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March 2020 Central Texas Housing Market Report

Austin area home sales hold steady in March

Central Texas REALTORS® remain cautiously optimistic during COVID-19 pandemic

AUSTIN, Texas – Local shelter-in-place orders that went into effect on March 24 had little impact on March home sales, according to the Austin Board of REALTORS® (ABoR) latest Central Texas Housing Market Report.

In March, residential sales in the five-county Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) increased 2.2% year over year to 3,042 sales and median price jumped 11.7% year over year to $335,200. Monthly housing inventory declined 0.7 months year over year to 1.6 months of inventory, and average days on market decreased from 65 days to 54 days.

“For most of March, it was still ‘business as usual,’ and REALTORS® adapted early to continue serving homebuyers and sellers safely,” Romeo Manzanilla, 2020 ABoR president, said. “Declines in listing activity and pending residential sales in March indicate that we won’t begin to see the true impact of COVID-19 on the housing market until our April report.”

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Last month, new listings decreased 12.7% to 3,770 listings; active listings dropped 26.6% to 4,908 listings; and pending sales decreased 19.2% to 2,852 pending sales.

Although COVID-19 has shifted the way real estate business is conducted, closings and home sales have not been negatively impacted thus far, Lea Holubec, senior vice president of education and training for Heritage Title of Austin, said.

“The approach to closing a home looks very different right now, but activity has not dipped,” Holubec said. “Homebuyers should be prepared for the closing process to take longer than usual due to COVID-19 safety precautions and be ready for additional employment verifications at closing, or even after closing, which many lenders are now requiring.”

“Like REALTORS®, sellers should remain cautiously optimistic during this time. Austin-area homebuyers are still looking to buy homes, and fewer homes on the market means stronger demand and increased visibility for your property,” Manzanilla said. “Despite the challenges of COVID-19, we’re still in a seller’s market and sellers should be encouraged to list their homes.”

City of Austin

In March, the median price for residential homes in the city of Austin rose 14% year over year to $415,000, an all-time high for any month on record. Residential home sales remained flat at 985 sales, while total sales dollar volume experienced a double-digit increase of 11.2% year over year to $503,132,316 last month. During the same period, new listings decreased 7.5% to 1,299 listings; active listings dropped 27.8% to 1,237 listings; and pending sales dipped 18.3% to 922 pending sales. Monthly housing inventory decreased 0.5 months year over year to 1.2 months of inventory.

Travis County

At the county level, residential home sales slightly increased 0.4% to 1,545 sales and sales dollar volume increased 11.8% to $783,614,704. The median price for residential homes jumped 15.1% year over year to $397,250. During the same period, new listings decreased 12.6% to 2,004 listings; active listings decreased 30.5% to 2,277 listings; and pending sales decreased 22.6% to 1,393 pending sales. Monthly housing inventory decreased 0.7 months year over year to 1.4 months of inventory.

Williamson County

In Williamson County, March residential home sales increased 0.4% to 1,007 sales and sales dollar volume increased 5.2% to $327,850,432. The median price for residential homes increased by 6.8% to $293,805. New listings declined 11% to 1,202 listings and active listings dropped 28.8% to 1,520 listings. Pending sales decreased 19.9% to 976 pending sales and housing inventory declined 0.8 months year over year to 1.5 months of inventory.

Hays County

In March, Hays County residential home sales increased 16.5% to 381 sales and sales dollar volume jumped 29% to $133,789,771. The median price for residential homes increased by 11.8% to $285,000. During the same period, new listings decreased 17.6% to 404 listings and active listings dropped 21.3% to 704 listings. Pending sales slightly decreased 6% to 359 pending sales. Housing inventory decreased 0.8 months to 2.1 months of inventory.

Bastrop County

In Bastrop County, residential home sales remained flat at 77 home sales, while sales dollar volume increased 13.7% to $20,306,295. The median price for residential homes slightly increased 3.7% to $239,950. During the same period, new listings spiked 27.8% to 124 listings; active listings rose 16.1% to 324 listings; and pending sales jumped 20.7% to 105 pending sales. Housing inventory decreased 0.1 months to 3.3 months of inventory.

Caldwell County

In Caldwell County, March residential home sales remained flat at 29 sales, while sales dollar volume spiked 33.8% to $8,153,889. The median home price increased 18.7% year over year to $237,450. During the same period, new listings decreased 23.3% to 33 listings, while active listings increased 15.6% to 89 listings. Pending sales dropped 21.9% to 25 pending sales. Housing inventory rose 0.1 months to 3.4 months of inventory.

