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Austin Real Estate Market Steady

After a rather neutral start in 2008, the real estate market for residential homes in Austin has increased its inventory of homes for sale, according to statistics from the Austin MLS. This is happening despite a continuation of one of the highest metropolitan growth rates in the country and a strong and growing local economy.

According to different Austin real estate agents, bad economic news from other parts of the country are causing prospective buyers to hold off as they wait and see what the economy might do. Some of them may be hoping that prices will fall even more before they buy, even though buying prospects are strong right now. Current mortgage rates are the lowest they have been in 35 years. The last time rates were this low during a buyer’s market was in 1973.

This wait-and-see approach has caused a slight drop in prices in some areas, but most area properties are holding steady in value. The market is slow right now, but is not depressed like it is in some other areas of the country.

Statistics from the U.S. Census bureau and compiled by the Texas A&M Real Estate Center and published on July 3 this year in the Texas Real Estate Market Reports show that the population in the Austin/Round Rock metropolitan area has increased by about 43% since 1997. Almost 1,600,000 people now live in the area. The city of Austin expects this growth trend to continue as far ahead as 2020, according to the report.

Experts also expect an increase in jobs and a low unemployment rate to continue during the next ten years. Austin and the Texas Hill Country will continue to be one of the fastest growing areas of the nation and is expected to enjoy one of the healthiest economies as well.

Some experts have pointed out that the rise in real estate values in Austin has remained steady over the years. The area has not seen increases in property value of 200% to 2000% as has been seen in some areas of California and Florida, for example. This, coupled with an equally consistent growth in jobs and a high rate of population increase, has worked to protect real estate from attaining overly inflated values which make it vulnerable to bubble bursting in times of economic difficulty.

The Texas Real Estate Market Report shows that Austin/Round Rock led the state in population growth between 1997 and 2007. The area consistently ranks in national top 10 lists for growth. For example, from July 1, 2006 to July 1, 2007, Austin was the 5th fastest growing metropolitan area in the US, according to Census Bureau population estimates.

All these new people moving into the city and its outlying areas(more than 65,000 of them from 2006 to 2007) need a place to live. Many will buy homes. It is this kind of growth that is helping to keep Austin real estate values from falling as much as they are in other parts of the country.

However, ironically, it may be that Austin's tech recession in the early 2000's that is helping to bolster the market today. According to a report published by the demographics department of the city of Austin, "We never had a housing bubble here because of the lingering effects of the tech recession, and ironically it was the depth of our local recession that then gave us protection from the ruinous fallout from a bursting bubble in residential real estate that has dramatically altered the economic landscapes of Florida, California, Arizona, New England and the Midwest."

One thing seems certain; the Austin real estate market remains one of the surest and safest in any of the metropolitan areas in the country. That coupled with the nationally recognized quality of life that the city offers makes Austin one of the "sexiest" urban areas in the country.

Submitted by:

Ki Gray

Ki helps homes buyers and investors interested in Austin real estate. His site has market statistics on his Austin real estate blog along with a search of the Austin MLS.




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