Austin-Area Housing Market Rocketing Upward reports Greater Austin Homes
Building companies can hardly keep up with demand
New and pre-owned sales rose sharply, and the total number of houses for sale are at the lowest point since 2002.
North Texas neighborhoods make up a bulk of the housing value losses suffered during the recession, and so the numbers are more a relief than anything.
Analysts of the housing market expect the 2013 spring to be strong as well, giving hope to those who are still struggling to cope with the post-recession housing climate.
As long as the local economy holds up, I think the housing market will continue to improve,” said D’Ann Petersen, an economist with the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. “The very low level of new and existing home inventories should give rise to prices as well.
“Low interest rates and relatively affordable prices are a boost to those deciding now is a good time to buy.”
The North Texas labor market has also made a rebound, which has helped boost confidence. Realtor sales are up 8% from the first 11 months of 2001, according to recent numbers, for pre-owned homes. The total pre-owned sales have run 17% higher as a whole.
“I just upped my forecast for 2012; I think it’s going to end a little bit better than I originally thought,” said James Gaines, an economist with the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University. “I think 2013 for Texas is looking pretty good.
“We see the economy getting better, but not by leaps and bounds.”
It is not all roses however, as Gaines admitted there is still some concern that the political hubbub of the Washington over budget deficits and possible tax cuts could scare away potential consumers.
“The psychology of what is going on in this market is as important as anything,” he said. “If people think things are getting better, they act accordingly.”
Still, homebuilder confidence has risen greatly in the last 12 months. The industry had lost of its residential builders, but companies that are still in business are saying they are having a hard time just keeping up with the demand.
“We’ve sold more million-dollar houses in the last four months than in the last four years and have sold more for cash,” said builder Rudy Rivas, a principal with M. Christopher Custom Homes. “Our average sales price is up by more than $100,000 this year.”
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