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Hot or Not - Market Update February 2019

Austin Market

Spring has sprung and outside of getting used to the time change the housing market in South Austin is still standing out compared to the rest of the city.

Austin active listings are up year over year by 3.9%, whereas South Austin actives are up 25%.

Austin solds are unchanged year over year, whereas South Austin (South of 71, west of 35) sales are down by 15% year over year, much less than Austin itself. Even with the drop in sales activity, over half of all active homes in South Austin sell in a month, so inventory is still extremely tight, leaving less than two months of inventory down south.

So inventory to buy in Austin is creeping up compared to last year, South Austin inventory is outpacing the city median significantly. The inventory of active listings is still increasing. This shows that homes are appreciating in South Austin and people are selling to cash out their equity. And people are still buying more than one out of two homes that are being listed!!

Median Sales Price is down 0.5% year over year in Austin ($295,000), and the South Austin median sales price is up 3.9% ($338,000) which is $20,000 more than last month! That remains a 6% increase in a single month. So you're getting more appreciation in South Austin which may have something to do with the inventory rising so fast as people attempt to cash out.

National Market

Now you may have seen some headlines that say US home owners are refinancing their homes with cash out refinances like what lead up to the housing bubble of 2008. According to Freddie Mac, cash out refinances make up 81% of all refinances. The peak in 2006 was 89%.

Now that is a great chart to fuel a headline like this one. However as this article also mentions, there is more to the story. Borrowers are not taking out as much money and spending it on luxuries. The actual amount of equity pulled out is the lowest it has been in 20 years, nearly one tenth what it was in 2006.

Household debt service ratios for mortgages as a percentage of disposable income is the lowest it has been since 1980. So even though many borrowers are refinancing their homes for some cash, the total volume is significantly down.

Now things can certainly change, and we make sure to watch these trends both nationally and locally so you know what is going on in the market behind the fearful headlines. Current data doesn't show anything that looks like it will lead up to a massive housing decline like we saw in 2008.

If you look at housing prices on a normal growth curve compared to the boom and bust cycle in the last decade, we are right where we should be.

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