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House approves controversial change to ‘sanctuary cities’ bill

SPRING SLIP: Central Texas home sales slide in March


Highlights

Austin-area median price rises to $295,787, up 5.6 %

City of Austin home sales up 1.2 %; median jumps 12.6 percent, to $371,606.

Home sales in the Austin metro area dipped in March year-over-year, while the median home-sales price climbed more than 5 percent, the latest figures show.

The Austin Board of Realtors said 2,509 homes changed hands last month, down 1.4 percent from March 2016. Half of the residences sold for more than $295,767 and half for less, for a 5.6 percent rise in the median sales price, the board said.

Within Austin’s city limits, sales were up 1.2 percent year-over-year and the median price jumped 12.6 percent, to $371,606, the board said.

Local real estate firms, meanwhile, said they haven’t noticed much of a slowdown, despite the Austin Board of Realtors’ new report.

Byron “Buddy” Schilling, president of JB Goodwin Realtors in Austin, said he is “shocked” to hear the board reported a sales decline for March.

“We were crazy busy,” Schilling said of JB Goodwin, noting that the firm’s sales were up 16 percent companywide last month. “I really have no explanation for the disconnect between what we are experiencing in the marketplace and what the board is reporting.”

Carlos Ojeda, a real estate broker with Realty Austin, said northwest areas including Cedar Park, Crystal Falls and Liberty Hill continue to sizzle.

“The RM 1431 corridor is one of the main draws for these areas,” Ojeda said. “This area’s market is hot, with many homes going under contract in one day. New and resale homes are reaching record prices in these areas because buyers can afford more home and land, in good locations within great school districts.”

In the market overall, “there is still substantially more demand than there is supply for homes in the area under $350,000 to $400,000,” said Adam Walker, a broker associate with Realty Austin. “Homes that are prepared well and priced appropriately are getting multiple offers and often times selling for more than the list price. I expect to see prices increase throughout the year.”

Gay Puckett, a broker associate with JB Goodwin, said the inventory of available housing locally is still half of what a healthy supply would be.

Not only were JB Goodwin’s sales up double-digits in March, but the firm’s relocation division “is busy helping many more incoming employees here, due to increased corporate hiring,” Puckett said.

“So as long as companies like the business environment and create jobs, there will be a need for housing,” Puckett said. “Sellers are very happy with this situation. There just are not enough sellers to go around.”

Dane Carter, a real estate agent with TCP (Texas Capital Properties) Real Estate in Austin, said he doesn’t see the market cooling off any time soon.

“It’s as busy as it’s been and I think it’s going to continue to go that way,” Carter said. He said he and a buyer client recently put in a “best and final” offer over asking price, “and we were the third or fourth best offer. And that’s just one example. A lot of homes are selling well over asking price. It’s very competitive. It’s definitely a sellers’ market.”



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