Austin real estate sales increase to start 2014

Austin's real estate market is off to a strong start in 2014, with home sales up 4 percent year over year in January, according to figures released Feb. 21 from Austin Board of Realtors.

There were 1,449 single-family homes sold in the Austin area in January at a median price of $211,800, representing a 7 percent increase in value compared to the start of 2013.

"The Austin real estate market was strong in 2013 and showed steady growth in sales volume and price," said Bill Evans, 2014 ABOR president, in a statement. "We expect to see that trend continue at the start of 2014 and are encouraged to see stable growth for the Austin area in the first month of the year."

Growth is expected to continue in Austin, Evans said, making it essential that city standards encourage efforts to maintain an affordable housing stock.

"We should exercise caution in considering any policies that restrict housing availability, such as decreasing occupancy limits, without also committing to solid plans for how to replace that housing stock," Evans said.

There is about 2 months of housing inventory available in Austin as of January, compared to 2.5 months of inventory in January 2013. The ideal amount of housing stock is 6.5 months worth of inventory, according to the Texas A&M University Real Estate Center.

But Austin homes are selling faster than before, selling after 63 days on the market, ABOR estimates show, compared to an average of 72 days during the same month last year.

Also, sales of town homes and condominiums were up 13 percent in January compared to January 2013. In that time, the average number of days townhomes and condos remained on the market dropped from 73 to 53.

By Joe Lanane
Joe Lanane’s career is rooted in community journalism, having worked for a variety of Midwest-area publications before landing south of the Mason-Dixon line in 2011 as the Stillwater News-Press news editor. He arrived at Community Impact Newspaper in 2012, gaining experience as editor of the company’s second-oldest publication in Leander/Cedar Park. He eventually became Central Austin editor, covering City Hall and the urban core of the city. Lanane leveraged that experience to become Austin managing editor in 2016. He managed eight Central Texas editions from Georgetown to San Marcos. Working from company headquarters, Lanane also became heavily involved in enacting corporate-wide editorial improvements. In 2017, Lanane was promoted to executive editor, overseeing editorial operations throughout the company. The Illinois native received his bachelor’s degree from Western Illinois University and his journalism master’s degree from Ball State University.