December 2020 Central Texas Housing Market Report

Austin-Round Rock MSA closes year with record-breaking  $17B housing market 

Housing demand across Central Texas soars to all-time high 

AUSTIN, Texas – The Austin-Round Rock Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) closed 2020 by breaking records as housing demand across the region reached unprecedented levels. According to the December 2020 and Year-End Central Texas Housing Market Report released by the Austin Board of REALTORS® (ABoR), a record-breaking 40,165 homes totaling $17,579,802,503 in sales volume were sold across the Austin area last year.  

In December alone, residential home sales across the five-county MSA jumped 16.2% year over year to 3,626 sales, a record for the month of December, and the median price increased by 15.8% to 370,000, an all-time record for the MSA. Sales dollar volume in December also increased 41.1% to $1,784,023,513 and pending sales increased 40.8% to 3,114. Housing inventory declined 1.1 months to a record-low 0.6 months of inventory for the entire MSA. Homes spent an average of 36 days on market, 25 fewer than December 2019. 

“This is a historical and unprecedented time for our housing market,” Susan Horton, 2021 ABoR president, said. “The pandemic only increased demand for all types of housing across the region, pushing inventory to near-zero levels and creating the strongest sellers’ market REALTORS® have ever seen. That said, if you are ready to buy a home, now is the time to take advantage of low interest rates that boost your buying power and plant roots in Central Texas.”   

Dr. James Gaines, former chief economist for the Texas Real Estate Research Center, attributes Austin’s record-high housing demand to a perfect storm of economic growth and increased consumer buying power. 

“The Austin-area real estate market is experiencing extraordinarily high demand fueled by years of high population growth and employment gains, lifestyle changes following the pandemic and record-low interest rates,” Gaines said. “The pandemic fostered an environment where many families increased personal savings helping some transition from renting to ownership while others needed to ‘move up’ for more space while working from home. Despite a steep slowdown during shelter-in-place orders this spring, the market came roaring back in the summer with no drop-off at the end of the calendar year.”  

Gaines added that the outlook for the 2021 housing market was very good, noting that Austin’s demand-driven market will continue to show strength and homes will keep selling quickly.  

In 2020, the median sales price in the Austin-Round Rock MSA rose 9.2% to $344,000. During this year, new listings decreased 0.4% to 43,816 listings, while active listings declined 34.2% to 4,556 listings. However, pending sales jumped 13.1% to 42,371 pending sales. Pending sales are now outpacing new listings, indicating that homes are selling faster than new ones can hit the market.  

“The Central Texas housing market is incredibly competitive and moving at lightning speed right now,” Horton added. “The complexity of a home sale is at an all-time high as it has become commonplace for homes to receive multiple offers well over list price. Whether you’re a homebuyer or a home seller, it is more important than ever to work with a REALTOR® who deeply understands your local area and can navigate the near-zero inventory market on your behalf.” 

City of Austin 

In 2020, residential home sales in the City of Austin increased 1.7% to 12,745 sales, an all-time record, while sales dollar volume jumped 16.3% to $6,746,602,345. The median sales price for residential homes rose 12% year over year to 420,000 this past year, also an all-time record. New listings slightly increased 1.1% to 14,735 listings while active listings dropped 23.8% to 1,332 listings, and pending sales increased 3.8% to 13,062 pending sales.  

In December 2020, the median sales price in the city of Austin rose 18.7% to $461,000, an all-time monthly record. Residential sales increased 16.4% to 1,191 sales, a record for the month of December in any year, as sales dollar volume jumped 43.1% to $711,984,698. During the same period, new listings jumped 31.3% to 755 listings, while active listings decreased 33.6% to 753 listings, and pending sales jumped 31.1% to 928 pending sales. Monthly housing inventory decreased 0.4 months year over year to 0.7 months of inventory. The City of Austin now has a higher inventory than surrounding markets like Williamson County, which is historically not the case.  

