Home sales de­crease as prices rise

Austin American-Statesman - - COMMUNITY NEWS - By Nicole Bar­rios nicole.bar­rios@ac­n­news­pa­pers.com

Fe­bru­ary home sales in Wil­liamson County de­creased as home prices in­creased com­pared to the same month last year, ac­cord­ing to data from the Wil­liamson County As­so­ci­a­tion of Real­tors.

The cur­rent mar­ket is a strong seller’s mar­ket, said Suzanne Gant­ner, the as­so­ci­a­tion’s pres­i­dent. Ac­cord­ing to a re­port by the as­so­ci­a­tion, 614 homes were sold in the county last month, which is about a 5 per­cent de­crease from the prior year.

Home prices in­creased by 8.5 per­cent when com­pared to prices year af­ter year, the re­port shows. Gant­ner said sup­ply and de­mand in­flu­enced that in­crease — and buy­ers should ex­pect the process to take longer than nor­mal.

“The process is tak­ing a lit­tle longer be­cause there’s a hous­ing short­age, so that’s why you don’t see a whole lot of sales, but you see the sales price go up,” she said.

The num­ber of homes for sale is low due to de­mand from new res­i­dents, she said, so prices have risen.

“The Cen­tral Texas re­gion is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a weird phe­nom­e­non where the ur­ban ar­eas and the sub­ur­ban ar­eas are grow­ing,” she said.

The county’s pop­u­la­tion grew by more than 37,000 res­i­dents from 2013-15 — about an 8 per­cent in­crease in two years, ac­cord­ing to county pop­u­la­tion es­ti­mates.

Peo­ple are flock­ing to Wil­liamson County for many rea­sons, Gant­ner said.

“First and fore­most is the de­sir­abil­ity. We’ve got great schools, great shop­ping and restau­rants,” she said. “In Austin, you didn’t have any­where else to build, so every­body had to go to ei­ther Hays or Wil­liamson coun­ties if they were go­ing to go the new home route.”

Af­ford­abil­ity is also a fac­tor. “In Austin, if you were to buy a four-bed­room home, you’re look­ing at twice the price as if you came to Wil­liamson County and found some­thing com­pat­i­ble,” she said.

The me­dian home price in the county is $265,000, which is about 8.5 per­cent more than the me­dian price in Fe­bru­ary 2016, ac­cord­ing to the re­port.

Com­pared to the en­tire Austin-Round Rock metropoli­tan sta­tis­ti­cal area, which in­cludes Hays, Travis and Wil­liamson coun­ties, the me­dian home price in Wil­liamson County is $20,000 less than the metropoli­tan area, the re­port shows.

Just within Round Rock city lim­its, the me­dian home price in Fe­bru­ary was $239,000, which was an 8.6 per­cent in­crease com­pared to last year, ac­cord­ing to the re­port. Home sales in the city lim­its have de­creased by 11.5 per­cent com­pared to last Fe­bru­ary, the re­port stated.

On av­er­age, a home stayed on the mar­ket for 58 days last month and took about 34 days to close, ac­cord­ing to the re­port. That time frame is typ­i­cal for Wil­liamson County, Gant­ner said.

About 3,800 sin­gle-fam­ily home per­mits in the county were is­sued in 2016, ac­cord­ing to the re­port. Area home­builders have worked hard to keep up with de­mand, she said.

“The builders are the rea­son we’ve been able to add so many fam­i­lies to the area with­out ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a hous­ing cri­sis,” she said.

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