by: Billy Gates
AUSTIN (KXAN) — The median home price in the Austin housing market is $5 shy of $500,000, according to the Austin Board of Realtors’ latest housing report.
It’s an all-time high — again — for the Austin-Round Rock MSA, jumping nearly 28% since February 2021 to $499,995. There were also more than 2,500 closings in February, an increase of more than 11% since February of last year, the report said.
“February was a very active month for our housing market as sales price records continue to be broken,” said Cord Shiflet, the 2022 board president. “We’re hearing from economists that last month’s numbers are a potential harbinger of a big year ahead even as our market continues to deal with insufficient supply compared to demand resulting in the steady cycle of home price increases.”
Pending sales in February went up more than 20% from last year to 2,967 and sales dollar value went up 34% from last year to $1.56 billion. The report says that the jump in pending sales means March could be as strong as February from a sales standpoint.
What could affect the housing market going forward is the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Mark Sprague of Independence Title said.
“The uncertainty in eastern Europe has stalled rising interest rates and contributed to keeping mortgage rates domestically below 4%, which is historically low,” he explained. “Ultimately, however, the already accelerated rate of inflation is expected to rise even further — hurting renters, buyers and builders who continue to grapple with fast-rising construction costs.”
He also said it could have supply chain implications as well, since Ukraine sits on numerous reserves of iron ore and other materials.
“Material and labor costs are on pace to rise from 4% to 5% monthly through 2023 and potentially further,” Sprague said.
However, he said Texas is “in a better place than most globally,” when it comes to keeping the market’s economic impact steady, because of high demand and “Austin’s diverse economy.”
When looking at the City of Austin’s housing market on its own, 834 homes were sold in February and the median home price jumped 15% to $565,000. In Travis County, the median home price rose to $541,050.