Monthly Archives: May 2015

Austin MLS Reports Prices At All-time High

Austin-area home prices reach all-time high, home sales set record for April 2015

Austin Board of REALTORS® releases real estate statistics for April 2015

AUSTIN, Texas – May 21, 2015 – Austin-area single-family home prices once again hit an all-time high, while single-family home sales volume set a record for the month of April, according to the April 2015 Multiple Listing Service (MLS) report released today by the Austin Board of REALTORS®. This marks the eighth-straight month of annual home sale increases, as housing affordability continues to be a challenge in the Austin market.

Barb Cooper, 2015 President of the Austin Board of REALTORS®, explained, “The summer selling season doesn’t usually start in April, but it arrived early this year with significant increases in single-family home sales and prices for April 2015. Showing the impact of these increases, it cost nearly $20,000 more to buy a home in April 2015 than in March 2015 – one of the largest jumps in median home price that we’ve seen in years.”

According to the report, the median price for Austin-area single-family homes increased 14 percent year-over-year to $274,000 in April 2015, while average price increased 11 percent to $341,054 during the same time frame. Once again, less than three in 10 single-family homes sold in the Austin area were priced below $200,000.

New listings for single-family homes increased nine percent year-over-year to 3,807 and active listings increased by 11 percent to 5,915 in April 2015. Pending sales also rose during the same time frame, increasing four percent year-over-year to 2,909 in April 2015.

More listings entering the market caused inventory levels to spike in April 2015, with Austin-area housing inventory reaching 2.5 months in April 2015, 0.2 months higher than April 2014, but a figure still well below the 6.5 month level the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University estimates as a balanced housing market.

“While this influx of housing stock is badly needed, unfortunately the majority of homes entering the market continue to be priced outside of an affordable range for many Austin residents, driving home buyers to look to surrounding markets outside of Austin,” added Cooper. “More than half of Austin-area homebuyers continue to purchase homes outside of Austin’s city limits in areas like Kyle, Pflugerville, and Georgetown.”

Single-family home sales volume also set a record for the month of April, increasing eight percent year-over-year to 2,568 home sales in April 2015.

Cooper concluded, “The Austin Board of REALTORS® is pleased to see that city leaders are taking Austin’s need for affordability relief seriously with the establishment of the City of Austin Regional Affordability Committee. We expect lasting, impactful affordability solutions to come out of this committee and encourage Austin residents to get involved and voice the affordability challenges in their community. The Austin Board of REALTORS® looks forward to working alongside committee members and the community to find a long-term solution.”

April 2015 Statistics

    • 2,568 – Single-family homes sold, eight percent more than April 2014.
    • $274,000 – Median price for single-family homes, 14 percent more than April 2014.
    • $341,054 – Average price for single-family homes, 11 percent more than April 2014.
    • 46 – Average number of days single-family homes spent on the market, one day more than April 2014.
    • 3,807 – New single-family home listings on the market, nine percent more than April 2014.
    • 5,915 – Active single-family home listings on the market, 11 percent more than April 2014.
    • 2,909 – Pending sales for single-family homes, four percent more than April 2014.
    • 2.5 – Months of inventory* of single-family homes, 0.2 increase from April 2014.
  • $875,826,672 – Total dollar volume of single-family properties sold, 19 percent more than April 2014.

The following sections describe trends in other sectors of the Austin-area real estate market.

Townhouses & Condominiums

The volume of townhouses and condominiums (condos) purchased in the Austin area in April 2015 was 284, an eight percent decrease from April 2014. The median price for condos was $230,000, which is seven percent more than the same month of the prior year. When compared to April 2014, these properties spent eight fewer days on the market, or an average of 34 days.


In April 2015, a total of 1,437 properties were leased in Austin, which is 18 percent more than April 2014. The median price for Austin-area home leases was $1,550, which is three percent more than the same month of the prior year.

The Austin Board of REALTORS® (ABoR) builds connections through the use of technology, education and advocacy to strengthen the careers of its 11,000 members and improve the lives of Central Texas families. We empower Austin REALTORS® to connect their clients to the region’s most complete, accurate and up-to-date listings data. For more, contact the ABoR Department of Public Affairs or 512-454-7636. For the latest local housing market listings,
* The inventory of homes for a market can be measured in months, which is defined as the number of active listings divided by the average sales per month of the prior 12 months. The Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University cites that 6.5 months of inventory represents a market in which supply and demand for homes is balanced.

Over-heated Austin Market? By Jeff Stewart, CCIM, SRES


The Travis Central Appraisal District reports that Travis County property values increased approximately 11%, as reflected in the recently mailed out notices of valuation.  The Austin MLS reported that recent sales were up 10% from the same period a year ago.  All of this has contributed to more discussion about whether the Austin market is “over-heated” or “over-priced”.

In our last residential sales meeting, we had a good, healthy discussion about this among the veteran Stanberry  agents.  We arrived at a few conclusions that I think are worth sharing.  Consider the terms: over-heated, over-priced, inflated, speculation, and bubble.  To the public they all mean roughly the same thing, but they are quite different from our perspective.  It is worth understanding the subtle nuances.

First, what is over-heated?  I am not even sure myself.  I would think that it is when buyers are bidding up sales prices above the original list price.  If so, I suppose we are over-heated.  No one denies that multiple offers are often the norm in this market.

Second, are we over-priced?  Now that is more difficult to define.  After quite a bit of discussion, the senior brokers at Stanberry & Associates had to agree that we were not.  Value is the price agreed to by an informed and willing seller and a similarly informed and willing buyer.  If the public feels something is worth x-amount, then how can it be considered over-priced?  Over-priced, in our point of view, is when sellers have such a lofty idea of the value of their property that no buyers are interested.  With less than a three month inventory of homes in the Austin MLS, our buyers are obviously more than interested.  No, I would say we are not over-priced by that scenario.

Third, how about inflated?  That is tougher to answer.  Prices have been inflated by demand, but not inflation.  I have seen fairly modest homes in Eanes go up more than $100,000 in the last year.  That certainly seems inflated.  My question is, “Does it matter why the prices have gone up sharply?”  Does the cause of price increases determine inflation by definition?  If demand is driving price increases, does it matter if the demand is from homeowners or speculative investors?  I think it does.  Several months ago, I wrote that I was not of the opinion that we were in a bubble.  I cited the lack of speculation as a reason for that statement.  Recently I have seen much more interest from outside investors.  We have definitely attracted the interest of outside speculators and this will lead to somewhat inflated values, if it has not already.

In short, prices seem inflate, but most properties are not over-priced by my definition.  It is unlikely that we are in a bubble, since job growth is still high and people continue to flock to Austin.  Can our market cross over into a “frothy state” that bears watching?  Definitely.

Jeff Stewart, CCIM, SRES

Stanberry & Associates, REALTORS