Austin home sales are down, but we had a 2.4% increase in jobs since October of 2009. Austin still feels relatively healthy, economically, compared to other parts of the U.S.
However the front-page headline in today’s Austin American-Statesman says “Austin-area home sales set for 4th annul tumble.” (The web version says drop, rather than tumble – is “drop” more SEO-friendly?)
According to the Statesman, October sales were down 31% from a year earlier, and sales have been down over the previous year for five months in a row. Last year we had the tax incentive, which bolstered sales. It would be interesting to see how last year’s numbers would have looked without the incentive, but that would involve guesswork.
It takes an average 92 days to sell a home in Central Texas currently, up from 73 days a year ago. This might also be attributable to the loss of the incentive; it could also be because it’s harder to get a loan. The Statesman quotes JB Goodwin Realtor Robin Curle, who said “lenders are scared and are really tightening up their requirements.” She noted that they’re also busy with refinancings and appraisers are being more cautious, so it takes longer for deals to close, like 45 days instead of 30.
Earlier in the article, Curle is quoted as saying she’s working with some buyers that are looking for great deal – Cynthia Mattiza, also with JB Goodwin, is quoted as saying many buyers are dropping prices, though median prices are up 10% over a year ago (possibly another explanation for the increased days-on-market).
The great deals are out there, to be sure – and I can help you find ’em. If you’re interested, email me at mlebkowsky at cbunited.com.