Central Austin home sales ended 2020 on a high note with prices up 13.9% year over year

Photo of a for sale sign
Like the Austin area at large, Central Austin home sales rose by double-digit percentages in 2020. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

Like the Austin area at large, Central Austin home sales rose by double-digit percentages in 2020. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

The Austin home real estate market finished 2020 on a record-breaking note. According to a recent report by the Austin Board of Realtors, the city of Austin saw a record 12,475 home sales in 2020. The wider Austin-Round Rock metropolitan area sold 40,165 homes, also a record for a single year. Home prices also rose throughout most of the year, capping off with a $370,000 median home price for the Austin area in December, a 15.8% increase compared to December 2019.

In the heart of Austin, prices were even higher. During December, the neighborhoods covered by Community Impact Newspaper’s Central Austin edition sold 436 homes at a median price of $592,290, up 13.9% from a year prior. The median home price in Central Austin for all of 2020 was $572,750, 16.9% higher than in 2019.

“The Austin-area real estate market is experiencing extraordinarily high demand fueled by years of high population growth and employment gains, lifestyle changes following the pandemic and record-low interest rates,” said Jim Gaines, former chief economist for the Texas Real Estate Research Center at Texas A&M University, in the ABoR release. “Despite a steep slowdown during shelter-in-place orders this spring, the market came roaring back in the summer with no drop-off at the end of the calendar year.”

Another factor influencing local home prices throughout the year was low housing inventory. The city of Austin ended the year with 0.7 months of inventory, and the wider Austin-Round Rock metro area had just 0.6. Central Austin finished 2020 with slightly higher inventory than the city and metropolitan area at large due to its high concentration of condominium units versus traditional single-family homes, which have been in higher demand during the coronavirus pandemic. Overall, Central Austin had 1.6 months of inventory at year’s end, with 3.1 months worth of condominium units and less than one month’s worth of single-family homes.

Experts at the Texas Real Estate Research Center predict sales throughout Texas to stay strong in 2021, but will cool off slightly. Luis Torres, a research economist with the center, said growth would likely continue in 2021, “albeit at a slower rate.”
By Olivia Aldridge

Multi-Platform Journalist

Olivia hosts and produces Community Impact Newspaper's podcasts, The Austin Breakdown, The Houston Breakdown and The DFW Breakdown. She launched the podcasts after nearly three years as a reporter for the newspaper, covering public health, business, development and Travis County government for the Central Austin edition. Olivia worked as a reporter and producer for South Carolina Public Radio before moving to Texas.