economy
5:09 pm
Tue February 21, 2012

With Thin Apartment Vacancy, Home Buying Jumps in January

Austin saw a surge in single-family home sales last month, according to the Austin Board of Realtors.

In a new report, the board says home sales were up ten percent last month over January 2011. While comparing two months worth of data has limitations, the finding speaks more broadly to Austin housing demand.

Eldon Rude, director of the Austin market for real estate tracking firm Metrostudy, says the January numbers are part of an ongoing recovery of Austin’s housing market.

Rude says the numbers are “driven by continued increases in population and household in the region over the last several years, and people beginning to react to increasing rents in the apartment market, and so they’re moving toward the for sale housing market.”

Austin apartment occupancy currently stands at near complete capacity: 95 percent. With people drawn to Austin due to its relatively strong economy and renowned culture, apartments are usually the first homes for new residents. And as apartment occupancy rises, so do the rents – which Rude thinks is contributing to new home sales, along with historically low interest rates and increasing economic confidence.

“We are slowly but surely beginning to see more activity out there, and that is driven by the continued increase in population and households and the region over the last several years, and people beginning to react to increasing rents in the apartment market … They’re moving to what would be an alternative to that, which is the for-sale housing market," Rude said.

Below, some stats from the Austin Board of Realtors.

January 2012 Statistics

1,051 – Single-family homes sold, 10 percent more than January 2011.

$176,550 – Median price for single-family homes, seven percent less than January 2011.

85 – Average number of days that single-family homes spent on the market, eight days less than January 2011.

2,266 – New single-family home listings on the market, six percent less than January 2011.

6,557 – Active single-family home listings on the market, 19 percent less than January 2011.

1,638 – Pending sales for single-family homes, 16 percent more than January 2011.

4.1 – Months of inventory of single-family homes, 1.4 months less than January 2011.

$236,043,039– Total dollar volume of single-family properties sold, one percent less than January 2011.