What’s Happening in the Austin Real Estate Market?

September 12, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

I had the pleasure of speaking to the Great Hills Ladies’ Club this morning about what’s happening in the Austin real estate market. I outlined what things affect our real estate market, what statistics we watch to spot trends and specific data on current listings and homes sold in the Great Hills area.

Where we are now—

Population of Austin close to 2M; 11th largest city

11,000 real estate agents; Currently 7214 homes for sale (11% more listings than last year)

Last big boom was 2006; Last bust started in 2008

Market correction is due in the future, but how severe.  We fared pretty well in the last one.

Real estate is local and cyclical –usually runs in 10 year cycles.

In Austin, economically we are stronger than most. Our job growth is at 7.1% (the average is 6%).  The unemployment rate is around 3%, compared to 4.4% in Texas and 4.7% in the US. We have a very diverse economy—State government, the University of Texas, high tech, bio med, music and entertainment. It’s also a mecca for entrepreneurship. Even though the traffic is bad, the good far outweighs the bad. We are on everyone’s top 10 list.

What things affect the real estate market—Things we can control and things we can’t control

Cant’ Control—

Job growth and employment

Interest rates

Stock market—when stocks free fall it shakes consumer confidence; some people get out of stock market and put money into real estate

Consumer confidence—the real estate market freezes when consumers are worried. They don’t make big financial decisions if there is uncertainty.

Affordability—rising taxes, rising costs of utilities and maintenance, building infrastructure

The number of buyers or sellers in the local market at any given time

Can Control—

Educating our client to put them in the most competitive position to buy or sell.

Buyer—preapproved for loan; understanding market dynamics; learn the contracts; written offer letter to go into the presentation

Seller—market ready; professional photography; title work complete; priced correctly; marketing plan executed.

Communication—For buyers it is scanning the market for all sources of homes (silent market, networking groups, social media, letters to neighborhood) For sellers it is following up after each showing, market updates and being available to answer any questions and concerns. Constant communication with both.

What things do I look at monthly to watch for market changes?

Real estate is all about supply and demand—Inventory is a big key. # of houses, seasonal, building or contracting.

More houses on the market and inventory is high, prices drop over time. (Buyer’s market)

Fewer houses, prices increase over time.  (Seller’s market)

Months of inventory is a key stat that we look at. Take active number of listings and divide by the numbers of sold in one month.   12 actives divided by 3 solds = 4 months of inventory.  If no other houses came onto the market it would take 4 months to sell 12 homes.

Days on Market is another statistic that we watch. How many days is it taking for listings in an area to go from active to pending.

We publish our market report monthly on www.WestAustin.com/market-report

Other things to watch:

Unemployment numbers

Job growth

Interest rates

Venture capital funds

Tax values and tax rates

Where are we now?

For the past 3-4 years we have experienced 8-10% appreciation in house prices each year. This year, it’s slowed to 5-6%. I see lots of Realtors selling their own properties. For the past 3-4 years we’ve had extremely low inventory, demand has been high, multiple offers, bidding wars, rising prices. Buyers drove until they could qualify.  For the first time in a long time, we are starting to see price reductions, lower than asking price offers, appraisals coming in lower than buyers expected even agent bonuses and pleas to Bring Offers. Days on the market are increasing. The average days on the market is 43, 5 days longer than last year. Inventory is building slowly. This usually happens in late summer, but it started earlier this year. Buyers are looking at more homes before making offers, and then making offers at or below list price. They are studying the numbers harder.

What about Great Hills?

Currently 17 homes on the market;  In the last 90, days 22 homes sold and closed

List prices ranged from $474,500 to $1,100,000; sold prices $462,500 to $1,000,000

Days on Market 8; Median sq ft. 2650; Median sales price $560,000; Median price per sq ft. $225

Only one zip code selling faster, excellent schools, access, area and subdivision amenities

As always, real estate is local and specific to your neighborhood.  To find out the data for your home, I invite you to contact me for a consultation. Thank you to the Great Hills Ladies Club for inviting me to speak.

