Buying a House in Austin During Covid - April 2020
Active homes for sale: 1,563 (down -22.7% from last year, and up +5.18% from last month)
Sold homes: 722 (down -33.3% from last year, and down -24.9% from last month)
Median sales price: $450,250 (up +7.20% from last year, and up +2.62% from last month)
Active homes for sale: 146 (down -53.4% from last year, and up +9.77% from last month)
Sold homes: 149 (down -33.8% from last year, and down -26.2% from last month)
Median sales price: $394,000 (up +5.07% from last year, and up +4.10% from last month)
As things start to open back up, buyers and sellers will start returning to the housing market. Currently, more homes are going under contract per day than before COVID-19. Prices are also still going up as of this blog post. Due to the shelter in place, showings and open houses were put on hold. In that time the number of listed homes increased slightly, to about a month and a half's worth of inventory. Because buyers have become more fearful we are seeing fewer, however not enough to stop sales. Where we were seeing multiple offers before we are now still seeing some multiple offer situations but with a shorter list. More likely though buyers are getting offers landed around the asking price with some small discounts. We are not seeing large discounts or a rush to liquidate property out of panic.
The two indicators we are watching closely that would suggest a faster turn in the market are inventory and mortgage defaults. The number of mortgage defaults did not increase substantially in April, and inventory levels did not change very much since the start of the crisis. Many borrowers also are refinancing their homes in order to take cash out so they can make payments through the crisis. The government has also created many tools to alleviate some of the stress in the housing market between deferments, stimulus checks, and buying of mortgage backed securities. The retail and services labor market makes up about 12% of the economy in Austin which been affected the most. White collar unemployment has remained largely unchanged. All of these factors are keeping home sales moving at a steady pace. We of course are keeping a close watch on all of these indicators.
Moving forward, precautions should still be taken when viewing a home, or attending open houses. It is still recommended to social distance and wear the proper protective equipment. Personal safety is very important during these times. Certain processes have been modified so that they are entirely contact free or remote. So the industry is adjusting quickly to the new normal. As such we will see more remote communications, viewings, and closings.