AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Austin housing market has “shifted and started to rebalance,” with homes now spending an average of more than two months on the market.
The Austin Board of Realtors President Ashley Jackson made the comments in the December edition of the board’s monthly housing market report, released Wednesday.
“December tells us a lot about how the market has shifted and started to rebalance as there was a sales price drop and a staggering increase in how long homes take to sell,” Jackson said.
Homes that sold in December spent an average of 73 days on the market, almost triple the average from a year ago. The average is the highest since March 2012 — almost 11 years ago — when homes took on average 83 days to sell, according to ABoR data.
“That shows the ease that a buyer may have right now on getting a house under contract,” Jackson said. “For sellers, what this means is, ‘Hey, your house may sit a little bit longer on the market.'”
Across all of 2022, homes spent an average of 31 days on the market, up from 20 days in 2021.
“After two years of unprecedented demand, activity and price increases, our housing market began to stabilize in 2022,” Jackson said. “Signs point to that trend continuing in 2023 even as interest rates fluctuate.”
In 2022, the median home price in the Austin metro increased by about 11% year-over-year, to an annual record of $503,000. But as prices rose, the number of sales decreased. In total, 33,547 homes were sold in the Austin area in 2022, a drop of 18% from the previous year.
“The number of homes available for purchase is fantastic for buyers, and interest rates have come down a little bit over the past month making this a fantastic time to buy, and we may not have a real large window when this is true,” Jackson said. “So I would encourage buyers to work with realtors and make that move. Now is a great time to do it. I’ve lived here 40 years, and I’ve only seen a few times when it’s been this good.”
In total, more than $21 billion in home sales contributed to the Austin-area economy, according to ABoR, representing a decrease of about 10% compared to 2021.
Jackson said she is concerned there could be a shortage in housing inventory moving forward.
“As we see interest rates continue to fluctuate and ease up a little bit potentially, we may have more buyers coming into the market. Meanwhile, builders have pulled back a little bit due to construction costs,” Jackson said. “So as we see demand go up, and then our supply stays pretty steady, we may move into a competitive market, like we’ve seen in prior years, prior to the pandemic.”
Homes within Austin city limits remain the most expensive, at a median price of $525,250 in December, a 5.4% decrease from a year ago. Prices also dropped in Travis County as a whole, by 4.6%, Williamson County, by 2.4%, and Bastrop County, by 6.5%.
Prices did increase year-over-year in Hays and Caldwell counties. The median home price in Hays County was $427,700 in December, an 8.3% increase year-over-year. Prices in Caldwell County jumped 6.5% in the same timeframe.
Jackson said while bidding wars have subdued, the region is heading into what is normally a seasonal peak for sales.
“It is important to remember that we still have a desirable and sought-after market,” Jackson said. “It is just that now we are seeing our market return to a more normal level of high demand and activity than what we experienced in the years leading up to the COVID pandemic and subsequent boom in our market.”