Travis County

During 2020, residential home sales increased 4.3% to 20,081 sales, while sales dollar volume rose 19% to $10,663,700,312. The median price for residential homes increased 12% year over year to $405,000. This past year, new listings declined 1% to 22,744 listings and active listings dropped 32.6% to 2,226 listings. However, pending sales increased 8.1% to 20,986 pending sales.  

In December, residential home sales increased 18.1% to 1,885 as sales dollar volume in Travis County spiked 46.5% to $1,137,805,715.  Additionally, the median price rose 20.2% year over year to $435,000. During the same period, new listings jumped 29.5% to 1,216 listings while active listings dropped 54.9% to 1,038 listings, and pending sales increased 38.6% to 1,537 pending sales. Monthly housing inventory fell 0.8 months year over year to 0.6 months of inventory.  

Williamson County

In 2020 in Williamson County, home sales increased 9.1% to 13,523 sales, and sales dollar volume rose 17.7% to $4,603,742,735. The median price for homes increased 7.7% to $307,000. New listings dropped 2.9% to 13,794 and active listings fell 41.4% to 1,322 listings in 2020. However, pending sales increased 12.6% to 14,158 pending sales. 

During the month of December, residential sales in Williamson County increased 4.1% to 1,152 sales, and sales dollar volume jumped 20.4% to $424,133,483. The median price increased 14.3% to $326,650. In December, new listings jumped 15.6% to 784 listings, while active listings tumbled 77.8% to 405 listings. Pending sales increased 24.9% to 987 pending sales. Housing inventory declined 1.4 months year over year to 0.4 months of inventory, which is the lowest inventory in the MSA.  

Hays County

During 2020, Hays County home sales increased 21.9% to 4,864 sales, and sales dollar volume rose 36.8% to $1,833,669,611. The median price for homes increased 10.9% to $295,000. This past year, new listings increased 6.6% to 5,220 listings, while active listings fell 30.3% to 657 listings compared to 2019. Pending sales increased 31.7% to 5,330 pending sales.  

December 2020 home sales in Hays County increased 35.6% to 423 sales, and sales dollar volume spiked 60% to $170,517,335. The median price for homes increased 17.5% to $314,900. During the same period, new listings increased 11.6% to 279 listings, while active listings dropped 64.8% to 297 listings. However, pending sales soared 73.5% to 399 pending sales. Housing inventory decreased by 1.8 months to 0.7 months of inventory.  

Bastrop County

In 2020 in Bastrop County, home sales increased 20.8% to 1,350 sales, and sales dollar volume rose 35.1% to $395,575,892. The median price for homes increased 10% to $263,000. New listings increased 9.3% to 1,654 listings while active listings fell 15.3% to 272 listings. However, pending sales jumped 34.6% to 1,524.  

In December, Bastrop County home sales climbed 57.5% to 137 sales, and sales dollar volume soared 72.4% to $42,432,735. The median price for residential homes increased 13.5% to $269,000. During the same period, new listings jumped 58.1% to 117 listings, while active listings dropped 44.9% to 163 listings. Pending sales skyrocketed 126.9% to 152 pending sales. Housing inventory decreased by 1.8 months to 1.4 months of inventory.  

Caldwell County

Last year in Caldwell County, the median price increased 7.1% year over year to $212,500. Residential home sales increased 15.7% to 347 sales, and sales dollar volume jumped 23.9% to $82,877,777. New listings slightly dropped 1.9% to 404 listings and active listings decreased 20.4% to 78 listings. At the same time, pending sales jumped 24.3% to 373 pending sales in 2020.  

In Caldwell County, December home sales increased 61.1% to 29 sales as sales dollar volume increased 58.3% to $7,325,243. The median home price increased 3.8% year over year to $212,850. During the same period, new listings climbed 47.1% to 25 listings, while active listings dropped 45.7% to 51 listings. Pending sales soared 160% to 39 pending sales. Housing inventory decreased 2.0 months to 1.8 months of inventory.   

For more information or to download the December 2020 Central Texas Housing Market Report, visit ABoR.com/MarketStatistics. All information taken from the Austin Board of Realtors December 2020 Central Texas Housing Market Report.

