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What’s driving Austin home price growth?

​​COLLEGE STATION – ​T​​​he Real Estate Center’s latest Home Price Index (HPI) shows that price trends in most Texas Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) appear relatively undisturbed by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, Center Senior Data Analyst Joshua Roberson said looks can be deceiving.

“There is a tremendous amount of disruption across the board on the supply side in the form of fewer new listings, which can ultimately lead to fewer sales,” Roberson said. “Some markets, such as Fort Worth, have had an almost uniform decline in listings at all price points. Other markets such as Austin—particularly in Travis County—have experienced a disproportionate drop in listings at the lowest price range.”

Roberson said the shakeup in Austin listings may have bubbled up into the metro’s home price index. Quarterly price growth has been on the rise consistently since early 2019 up until 2Q2020.

Austin-Round Rock MSA Home PRice Index

“This could be largely due to fewer lower-priced homes than usual,” Roberson said. “The net effect has been a $45,000 increase in the median listing price for Travis County.”

Digging deeper into Austin’s price tier index reveals that the bottom price tier held its ground for price growth while the middle and upper tiers experienced slower year-over-year growth. 

“The drop in lower-priced listings may tell more beyond its impact on Austin’s aggregate price growth,” Roberson said. “Austin’s affordable housing supply was already limited before the virus. What is keeping these listings from coming back, and when will they return? The answer isn’t clear right now.”

For the latest home price data on other Texas MSAs, visit the Center’s online Home Price ​Index. Monthly and housing quarterly housing reports for Austin and all Texas MSAs are also available online.

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