BUZZ VS. FACT There’s been some buzz about what some are calling the “Austin housing bubble” lately. But is the Austin real estate market really a housing bubble? And, if so, is this bubble is poised for a crash? The economic experts say, “no,” and here’s why. Real estate bubbles are driven by speculation. Prices rise not because demand for housing is increasing, but because buyers believe prices will continue to rise in the near future, increasing the value of their investment and presenting the potential to “flip” properties quickly. That type of speculation is not Austin’s current housing demand.
POPULATION AND JOB GROWTH: KEYS TO A HEALTHY MARKET In Austin today, housing demand is being driven by population growth. According to Austin City Demographer Ryan Robinson, there are 110 people moving to the Austin area everyday and our unemployment rate in August 2014 was 4.6 percent, which is 1.5 percent below the national average.
Our population is growing and new residents have jobs, which means demand for homes is increasing. And, as we know, prices rise with demand, especially when supply is low, like it is here. Population growth and job growth have always been the foundations of a healthy market and those two factors – not speculation – are driving price increases in Austin real estate.
LENDING STANDARDS HAVE CHANGED Due to the housing crash last decade, lending standards for homeowners are some of the most stringent seen in recent years, so only those who can afford a home have access to the financing to buy it.
SO, IS AUSTIN OVERVALUED? NO! Recent reports paint an incomplete picture of the Austin market. They use only ratios comparing income to rents or home prices, leaving out the two key variables of job growth and population growth. Without understanding how increased population and availability of jobs affects demand for real estate, a market can’t be properly valued.
TALK TO YOUR REALTOR® In short, the price increases seen for Austin-area real estate in recent years are driven by increased demand among those who want to live in our great city, not unfounded speculation. That makes them part of a healthy real estate market.
Our team of real estate experts would be happy to talk with you about your options and help you decide what’s best for you in your current housing situation given our current market. Contact us today to schedule an appointment or call 512-829-2062.
ABOUT THE AUSTIN BOARD OF REALTORS® The Austin Board of REALTORS® builds connections through the use of technology, education and advocacy to strengthen the careers of its 9,000+ members and improve the lives of Central Texas families.The Austin Board of REALTORS® empowers Austin REALTORS® to connect their clients to the region’s most complete, accurate and up-to-date listings data. For more, visit AustinHomeSearch.com.
Earlier this year, it was anticipated that rates would be higher now than they are. However, despite a slight increase in rates over the summer, the current rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is 4.19 percent according to Freddie Mac.
What is the mystery behind these historically low rates and what does this mean if you’re looking to buy or sell now?
The aha: Don’t Wait to Buy or Sell. Rates Are Expected to Rise
Mortgage rates are more than just the interest rate on a homeowner’s mortgage. Understanding how they are determined and what affects them can help your clients make more informed real estate decisions. Many people think mortgage rates are controlled by the Federal Reserve and can be arbitrarily turned up or down at any given time. While the Fed affects the rates, it does not act alone. Here are the five main factors that affect mortgage rates:
1. Federal Reserve Policy. There are two actions the Fed can take that affect interest rates. First, the Federal Reserve canchange the Federal Funds Rate by altering short-term treasury securities investment levels. When the Fed purchases more bonds, mortgage rates tend to go down and vice versa. When the Fed talks about raising interest rates, they are talking about the Federal Funds Rate, which is the rate banks charge each other to borrow money (known more commonly as interbank lending). Currently the Federal Funds Rate is practically at zero percent and has been there for a while. The Fed has stated that this rate is likely to rise within the next year.
The second action the Fed takes that affects interest rates is the purchasing of assets, such as long-term treasury securities and mortgage-backed securities, which historically has not been part of monetary policy. However, the Fed has been slowly reducing its purchases of these types of assets and has stated it will cease all purchase activities next month.
2. Bond and Treasury Investments. Bond purchases are not exclusive to the Federal Reserve. Private investors can also purchase bonds. When more bonds are purchased, prices rise and the yield (the amount of return an investor will realize on a bond) goes down. This matters because mortgages are essentially bonds and their rates compete with the rates of other investments. If the interest rate on bonds decreases, that downward pressure is applied to mortgagerates and they fall as well. Recent increased purchases of these short-term investments are likely due in part to the volatility in foreign markets, which is driving funds into U.S. treasuries, thus lowering the yield. As global affairs stabilize, money is likely to move out of U.S. markets and drive interest rates up.
3. Mortgage-Backed Securities. A mortgage-backed security is an investment tied to mortgages. Private banks sell mortgages to Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs), which then bundle multiple loans and sell them to investors as mortgage-backed securities. These long-term investments affect the market because as demand increases, banks have incentive to create more supply, which puts downward pressure on interest rates.
4. Housing Market Activity. When the housing market is strong, there is more demand for home loans and banks can charge higher rates. This is a classic example of supply and demand. The current housing market is balanced and healthy with indicators pointing toward more development in the future.