Laura Duggan, Broker/Owner, West Austin Properties, 3312 River Road, Austin, TX 78703. 512-750-2425; Laura@westaustin.com 

August Real Estate Market Report Shows Early Slowdown in Austin

August 23, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

As temperatures in Austin start to broil, the real estate market typically starts to cool this time of the year. This year, sales began to slow a little earlier than normal causing real estate agents to wonder a little earlier than usual why their listings aren’t flying off the market like they were a few months ago.  Part of the answer is that seasonally, we always have a build up in sales during the late winter and early spring months then a crest generally around mid July. This year that peak came at the beginning of June.



Do you think buyers are just worn out? Rising prices, multiple offers on multiple properties, investors with cash and the sheer number of buyers competing for homes can wear a buyer out. Buyers may be waiting for the market to cool slightly, prices to level off and for fewer buyers to be competing for the fall inventory. We’ve had more pending home sales in July than in the past 8 years, but there is also a higher inventory, almost 12% more homes for sale than last year at this time. More inventory, fewer buyers. In most price ranges, we are moving from an extreme seller’s market (under $500,000) to a more normal seller’s market. ($500,000 to $1M). Over $1M we go to a normal to an extreme buyer’s market.


It’s hard to believe that there are 139 homes in the MLS, and a number more that are on the silent market, above $3,000,000. Luxury home sales have been slower this year than last and I expect that trend to continue at least into next year. Falling oil prices, market instability, the economic woes overseas and an unpredictable election year are causing luxury home buyers to sit on the sidelines. Even in Austin where our economy is fed by many different sources and our outlook remains good, housing at the luxury end will see increased days on market and prices falling as they go up price band.

Real estate is local, and as always, we invite you to contact us directly for specific data in your areas of interest. We are here to serve you!  For a copy of our latest Market Report, visit our website.

Submitted by Laura Duggan, REALTOR, 512-750-2425, laura@westaustin.com

West Austin Properties, 3312 River Road, Austin, TX 78703.



May Austin Real Estate Market Report Summary

May 15, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

The Austin real estate market continues to boom, and in fact, is hitting record sales. Between January and the end of April, more homes sold in 2016 than any time in Austin history.  2016 even surpassed the prior two highest years of 2006 and 2007.  For homes sales by zip code and price band, take a look at our latest real estate market report.



4,764 homes are currently pending, the highest number of pendings in Austin history for any month. Inventory is higher this year and that is helping boost those pending numbers. In fact, if we had more inventory, we know we’d have more home sales as we are still seeing multiple buyers compete for our listings and other buyers competing with our buyers for homes. There are currently more homes for sale than the previous three years.  There are 13.88% more homes for sale now than last year at this time.
Austin has two types of markets though:  Under $1,000,000 it is a Seller’s Market, where demand outpaces the number of homes for sale.  Over $1,000,000 it is an “Extreme Buyer’s Market.”
  • 47% of all Austin homes listed for sale are priced under $400,000.  At all price ranges under $400,000 the market is an “Extreme Seller’s Market” resulting in High Appreciation.  There are now only 119 homes listed under $100,000 in the entire Austin area, representing 2% of all homes listed.
  • 40% of all Austin homes listed for sale are priced between $400,000 and $1,000,000.  At all price ranges in this price band, the market is defined as a “Normal Seller’s Market”, with Moderate Appreciation.
  • 13% of the Austin homes listed for sale are priced over $1,000,000.  In every price band over $1,000,000 thee are so few sales compared to inventory that it is defined as an “Extreme Sellers Market” with High Depreciation.
Interests rates remain at record lows. Only three times in history have rates been any lower. Conventional rates are running around 3.6% and qualifying is easier this year than last year because some of the lending guidelines have been relaxed.
Of the homes that sold in April, the average number of days they had been on the market was 44 days.  This is 13.73% LESS than a year ago.
Historically during May and June, the number of homes sold each month increases, pending sales start leveling off, the total number of homes for sale increases, and the average days a home is on the market before being sold decreases.
Historically starting in July or August, the number of homes sold each month, the number of pending sales, and the number of homes for sale begins to decline.  Days on the market for homes sold begin to increase.
Affordability in Austin    Five years ago in 2011, 41% of all home for sale were priced under $200,000.  Today only 10% of all home for sale are priced under $200,000.  And 5 years ago there were more choices for buyers with 3931 homes to choose from.  Today there are only 525 listed for sale under $200,000.
It is still a great time to buy or sell a home in Austin, Texas!  We would love to assist you with all of your real estate needs.
Posted by Laura Duggan, West Austin Properties, 3312 River Road, Austin, Texas 78703, 512-750-2425.

