The Austin Round-Rock Metropolitan Statistical Area saw residential home sales decrease 12.1% to 3,250 closings in October 2021 compared to October 2020, according to the Austin Board of Realtors, the organization that produces the report.

Median sales prices grew 24.7% year over year to $455,000 for the five-county metropolitan area, a record for the month, according to the report.

Hays County accounted for 372 of those sales—a decrease of 11.2%—and a 30.6% rise in the median home price to $399,750. New listings increased 1.5% to 401, and active listings decreased 8.7% to 473. There were 1,268 pending sales during October, an increase of 8.2%. Housing inventory increased to 0.8 months’ worth of inventory.

Total sales volume increased to $197.20 million in Hays County alone. The total sales volume across the five-county area increased 6.4% year over year to $1.84 billion according to the report.

“To me, it’s pretty astonishing when you think about the majority of the Hays County sales, really a substantial amount are coming out of Kyle where their median sales price is even less,” said Karlyn Ellis, a broker and owner of Realty One Group Prosper in Buda. “What’s been driving the Hays County market really are the first-time homebuyers because they can’t afford the Austin market, and so to think that this portion of homebuyers can no longer buy the $200,000 or possibly even the $300,000, we’re now kicking them over $400,000, it’s just amazing to me.”

Pat Fernandez, president of the Four Rivers Association of Realtors, said there are several factors leading to the increase in housing prices. “The heart of that problem is that [builders are] still dealing with getting all of the stuff they need to kind of put the houses together. Before they didn’t have a supply issue,” Fernandez said. Builders were only releasing a limited number of houses this year due to those issues, she said. Ellis said Hays County had a similar fall in active listings compared to Travis County, causing the increase in prices.

In Kyle in particular, 1,031 single-family homes were sold so far this year compared to 1,162 at this same time last year, or an almost 13% decrease, according to the report. A number of factors contributed to the decline, Ellis said, such as inventory dwindling when it was previously abundant.

“Our builders have run out of homes to sell. A good portion of Kyle’s sales have always been new construction, and a year ago, they still had inventory homes; they were building homes. Permits were going, and this year we saw them completely run out of anything to sell at the beginning of the year,” she said. Deposits were being taken on lots, but for a period of time this year builders stopped allowing contracts to be written, Ellis said.

Demand among first-time homebuyers looking to take advantage of low interest rates along with dwindling availability puts a strain on access to ownership, Ellis said.

“I think prices and demand are still going to be really, really strong, and I’m hoping we won’t see the 30% growth in sales price that we have seen. We just can’t afford to sustain that.”