With all of the attention on the housing market, the abundance of data available can be overwhelming. Sales, contracts, starts, new homes, resales…all from the national, state and local level. Generally, we hear each statistic on its scheduled release date, making it difficult to get an overall read on the marketplace. Mark Sprague, Director of Business Development for Mission Mortgage, recently provided this summary of Austin’s recent housing market performance in his weekly newsletter, The Mission Statement.
How is Austin doing compared to the rest of the state in home sales? Among the major Texas metros, Houston is doing best in the first two months of 2011, with sales 2.4% above the same period last year. Austin came in third out of the major Texas cities compared to 2010. Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin and San Antonio remain negative by 2.2%, 9.5%, 2.8% and 2.9% respectively.
Austin’s months of inventory on the market measure increased from 5.6 in January to 5.9 in February. It was 6.2 months one year ago. July 2010’s 7.4 months of inventory represents the peak of this recession/recovery. The average for 2010 was 6.6, above the 6.4 months average of 2009. While Austin’s average has typically been below 6 months, a balanced supply is considered to be 6 months. Dallas had 6.6 months of inventory in February, compared to 6.1 a year ago. Fort Worth has increased from 6.4 to 6.9, Houston from 6.6 to 7.5 and San Antonio from 7.8 to 7.9.
Austin’s resales in February totaled 1,214, 2.8% below the number of homes sold in February 2010 and 16.8% above the total for January, according to numbers from the Austin Board of Realtors and the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M. January is historically one of the lower sales months of the year. Traditionally February sales invariably exceed January sales at a double digit rate in Austin (remember when comparing year-over-year, you are comparing to a time when you had the housing tax incentive available). Nationally, February home sales were 2.3% below a year ago, but up from last month by 2.8%. Statewide, February 2010 sales are 9.6% lower than one year ago and up from last month by 12.1%.
Austin’s median home price in February is $190,000, up from the previous month by 2.2% and up from one year ago by 4.1%. The average price, at $241,900, is down 0.7% from January but up 3.1% over February 2010. Dallas median price is $158,700, 5.9% above 12 months ago. Houston’s price is $151,900, up 3.7%, and San Antonio is at $146,400, up 3.3%. Fort Worth has a median price of $107,200, 2.6% below February 2010. The national median price is $156,100, down by 5.2% from February 2010 and almost 30% below the peak reached in 2006’s median home price of $221,900.