People across America really want to live in Central Texas. So many people, that Williamson County had the ninth largest growth in households of any county in the nation last year, according to a new report by the Texas Association of Realtors. Travis County was number eleven.
The "net inflow" of households to Williamson County was 4,436 last year. In Travis County, it was 4,045.
“Texas continues to be an attractive place for people who are considering to be relocating," said Stacey Armijo with the Texas Association of Realtors, "and I think, in particular, those who are looking for job opportunities and a high quality of life."
But all those people need to live somewhere, and many of them are snapping up a dwindling supply of homes in the Austin area. In August, there were 16 percent fewer single-family homes listed for sale compared to August 2012, according to the latest report from the Austin Board of Realtors. Homes are spending less time on the market and they're selling for higher prices. A report today from the real estate tracking firm CoreLogic said home prices were up by 11.6 percent over the past year in the Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos area.
With price spikes like that, home builders are seeing dollar signs. But they can't build homes fast enough. The real estate analysis company MetroStudy said today that builders started construction on 9,290 homes over the past year in Austin, an annual increase of 30 percent.
But with mortgage interest rates now above 4 percent after spending months in the 3 percentile range, and home prices continually increasing in Austin, is that enough to reduce demand? Probably not, according to MetroStudy's Madison Inselmann.
"In the short term, the Austin buyer has proven resilient enough to successfully respond to each,” Inselmann said in a press release. "While the current [mortgage interest] rate of 4.4 percent is not as low as the record-setting rate a year ago, it still provides strong affordability for today’s consumer, in a historical sense."