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published on May 15, 2008

Could this be good news for Austin area realtors?  Our town is on another of those “best of” lists – this time Forbes Magazine has ranked the best cities for couples, and we come in very high at fifth on the list.  Whether this sends swarms of couples suddenly scrambling to look for real estate in Austin Texas, we’ll have to wait and see.

Forbes looked at the 40 largest metropolitan areas and considered several factors, but a critical part of the mix was the affordability of a starter home.  It arrived at the affordability rating using a formula comparing the price of a median priced home in each city to the median income.  According to the National Association of Realtors a starter home is defined as one that is 85 percent of the median home price.

Based on its analysis of prices for Austin Texas area real estate Forbes ranked Austin at #16 of the 40 areas for affordability. 

We did a little further digging.  Using data from the Austin Texas real estate’s Austin Board of Realtors we found that the median price for Austin homes for sale in 2008 so far is $220,000.  This means starter homes in Austin Texas would be priced at $187,000.

But is there a lot of inventory in that price range?  Our analysis shows for the year to date, 99 homes between the narrow window of $185,000 and $190,000 have sold.  Right now there are just shy of 300 Austin area homes on acreage for sale in that price range.

Now, all that’s left is to qualify that couple for a first-time mortgage.  With all that has happened in the mortgage market in recent months, we’ll leave that conversation for another time.

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