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.”