Those reported figures are the percentage of total home sales that were foreclosed properties. That is an important point of reference for the general effect of foreclosures on home values and sale prices. I was also interested in what percentage of households in the area suffered foreclosure last year so I did some research and calculation to find:
residential sales (units) -- 2010 -- MLS Data Only
of reported foreclosures
area households (2000 census)
average population growth 2000-2009
households -- 2010
of households foreclosed
To save you that last calculation, this amounts to less than 3 households out of 1,000 foreclosed last year in the Austin metro area.
That is less than 1/5 the rate in Nevada. Moreover, those foreclosures were concentrated in a relatively small number of neighborhoods -- largely suburban, entry level to mid-range homes sold new in 2005 to 2007. Some local market areas experienced a much higher level of distress while many saw little or no effect. That is likely true in the hardest hit U.S. cities, too, but when the total rate in a metro market is 2 1/2 to 5 times what we saw in Austin it is certain that distressed properties had a much larger effect on property values across the board than we saw here.
I have not researched that data for other metro areas, but a recent review of Austin/Central Texas sale prices offers evidence that we did not see the magnitude of impact seen in markets where average prices continues to decline in most of 2010, such as Nevada, Arizona, California, Florida, and Michigan:
In a world where many news outlets seem intent on putting a pessimistic face on most market information, it is important to look behind published reports. My objective is not to present an exagerratedly optimistic viewpoint, but only to provide context. Today's local report about properties scheduled for February foreclosure auctions made much about the "high" level of foreclosures in the Austin metro area, but relative to metro population or compared to cities where the housing downturn hit much harder, Austin doesn't look so bad.