2020 has been a wild ride of a year, to say the least. It’s no secret that Austin has long been one of the most desirable cities in which to buy a home in the US — but how has our real estate market been affected by the onset of COVID-19? And how is it shaping predictions for the housing market in 2021? Keep reading as we discuss what you need to know about the effect of the pandemic on home sales during 2020, and what real estate agents are predicting for the year ahead.
2020 Home Sales: The First Quarter
Before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the Austin real estate market was anticipating a decline in housing inventory in the year ahead amid strong housing demand. However, the year started with a record for the month of January in terms of sales and median price. When compared to the previous January, Austin home sales increased by 8.5% to 1,947 sales, and the median price increased 4.8% to $308,000. The popularity of Austin home sales was on the right track — and then COVID happened.
How COVID-19 Affected the Austin Housing Market
The COVID pandemic changed our lives on a global scale in so many ways. We were all focused on staying safe and healthy, so the last thing on many of our minds was buying or selling a new home — at first.
Early on, the pandemic ravaged the Austin housing market, causing a sharp plunge in home sales across most of the region as a result of local shelter-in-place orders. Compared to the spring of 2019, residential sales fell 21.6% to just 2,611 sales. The devastating effects continued into May 2020 with a housing shortage that reached dangerously low levels of less than two months of inventory in Austin, Travis County, and Williamson County. When inventory drops to such an alarming degree, the median price goes up in response — and Austin’s rose 14% year over year to $415,500.
But as summer approached, the greater Austin area market found its footing, making a surprising recovery amid the pandemic. In August, the sale of homes rose 12.9% compared to August of 2019, at a count of 4,019 homes changing hands.
Beyond the Pandemic: The Outlook of the Austin Housing Market
Due to the disruption of COVID, the summer selling season has extended into the fall and winter and home sales are continuing to soar. Homebuyers are still looking to buy homes amid the fear of the virus and economic uncertainty. Austin is one of the most desirable places to live in the country, and it’s also a better value proposition, being safer and more affordable with more room than bigger and more densely populated cities.
And the pandemic has changed the workplace, with so many people now telecommuting because of stay-at-home orders, so many have the opportunity to relocate. Austin’s popularity, in addition to the historically low interest rates that resulted from the pandemic, has made buyers more eager than ever to have their own piece of the Lone Star State capital. The only problem may be that a lack of housing inventory may make it increasingly difficult for buyers to find homes that fit their budget or their needs.
Looking for a New Home in Austin?
Now that you know the time is right to buy a home in Austin, you can get to work on finding the home of your dreams—and as home builders in Austin, Texas, we’re here to help. Want to learn more about upcoming opportunities in Austin’s hottest neighborhoods? Contact us today, and our team will help you find a space you’ll love for a lifetime.