5. Current U.S. Economic Climate. When the economy is strong, people have more money to spend. Slow economic activity at the beginning of 2014 coupled with the fact that inflation levels remain below the target of 2 percent, have likely had some downward effect on mortgage rates by boosting the real return of given nominal rates. The economy is expected to continue a steady pace for the remainder of 2014.
Although it may be tempting to wait for rates to fall, there is no guarantee they will. Historically, rates have been much higher and most indicators suggest they will rise soon. Compared with the average 30-year rate from 1990-2004 of 6.7 percent, 4.1 percent doesn’t look bad. Although there are no guarantees, evaluating and understanding the five factors above will allow you to provide an informed prediction as to which way interest rates will shift.
Dripping Springs first Resource Conscious Community
The Mallett Integrity Team is SO excited to be working with TerraScena, Dripping Springs’ first Resource Concsious Community! This innovative, new development features 15 1+ acre homesites with rainwater harvesting as the primary water source. Find out more here!
Although Austin area home sales dipped for the first time in three years, the Austin area monthly housing inventory rose to 3.0 months in July 2014, an increase of 0.2 months from the year prior and the first annual increase in inventory levels since May 2011. This was driven by an increase in available listings, as active listings jumped 12 percent year-over-year to 6,859 listings and new listings rose eight percent during the same time frame to 3,788 listings. However, Austin area housing inventory is still well below six months, which the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University cites as a balanced market.
In addition, Austin area home prices continued to climb with median price increasing nine percent year-over-year to $250,000 and average price rising seven percent to $318,854 in July 2014.
July 2014 Statistics
2,944 – Single-family homes sold, three percent less than July 2013.
$250,000 – Median price for single-family homes, nine percent more than July 2013.
$318,854 – Average price for single-family homes, seven percent more than July 2013.
39 – Average number of days single-family homes spent on the market, two days fewer than July 2013.
3,788 – New single-family home listings on the market, eight percent more than July 2013.
6,859 – Active single-family home listings on the market, 12 percent more than July 2013.
2,660 – Pending sales for single-family homes, four percent less than July 2013.
3.0 – Months of inventory* of single-family homes, 0.2 months more than July 2013.
$938,706,176 – Total dollar volume of single-family properties sold, four percent more than July 2013.
Thinking about buying a home or listing your property? As specialists in the Dripping Springs and SW Austin area, we’d love to talk with you about your options in this market. Contact us today!
If you’re a home buyer looking for your dream home, or are thinking about buying a home, you may have heard that it’s a sellers market. Lower inventory in the Austin area, combined with an increase in average home prices have made it a great time to sell. But what does that mean for you, the home buyer? Some home buyers can get frustrated during a sellers market because homes typically sell quickly and multiple offers are not uncommon. That dream home you may have had your eye on this week might be sold the next, or that perfect home you found on the internet went under contract 3 days ago, or you see a home just listed online only to find out there are already 2 offers on it. Although these scenarios can leave you frustrated and maybe ready to give up on home buying altogether, this is where working with a Realtor can be a BIG help.
Often, Realtors find out about homes that are going on the market even before they’re listed through networking with other agents and real estate professionals. If your agent knows what you’re looking for, he/she can keep a lookout for these listings before they show up online giving you an edge as a home buyer.
Our team is constantly networking with other Keller Williams agents to find homes for our buyers needs, and we’d love to help you too! Give us to call (512-829-2062) to discuss you needs and let us help you find your dream home!
The Austin area MLS statistics are in and things are looking good! Overall, average home sales prices in the Austin area MLS are up approximately 6%, and up 6.6% in the Dripping Springs area. Average days on the market are down from last year as well. In March, average days on the market in all MLS areas decreased from an average of 63 days to an average of 48 days (22.6%) and was also down from an average of 87 days to 83 days (4.6%) in the Dripping Springs area.
This is great news if you’ve been thinking about selling! Spring/Summer are typically the high seasons for home buying, and listing your home now puts it in prime position to take advantage of these positive market trends. Working with a realtor who will price your home right, market it effectively, and be in contact with other agents looking for properties for their clients is a real advantage! On the flip side, if you’re a buyer just keep in mind that now, due to low inventory, there may be some competition to get the home of your dreams. Working with an agent may be in your best interest because they are more likely to know about upcoming properties that are not yet on the market or MLS, and can work with other realtors to get you the best deal.
Ready to buy or sell or just want to find out what your home is worth?Contact us and we’ll be happy to discuss your options and see what may be right for you! Give us a call at 512-829-2062.
The most recent Austin MLS statistics are in. And, as you can see from the charts below, there’s some good news and some bad news. The good news is, average sold prices are up approximately 11% MLS-wide, and almost 28% in the Dripping Springs area! The bad news? Low inventory.