For more information, and to download the March 2020 Central Texas Housing Market Report, visit https://www.abor.com/statsmar20/. All information taken from the Austin Board of Realtors March 2020 Central Texas Housing Market Report,

 

Homestead Exemptions: What You Need to Know

Taxes. Nobody likes them; everybody pays them. I’m sure when you considered buying a home you heard about the potential tax savings. Now you own a home and pay your own property taxes. You want to pay as little as you have to, because who would want to pay more? The good news is that you can reduce your property taxes by claiming a homestead exemption!

What is a homestead exemption?

A homestead exemption (HS) removes a slice of your home’s value from being taxed. A homestead is a separate structure, condominium or manufactured home on owned or leased land up to 20 acres. To qualify for a homestead exemption, you must:
  • Own the property
  • Use it as your primary residence as of January 1 of the year in which you are applying
  • The address on your drivers license must match the address you are claiming the HS exemption on.

How much is my homestead exemption?

Texas law requires school districts provide a $25,000 exemption for property tax. So if your home is appraised at $100,000 and you qualify for a homestead exemption, you pay school taxes as if your home was worth $75,000. Taxing units also have the option to offer a separate exemption, which will vary based on where you live. Travis County offers a 20% exemption and Williamson County offers a $3000 exemption for the special tax collected to farm-to-market roads. With your HS exemption, your county cannot raise the appraised value of your home by more than 10% each year, even if the actual value is greater. With the current rate of appreciation for many homeowners, this has saved many people a lot of money over the past few years!

What other exemptions are available?

The most common other exemptions claimed are the Senior Exemption (Over 65), Disabled Exemption and Veteran’s Exemption. Both the Senior Exemption and Disabled Exemption requires school districts to offer an additional $10,000 HS but one cannot qualify for both. When you turn 65, you may also qualify for a “tax ceiling” on your school taxes; that is, the school taxes on your home cannot increase as long as you own and live in that home. The Veteran’s Exemption is available to disable veterans and the surviving dependents and entitles a disabled vet an exemption equal to his service-connected disability, up to 100%. Here is a list of most of HS exemptions.

How do I apply for my homestead exemption?

You can apply for FREE for your HS exemption by completing and turning in the correct form to your local county tax office. For Williamson County, you can also apply online. When you purchase a home, you will likely receive many official looking pieces in the mail offering services to file your HS exemption for you for a fee. THIS IS A SCAM. Please save yourself some money by filing out and mailing in the form yourself! You can apply for your HS exemption from January 1 – April 30 in the year after you purchased your home.

Anyways, I hope this REAL ANSWER has been helpful for you. Sign up in the right column to receive more REAL ANSWERS because someone you know needs accurate answers. You can also ask your own questions and see the REAL ANSWERS to other questions.

Homestead Exemption Form for Travis County (FORM)
Mailing Address: P.O. BOX 149012, Austin, TX 78714-9012
Homestead Exemption Form for Williamson County (FORM) or (Fill it out ONLINE)
Mailing Address: 625 FM 1460, Georgetown, TX 78626-8050
Homestead Exemption Form for Hayes County (FORM)
Mailing Address: 21001 IH 35 North, Kyle, Texas 78640
Homestead Exemption Form for Bastrop County (FORM)
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 578, Bastrop, TX 78602

Deadline for Filing for Your Homestead Exemption for Property Taxes!

The time has come to file for the Homestead Exemption for property taxes. If you have purchased your primary residence in 2013 (resided there as of 1/1/2014), then you can claim the homestead exemption on your property taxes. Homestead Exemption forms can be filed between January 1st and April 30th. In an effort to help make your life a little easier, I have provided the links or phone numbers to download or request the Homestead Exemption forms that apply to all homeowners. The Homestead Exemption forms for those over 65, the disabled, disabled veterans, and surviving spouses are also included.

What is a Homestead Exemption?

In short, a homestead exemption in Texas is an exemption that removes part of the value of your property from being taxed and thereby lowering your property taxes. For example, if your home has a tax appraised value of $100,000 and you qualify for an exemption of $20,000, you pay taxes on your home as if it is only work $80,000.

What Exemptions Are There?

Beyond the standard Homestead Exemption, there are also exemptions for the disabled, seniors over the age of 65, veterans and other local & county exemptions.

For more information on exemptions…Click Here.

Here are the forms!
Travis County               Williamson County               Hays County

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me and I would be happy to help however I can!

by Kyle Pfaffe, REALTOR®      e: KylePfaffe@kw.com      m: 512-636-9707      w: AustinHomes4You.com