Central Texas home sales climbed 6 percent last month, as sales volume reached its highest level on record for any February, the Austin Board of Realtors said Thursday. The board said the activity indicates the spring selling season may be off to an early start.
The board said 2,101 homes changed hands in the Austin region, which stretches from Georgetown to San Marcos, a 6.1 percent gain over February 2018.
“We’ve been hearing from our members that buying and selling activity has really picked up over the past month,” Kevin Scanlan, president of Austin Board of Realtors, said in a written statement.
February also saw an increase in listings and housing inventory, signs that the Austin-area housing market “continues to move toward greater balance,” according to the board.
On the price front, half the homes in February sold for more than $295,000 and half sold for less, for a 0.3 percent decline in the median price year-over-year.
“Housing affordability challenges might be limiting what consumers are able to pay for a home,” Scanlan said.
The median price also dipped for home sales within Austin’s city limits. Half the homes within Austin sold for more than $360,000 and half for less, for a 1.6 percent decline in the median sales price, the board’s report said. Sales, however, were up, with Austin logging 649 sales, a 7.3 percent increase over February 2018.
Tara McGuire, an agent with Bramlett Residential Real Estate, said she’s noticed the prime selling season seems to be shifting, starting much earlier than the historical norm.
April through August historically has been the best time to close on a sale, she said, but in the past couple of years mid-January is when the market “starts to heat up,” McGuire said.
Last year, the market started cooling off earlier than the norm, too, with activity slowing down significantly after July 4, she said. “So when people think summer is the best time to sell, they’re mistaken,” McGuire said.
Bojan Dragicevic, an agent with the Seely Group with Keller Williams Realty, said the Austin-area remains a strong market for sellers. Dragicevic represented the buyers who purchased a house on Lynnbrook Drive that went under contract Feb. 1 after just one day on the market and won out in a multiple offer situation. McGuire represented the seller.
Dragicevic said he’s seeing multiple offers made “on eight out 10 properties, and at well over asking price.”
“There are way more buyers than sellers,” he said. “If a property hits the market today, you have to go see it today. You can’t wait until tomorrow.”