. For buyers the trade off is that later there might be less buyers to compete with in the market later but interest rates might be higher. For sellers there is no real trade off. Waiting a few months for higher interest rates and less buyers is probably far from ideal.

Moving on let's look at different market segments. Here is the numbers for the year broken down by market segment.

The Austin condo market looks likes it's finally seeing some improvement. Sales are up 31% compared to last year. The number of condos on the market has fallen from 1569 to 1287. Austin was spared from some of what we saw in Florida because the condo boom hit right before the market meltdown in late 2007. While there were a lot of Austin condo projects planned many of them fell apart. That said the condo market is still worse than the single family market. I have heard a few people say that the condo market is actually stronger than the residential market, which I disagree. The months of inventory shows the number of months it would take to sell everything currently on the market (assuming nothing new was added). The lower the number the better the market is doing. Looking at months of inventory for December 2009, we see condos with more inventory / less strong:

Condos - 8.52
Homes - 5.884

The second part of the pro-condo argument is that the months of inventory is higher but that’s always true, and if we take that into account we will see the condo market has recovered from the downturn faster than the residential market. So I looked at numbers from January 2007 before the market started to slow down and compared them to today's numbers.

Condos Jan 2007 - 5.31
Condos Dec 2009 - 8.52
Homes Jan 2007 - 4.786
Homes Dec 2009 - 5.884

So the condo market has suffered more over the last few years than the residential market. But that said, the condo market is doing better than it was 6 months ago.

The Austin commercial market is up this month but still struggling. I have been mixed on the commercial market. On the one hand it’s appealing because prices are down. The problem I see with the commercial market deals with loans. One of the main benefits of buying now is locking into a long term loan at today's abnormally low interest rates. So if I buy multifamily I can get a low rate locked in for 30 years. With commercial in general it’s rare to get a rate locked for more than 5 years. So when we are looking at commercial properties, the question is always "the numbers look great today but what is my mortgage going to be in 5 years when the rate starts adjusting."

The multifamily market is also up for the month. The multifamily market is still struggling. A lot of the problems with the multifamily market have to do with difficulty in financing. Currently banks like residential properties but they are less interested in multifamily properties. Currently it’s difficult to get a loan for a multifamily property with less than 30% down. A few years ago investors were picking up multifamily properties with 5 to 10% down.

As far as the different areas of Austin, here are sales numbers for the different mls areas of Austin.

As always if you have any questions about the market in general or a property in particular, feel free to contact us. If you want to search for properties on market, here is our Austin home search.

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