Austin, too, has felt this trend. Despite ups and downs over the past year, we saw the lowest average home sale price in seven months in January 2011. On the other hand, the average price in January 2011 was up 5.2% compared to one year earlier -- much stronger than even the best of the Case-Shiller cities. (While Case-Shiller is not yet reporting February data, we know that the average price in the Austin area fell again last month, but it was still up 2.9% year-over-year. Moreover, the 12-month rolling average of sale prices reached another all-time high in February.)
If monthly price declines continue, the rolling average will obviously be pulled downward as well, but this updated chart shows the stark contrast between our circumstances and the Case-Shiller Index cities (click image to enlarge):
Even using the dashed line for Austin/Central Texas home prices (unadjusted monthly data), the average price in January 2011 was 45% above the January 2000 "base," and very near the mid-2007 market peak. The 10-City and 20-City Composite Indices also look strong compared to January 2000, but those cities' experience since the national market peak in mid-2006 was obviously very different from ours.
AP's report on this newest release from S&P points out that the pain is "... worse in cities flooded by foreclosures and short sales. That includes Detroit and Cleveland, which are struggling with weak local economies. Miami, Phoenix, Las Vegas and Atlanta are reeling from overbuilding during the housing boom."
Austin and Central Texas
avoided both of those pitfalls. (See Foreclosure Impact in
Austin, 2/24/11, Austin
and other cities - sales and median price growth, 3/15/11, and Austin Market Dashboard
Update, 3/24/11 for details.) In contrast, the Austin
metropolitan area continues to experience population and job
growth, and residential property inventories remain well balanced
relative to home sales. This local/regional market still enjoys
underlying strengths that will help us through difficulties that may
well continue this year.
Our local economy and housing market do not exist in a vacuum, and much depends on what happens in those Case-Shiller cities. 2011 certainly presents challenges in Central Texas and nationwide, but the Austin area remains in an enviable position relative to much of the country. As always, I will watch, analyze, and report on our real estate market conditions. Follow me here for updates.