Austin Housing What To Expect In 2016

Austin Housing What To Expect In 2016

Ah, the feel and smell of spring is in the air. In Austin this means Austenites are walking around sniffling, sneezing and have a stuffy head due to pollen. April showers may bring allergies and spring rains, but it also means buyers are out in force searching for that elusive ‘perfect house’ and when there’s one buyer, there’s a hundred, all looking at the same time, like some cosmic physic beacon stretching across America—aided of course by job transfers, military transfers and the all-consuming school district search.Austin Wildflower Center

If you haven’t heard, Austin was once again voted by Forbes Fastest Growing Cities List 2016 as the fastest growing city in America. “Austin regains the No. 1 spot after being toppled by Houston last year. Thanks to its booming technology, pharmaceutical and biotech industries,low cost of living, and cachet, the Austin economy remains on fire. Hordes of people are moving in (Austin’s projected 3.15%population growth rate in 2016 is the highest among the 100 metro areas we examined) to take advantage of Austin’s job opportunities (employment expanded 3.28% last year). The city has topped our list of Fastest-Growing Cities for five of the past six years (last year it slipped to second place).”

For those of you thinking: 3.15% increase in growth isn’t much. You’re wrong. This equates to ~200,000 NEW families to the area in 2015—an area in which we have less than 2 months of housing inventory; translated it means rising home prices. The Austin Board of Realtors (ABoR) February 2016 Travis County update shows the median home price has risen 12% since 2011; this equates to ~$100,000 increase in housing cost.

While such an increase is great for sellers, it’s not so great for home buyers who have “been searching” for a home to purchase. estimates 2016 will see another 1.56% in population growth. The question is where are these new residents going to live? Sure, some will rent which may increase the median rental price in Austin, which as of January 2016 was ~$1600/month, but new rental housing is condominium or apartment style, not single family homes. If investors purchase existing inventory (homes built prior to 2015), this mean home buyers will have less choices, thereby increasing home prices again.

The question for renters is: Is it worth it to continue renting? While there is no easy answer some things to consider are:

Can you afford to keep renting? If you’re barely getting by paying, let’s say $1600/month in rent, you may not be able to continue renting in the area. Rents will increase due to inflation and rising property values. Property investors are not here to see you live comfortably, but to make a profit. As the residence you’re living in is not protected under the Texas Homestead Act, you rent will most likely continue to rise if you’re in the Austin Metro area.

Is there affordable housing still left? The answer is yes and no. Yes, there are still ‘affordable homes’; no they may not be in the exact area you’re living now. If you’re willing to consider other areas of town if you can’t afford your current neighborhood, you can lock in a 30 yr. fixed mortgage which may be less than what you’re paying now.

Are you open to housing options? Is owning a home and reaping the financial rewards that may come with home ownership worth more than ‘the perfect house’. Sometimes, the perfect house is really only 85% of what you want as the additional 15% is what you put in to the home. After searching homes for months or years, have you realized ‘that one’ property actually would have been great but you dismissed it because of something that was actually okay such as age, color, flooring, etc.? If the main structure and layout of the home meet your needs, but requires new flooring, a paint job or even a kitchen or bath remodel, you may want to pursue the property as these are items that can be remedied over time and may cost less than trying to find the perfect home and losing out on an affordable home.

Aren’t closing costs and down payment a lot money? Honestly, yes. Depending on your finance program (conventional, FHA or VA) and credit score (600+) will dictate how much of a down payment you may need which can range from zero to 20%. Veteran loans are the best for those who qualify. Not a military person- no problem, FHA requires only 3.5%, while conventional loans are the easiest to work with when it comes to down payment if you can hold a second mortgage.

Feeling Left Out

As for closing costs, the costs to close on a home can be more than what’s in your savings, but good news—if you have a bonus from work, a tax refund or qualify for down payment assistance or the elusive ‘gift’ from friend or family member, there’s still hope. There are many down payment assistance programs available in our area and you may qualify for one of them.

For those who have been on the fence, it’s time to get down and stand up as Austin home prices are expected to continue to rise, which may price you out of the area (rental or purchase). Sit down, run your financial numbers. Think about where you want to be in 5 years. If you’re still planning on being in Austin, seriously consider home purchase, not because I’m a Realtor looking for a paycheck, but a professional housing consultant wanting you to be able to afford a place to live. Should another 5 years bring another ~$100,000 increase in home prices or $500 increase in rent, will you be able to stay in the Austin [or Texas] area? Contact me or your favorite real property or home finance professionals for a chat as we’re here to help you.

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Phone: 512-380-1823
Dated: March 30th 2016
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