2021 Homestead Exemptions

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 (2021 – so you had to close in 2020)
  • The address on your driver’s license must match the address you are claiming the HS exemption on.

When can I claim my homestead exemption?

You can file your regular homestead exemption application between January 1st and April 30th each year. You can first file for your homestead exemption on January 1st of the year following when you purchase your home. For example, if you purchased your home in 2020, you can now file in 2021. If you did not close until January of 2021, you must wait to file until 2022.

How much is my homestead exemption in Texas?

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. For example, 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 in Texas?

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. Exemptions other than the homestead exemption do not have to be filed between January and April and can be filed as soon as you qualify for them.

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 filling out and mailing in the form yourself!

If you have questions about your homestead exemption, property taxes or any other real estate question, contact us and we’ll get back to you right away. I hope you have found all of this information helpful!

November 2020 Central Texas Housing Market Report

Austin on pace to break housing records

Housing Inventory Drops to All-Time Low

AUSTIN, Texas – The Austin-Round Rock Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) posted a record-breaking month of sales this November, according to the latest Central Texas Housing Market Report released by the Austin Board of REALTORS® (ABoR). MSA home sales jumped 23.8% year over year to 3,397 sales, indicating no sign of a typical season slowdown heading into the new year. 

Additionally, the median price across the MSA increased 19.7% to $365,000, and sales dollar volume spiked 49.3% to $1,576,178,429. At the same time, new listings increased 5.7% to 2,762 listings, active listings dropped 55.2% to 2,842 listings and pending sales increased 23.9% to 3,269 pending sales. For the first time ever, housing inventory dipped below one month across the five-county MSA, falling 1.2 months year over year to 0.9 months of inventory.   

“Despite the economic roadblocks and challenges the global pandemic has presented, Austin’s housing market activity is stronger than it’s been in several years,” Romeo Manzanilla, 2020 ABoR president, said. “Housing demand has only increased over the past several months and Austin REALTORS® are working hard to ensure clients find a home that works for them. Our main challenge in this market is navigating the critically low levels of inventory. This near-zero level of housing inventory throughout the region is staggering, and it will put enormous pressure on home prices and the rental market.” 

November 2020 marks an all-time low for housing inventory throughout the region and the first time that inventory across the five-county MSA has dipped below one month. The Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University estimates 6.5 months of inventory as a balanced housing market.  

“With a steady influx of job creation in the pipeline, the housing market will continue to post strong numbers well into 2021,” Mark Sprague, state director of information capital at Independence Title, said. “But, because Austin’s housing market is not slowing down, we will continue to see demand outpace the inventory available. This growth is not sustainable. The one variable that will hold the market back is the lack of inventory.” 

“While we’re grateful that the housing market rapidly recovered, last month’s numbers should give us all pause,” Manzanilla concluded. “Central Texans who could not find a property within Austin’s city limits have historically been able to expand their searches outward to find a home. But, when the entire region has virtually zero inventory, its leaders must think about how such a broad lack of housing will ultimately impact Austin’s suitability as a destination for businesses and economic growth.” 

City of Austin  

The median sales price in the city of Austin rose 10.1% to $433,493 in November. Residential sales increased 28.2% to 1,105 sales, as sales dollar volume jumped 47.2% to $600,496,127. During the same period, new listings increased 9.9% to 897 listings, while active listings decreased 28.2% to 1,064 listings, and pending sales jumped 16.8% to 1,038 pending sales. Monthly housing inventory decreased 0.4 months year over year to 1.0 months of inventory.  

Travis County  

In Travis County, residential sales increased 25.2% to 1,720 sales, while sales dollar volume spiked 54.6% to $961,793,770. The median price for residential homes rose 19.7% year over year to $425,000. During the same period, new listings increased 8.2% to 1,388 listings, active listings decreased 47.2% to 1,523 listings, and pending sales jumped 22.4% to 1,642 pending sales. Monthly housing inventory fell 0.9 months year over year to 0.9 months of inventory.  

