The Chamber’s monthly Economic Indicators report on the Central Texas region chronicles economic activity on a monthly or quarterly basis. For this overview including links to downloadable data files please visit the Economic Indicators page within the Business section.
Central Texas Economy in Perspective
April 5, 2011 edition
Austin’s existing home sales in February totaled 1,214, 2.8% below the number of homes sold in February 2010, but 16.8% above the total for last month, according to numbers from the Austin Board of Realtors and the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M. January is consistently the low point in this series, so February sales will invariably exceed January sales at a double digit rate in Austin. The preceding two months had shown positive year-over-year change after 5 months of negative growth, but that trend has mildly faltered in February. Nationally, February home sales were 2.3% below a year ago, but up from last month by 2.8%. Statewide, February 2010 sales are 9.6% below the number one year ago and up from last month by 12.1%.
Through the middle of last year, it appeared 2010 could see sales exceeding 2009, but sales diminished substantially after the expiration of the federal homebuyer assistance program and the year totaled 19,858, 4.3% off of 2009. Home sales for 2010 came in at about a level last seen in Austin in 2003. National sales were 4.8% below 2009 and Texas sales were down by 4.7%. The 2010 dollar volume of sales came in 0.5% down in Austin and 1.0% down statewide. Despite February’s performance, the first two months of 2011 has Austin’s year-to-date sales up 0.9% over 2010 and the dollar volume up by 4.4%. National sales are up by 0.5% year-to-date, but Texas’ first two months of 2011 are 4.1% below 2010.
Among the major Texas metros, Houston is doing best in the first two months of 2011, with sales 2.4% above the same period last year. Dallas, Fort Worth, and San Antonio remain negative by 2.2%, 9.5%, and 2.9% respectively. Austin’s months of inventory on the market measure increased from 5.6 in January to 5.9 in February. It was 6.2 months one year ago. July 2010’s 7.4 months of inventory represents the peak of this recession/recovery. The average for the 2010 was 6.6, above the 6.4 months average of 2009. While Austin’s average has typically been below 6 months, a balanced supply is considered to be 6 months. Dallas’ had 6.6 months of inventory in Febuary, compared to 6.1 a year ago. Fort Worth has increased from 6.4 to 6.9, Houston from 6.6 to 7.5 and San Antonio from 7.8 to 7.9.
Austin’s median home price in February is $190,000, up from the previous month by 2.2% and up from one year ago by 4.1%. The average price, at $241,900, is down 0.7% from January but up 3.1% over February 2010. Dallas median price is $158,700, 5.9% above 12 months ago. Houston’s price is $151,900, up 3.7%, and San Antonio is at $146,400, up 3.3%. Fort Worth has a median price of $107,200, 2.6% below February 2010. The national median price is $156,100, down by 5.2% from February 2010, and almost 30% below the peak reached in 2006’s median home price of $221,900.
The Chamber’s Economic Indicators page includes an Excel spreadsheet (updated monthly) of Austin and national time series data for home sales and prices from the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M and the National Association of Realtors, as well as Housing Opportunity Index data from the National Association of Home Builders.