Austin Real Estate Market Remains Strong for 2016

January 12, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

As we begin the new year, the Austin real estate market continues at a strong pace. The average sold price in our market is up 12.4% over the same time last year, and more homes sold in December than in any previous December. In fact, our holidays were filled with more buyer showings and closings than in recent memory.  Take a look at all of the sales by zip code and price band in our January 2016 Real Estate Market Report.



Demand for homes is still high with the consistent growth in our city causing homes to continue to appreciate at sometimes double digit rates. Even in the first week of January our buyers have been competing for houses that have received multiple offers, a phenom that usually takes place during the spring and summer months. For the last 6 months, pendings have been at record levels.

Currently, there are just under 5000 homes on the market in the Austin MLS., a few more than in the previous two years but still way short of normal. That number translates to an average of 2.3 months of inventory, still a buyer’s market.

Dr. Ted Jones, Chief Economist at The Real Estate Center at Texas A&M, gave Austin a “full speed ahead” rating for Austin in 2016 today at his Outlook for Real Estate and the Economy because of our strong job growth.  Jones reports that we have more jobs than ever before in our history and that our retail boom is just beginning. Income here went up 6.6% of last year and new companies are relocating their headquarters and regional offices here. To those coming in, our real estate is still a bargain compared to the places they are leaving.  Jones also predicted that the Austin market won’t be affected by rising interest rates, that he said would reach 5.5%  or by the oil industry because of our growth.

Real estate is local. If we can help you with an equity analysis of your current home or help you start building equity in another one, please call on us. We are all natives and happy to help you with all of your real estate needs. As Jones pointed out, real estate has proven time and again that it is the very best investment one can make. That certainly proves true for Austin, Texas.

Submitted by Laura Duggan, Broker, West Austin Properties, 3312 River Road, Austin, Texas 78703. 512-750-2425 and Laura@WestAustin.com

New Lending Rules Delay Real Estate Closings

October 15, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

As of October 3rd, there is a new Federal rule (the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure rule) that governs lenders who make mortgage loans to consumers. The old rule required lenders to give 3 loan disclosures to home buyers–the Good Faith Estimate (GFE), the Truth in Lending (TIL) and the Settlement Statement (HUD). The Feds thought these three were confusing to borrowers and have replaced them with two new disclosures. The new rule also requires all lenders to use the same loan application and disclosure form called a Loan Estimate form. The idea is that buyers can more easily compare lenders’ rates and fees. The second one is the Closing Disclosure, which replaces the Settlement Statement (HUD).  These new disclosures require new processes.

Title companies used to prepare these statements and deliver them to buyers and their agents prior to closing for their review, but now the lender is responsible for the compliance and delivery of these disclosures. The lender must provide the Closing Disclosure at least three business days prior to closing, now called the loan consummation.  The timeline for this rule counts Saturdays as a business day, but not Sundays and Federal holidays.  No changes can be made to the Closing Disclosure during that three day period. If a change is required, the three day timeline starts over. This is the part where patience may play a big role as there will no doubt be unexpected delays when changes are made. Lenders may still ask title companies to prepare and send the Closing Disclosures to their clients and continue to perform the Loan Consummation. (closing)

Another change is that your real estate agent will have to get permission from their client in writing on a promulgated form for the lender or the title company to release any information to them. We will provide these forms to our clients when we prepare our representation agreements.

What do these changes mean for our clients? The entire process is going to take longer.  Financing and closing a home used to take 30-45 days. Now, we expect it to take 45-60 days from contract until to consummation to close a loan.  We can, however, recommend a number of excellent (and honest!) lenders who can provide the proper disclosures and get loans closed in the most timely manner possible. The learning curve will be steep for all parties, so working with a highly experienced lender will be important.

Posted by Laura Duggan and Katy Freshour, West Austin Properties, 3312 River Road, Austin, TX 78703, 512-750-2425 (Laura), laura@westaustin.com, 512-826-4310 (Katy), katyfreshour@gmail.com

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