Real estate experts expect continued market growth in 2018 despite slower second half of 2017

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What we reported: The median price of homes sold reached $1.03 million for the 62 homes sold over the first quarter of 2017 in the 78746 ZIP code, which encompasses the cities of Rollingwood and West Lake Hills as well as Travis County and Austin neighborhoods, such as Davenport Ranch, Lost Creek and Rob Roy. The median home sales price in 78746 peaked at $1.425 million in February, with 20 homes sold, according to data from the Austin Board of Realtors.

The median price of homes sold has increased across the Lake Travis-Westlake area by an average of 4 percent each year since 2013, with 2016 sales averaging $525,900 compared to $462,000 in 2013.

Although home prices in the area have been going up for quite some time, Brian Talley, owner of Regent Property Group in Westlake, said in May that the recent peak is more a reflection of growth for the entire Austin metropolitan area rather than something unique to Lake Travis-Westlake. Talley said he had seen some softening on the higher end of the market over the past two years but did not expect the area trend to reverse any time soon.

The latest: Through November, the Lake Travis-Westlake median home sales price had again increased in 2017 to $534,500. Although December data was not available at the time of this edition’s print deadline, the number of homes sold in 2017 was on pace to hit 2,745, placing sales volume between the 2,731 sold in 2015 and 2,768 sold in 2016.

In 78746 the median home sales price in 2017 was $1.05 million, an increase from $924,625 in 2016.

“The number of homes sold in the Westlake area went up, as did the average price per square foot,” Talley told Community Impact Newspaper on Dec. 20. “I feel like we’ve leveled off some from the growth we were experiencing two to three years ago, but those are really solid growth numbers.”

However, according to ABOR, area home sales decreased by 6.7 percent year over year in November following an October in which home sales decreased by 5.9 percent year over year.

The number of homes sold has decreased each month since June. The median price of homes sold has also decreased since June, and the number of days homes spent on the market increased by 13 in the past six months.

Talley said the slight slowdown over the last part of 2017 is an annual part of the market cycle, and he does not believe it signals a move in the wrong direction.

What’s next? Talley said he is bullish on the area being able to at least maintain the status quo.

“As long as we avoid a national or global [economic]catastrophe,” he said. “Austin is not immune to bigger global issues, but barring that we’ll continue that positive momentum in 2018.”

Mark Sprague, director of information capital for Independence Title, said the 2018 Austin-area housing market will be a lot like 2017’s housing market—slower than two to three years ago but still strong.

“However, there are multiple economic factors to watch out for going into [2018],” he said. “Slowing job growth in Central Texas, the impact of Hurricane Harvey on the price of building materials and housing development costs, and the overhaul of the [country’s] tax plan are all factors that could hinder housing market growth and negatively impact housing affordability in the Austin area in 2018.”

This story is one update from Lake Travis-Westlake January Issue. View the full list of Top 5 stories to follow in 2018 here.

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Nicholas Cicale
Nick was born in Long Island, New York and grew up in South Florida. He graduated from Florida State University in 2012 with a bachelor's degree in writing and a minor in music. Nick was a journalist for three years at the St. James Plaindealer in Minnesota before moving to Austin to join Community Impact Newspaper in 2016.
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