Williamson County  

In November in Williamson County, residential sales increased 19.8% to 1,127 sales, and sales dollar volume jumped 38.4% to $404,718,496. The median price increased 18% to $326,725. During the same period, new listings slightly increased 2.2% to 903 listings, while active listings tumbled 71.8% to 604 listings. Pending sales increased 12.2% to 1,046 pending sales. Housing inventory declined 1.6 months year over year to 0.5 months of inventory.  

Hays County  

In Hays County, November home sales increased 30.4% to 403 sales, and sales dollar volume spiked 54.6% to $170,600,406. The median price for homes increased 18.5% to $303,525. During the same period, new listings increased 6% to 338 listings, while active listings fell 50.7% to 439 listings. Compared to November 2019, pending sales soared 54.6% to 422 pending sales. Housing inventory decreased by 1.6 months to 1.1 months of inventory.

Bastrop County  

In November, Bastrop County home sales climbed 14% to 114 sales, and sales dollar volume increased 17.4% to $31,303,538. The median price for residential homes increased 6.4% to $260,950. During the same period, new listings slightly increased 2.8% to 109 listings, while active listings dropped 37.7% to 208 listings. Pending sales skyrocketed 81.4% to 127 pending sales. Housing inventory decreased by 1.7 months to 1.9 months of inventory.   

Caldwell County  

In Caldwell County, November home sales increased 65% to 33 sales, and sales dollar volume increased 70.4% to $6,961,699. The median home price increased 11.4% year over year to $204,750. During the same period, new listings rose 14.3% to 24 listings, while active listings dropped 32% to 68 listings. Pending sales jumped 52.4% to 32 pending sales. Housing inventory decreased 1.5 months to 2.5 months of inventory.   

For more information or to download the November 2020 Central Texas Housing Market Report, visit ABoR.com/MarketStatistics. All information taken from the Austin Board of Realtors November 2020 Central Texas Housing Market Report.

Vote 2020 – Central Texas

November 3rd is our national election for the President of the United States as well as for many other state and local offices, referendums and propositions. The 2020 election is shaping up to be one of the heated and controversial ones in recent history! Many have voted already in early voting or by mail but others have waited for election day, November 3rd. We strongly encourage everyone who is able to vote to make their voice heard by voting this Tuesday!

If you have yet to place your vote and are planning on voting on Tuesday, November 3rd, we have compiled some helpful information and links to help you.

Travis County

Where can I vote? Here is a list of polling locations in Travis County on election day.

When are polls open on election day? Election day hours are 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM.

Am I registered to vote? What is my Precinct Number? Your precinct number can be found on your voter registration card. If you do not have your card, are unsure of your precinct number, or need to confirm you are registered to vote, you can look online at www.votetravis.com . You can also use the 24 hour automated telephone system at (512) 238-VOTE (238-8683).

What type of ID do I need to vote in Travis County? Click here to visit the Travis County Voter Identification Requirements page to see a list of acceptable forms of photo ID, and options for voters who do not possess one and cannot reasonably obtain one.

Can I see a sample ballot? Click here to see sample ballots for Travis County.

Williamson County

Where can I vote? Registered voters in Williamson County can vote at any of the locations listed on this county election website. You can also CLICK HERE to see polling place wait times and directions from your current location.

When are polls open on election day? Election day hours are 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM.

Am I registered to vote? What is my Precinct Number? You can find your check your voter registration status, find your polling site or view your sample ballot by following this link.

What type of ID do I need to vote in Williamson County? CLICK HERE for information on ID requirements in Williamson County.

Hayes County

Where can I vote? Registered voters in Hayes County can vote at the locations listed in this document from Hayes County. Addresses are also included.

When are polls open on election day? Election day hours are 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM. You can see a sample ballot by following this link.

Am I registered to vote? What is my Precinct Number? You can find out your precinct number on this website from the Texas Secretary of State.

What type of ID do I need to vote in Hayes County? CLICK HERE for information on ID requirements in Hayes County.