Low inventory is a problem in many markets throughout the country. In a healthy market a particular neighborhood would have six months of inventory. Many neighborhoods are seeing inventory as low as one or two months. This means home buyers are not finding the homes they are looking for.
Eric Sachs, President and Co-founder of BreakthroughBroker.com, said he speaks with Realtors throughout the country, and the main concern voiced by Realtors is that there are not enough listings.
So what does this mean for you? As the spring selling season approaches, now is the time to list if you have thought about selling in the past or may want to sell in the future. With average sales prices up, and interest rates still relatively low, it’s a win-win situation for you and the buyers that may be searching for exactly what your home has to offer. Call us today (512-829-2062) to see how we can help you get the most money for your home and help you in your next real estate purchase.
Ready to buy a home in 2014? Great! Still trying to decide? Here are just a few reasons you just may want to jump in to the real estate market and buy a home in 2014!
Shrinking Selection – After the economic downturn, there was a large inventory of homes for sale and a drop in both sales price and mortgage interest rates. Now a rebounding economy has resulted in increased consumer confidence and job growth, which in turn has made the average buyer’s selection process a bit tougher with more limited inventory. The best homes in the most desired locations sell quickly, and finding your dream home may become more difficult as inventory shrinks further. The Austin Board of Realtors reports that in January 2014, the Austin area saw a 27.9% decrease in months’ supply of homes compared to January 2013.
Interest Rates on the Rise – Though interest rates have risen slightly since the economic downturn, they are still considered very low by historical standards. The Mortgage Bankers Association, the National Association of Realtors, and Freddie Mac/Fannie Mae all predict 30-year fixed mortgage rates will rise to 5% in 2014, almost 1% higher than the rates today. That may not sound like much, but even for someone with good credit, the difference of one point on a 30-year fixed loan with a purchase price of $300,00 can amount to over $51,000 in additional interest payments over the life of the loan.
Buy vs. Rent– Rental occupancy rates made a significant jump in 2013, which drives us rent prices significantly. USA Today reported 5.2% increase in apartment rent in Austin during 2013, and another 3.7% jump is forecasted for 2014. Rising market value makes buying a better choice today over renting.
Build Equity– When you buy a home, you are building equity in that home, meaning you own more of your home as you pay off your mortgage. Your mortgage can be considered a “forced savings plan” which pays you back in the long run.
Price Increases on the Horizon / Appreciation – A highly active real estate market can create a seller’s market over time when inventory stays low. The Austin area is in high demand with a whopping 35.3% increase in population expected from 2010 – 2020. Prices are expected to appreciate by over 25% from now to 2018. As 2014 progresses and home values appreciate, it’s best for buyers to act quickly and secure a home that will appreciate with the market.
Financial Stability – When you own your own home and have a mortgage payment you can afford, you gain greater financial stability, and with that comes greater peace of mind. This is especially true with the volatility of the dollar’s value, stock market, and all-time high gold prices. Owning a home, as opposed to a stock, gives you a real asset that you can live in, rent out, or sell if you choose.
Tax Benefits – Homeowners can deduct the interest of their mortgage payments from their taxes, and interest is the largest part of your payments, especially in the early stages.
Family Wealth – Just like any other investment, buying low and selling high in real estate can provide family wealth. A recent Federal Reserve study from June of 2012 shows a homeowner’s average net worth is over 30 times greater than that of a renter’s. The average homeowner has a net worth of $174,500, while the average net worth of a renter is only $5,100.
Sought After Culture & Lifestyle– The greater Austin area has received notable praise for its unique lifestyle, warm climate, thriving culture, and booming economy, making a great place to live and own a home.
Whether you’re a first time home buyer, an investor, or this is your second or third home purchase, don’t go it alone! We have a team of agents who are expert negotiators that can help you get the most for your money in a real estate transaction.Contact us today to find out more!
According to Forbes, Austin is still the fastest growing city in the U.S. This is the 4th time Austin has been named the fastest growing city, expanding it’s economy by 5.88 percent in 2013 and saw an increase in population of 2.5 percent. This, combined with a 4.89 percent unemployment rate, makes Austin it an attractive place for people and businesses to call home.
Another big contributor to growth? An effort by the Austin Chamber of Commerce to recruit business from a wide variety of industries in 2004, particularly those companies located in California, the Upper Midwest & the Northwest.
According to Dave Porter, senior vice president for economic development at the Austin chamber, “We’ve had 307 companies move here in the last nine years, and about 100 of those come from California.”
Most recently, AthenaHeath announced it would bring more than 600 jobs to Austin, and San Francisco based, Dropbox, will be expanding to Austin as well.
Other Texas cities listed by Forbes include, Dallas (#4), Houston (#10), and San Antonio (#25).
Thinking about making the fastest growing city in the U.S. your home, or already live in Austin and just looking to buy your dream home? Let our local area real estate experts help you! Contact us today to see what we can do for you – we’d love to talk with you!