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Austin Unemployment and Austin Real Estate Market Update November 2008

published on December 19, 2008

Austin unemployment continued to increase in November 2008 to 5% while Austin sold prices are flat and the number of homes sold remains low.  While this is a seasonally one of the slowest times of the year for home sales volume, Austin has experienced low sales volume for single-family homes within the Austin city limits compared to 2007, 22% lower in 2008 than 2007 when comparing the time period between January 1 and December 19.  Sales volume is down 30% this year when comparing 2008 to 2007 for the time period between December 1 and December 18.   With continued low sales volume the opportunities for "good deals" increase in Austin, therefore I continue to recommend selling competitively and buying aggressively through the first several months of 2009. 

The Austin-Round Rock unemployment rate reached 5% in November, a rate that was last matched in February 2005.  This is the 7th consecutive month of slight increases in the Austin unemployment rate from 3.3% in April 2008 to 5% in November 2008, which represents a 34% increase or an increase of 15,400 unemployed.  The unemployment rate increased from 4.8% to 5% between October and November of 2008, representing an increase of 2,300 unemployed in Austin-Round Rock.  A year ago in November of 2007 the unemployment rate was 3.5%, which is 30% lower than what it is today.  While unemployment has been on the rise, the labor force has continued to grow by adding 12,945 people between April 2008 and November 2008 with an increase of 2,900 people between October 2008 and November of 2008.  The October 2008 Austin unemployment rate of 5% is still well below the State of Texas unemployment rate of 5.6% and the U.S. unemployment rate of 6.5%.  The Austin unemployment rate has now increased 22% between January and November of 2008, which almost matches the State of Texas increase of 23% and the U.S. increase of 20%, which shows that Austin’s unemployment woes are still keeping pace with the rest of the state and country.  Keep in mind that the Austin unemployment rate is 1% lower than the years following the technology bust when the unemployment rate stayed at around 6% between January 2002 and December 2003.  The unemployment rate actually reached its height of 6.7% in June of 2003 before a consistent and steady decline over the following year. 

There were 261 Austin single-family homes sold between 12/1/2008 and 12/18/2008, which is 28% less homes sold during this time compared to the 363 Austin homes sold during the same time period during 2007.  Median sold home prices during this time period in 2008 were only 3.8% less than 2007 ($118.76 per square foot in 2008 compared to $123.48 per square foot in 2007).   It is interesting to note that Austin home prices are currently 25% higher than prices were during the market peak of 2000 when the median sold price was $89.71 per square foot.  Between 1/1/08 and 12/18/08 there were 8,174 single-family homes sold in Austin (not greater Austin) with a median sold price of $121.10 per square foot ($239,900), 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, 1,925 square feet, and averaging 58 days on the market.  This compares to the same time period during 2007 when there were 22% more homes sold and the median sold price was .7% less, which equates to 10,503 homes sold with a median sold price of $120.16 per square foot ($236,000), 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, 1,923 square feet, and averaging 47 days on the market.  There are currently 3,488 single-family homes actively for sale in Austin (350 less than last month on 11/21/08) with a median list price of $138.71 per square foot ($317,404), 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, and 2,285 square feet, and averaging 102 days on the market.  There are currently 582 single-family homes pending sale in Austin with a median list price of $117.37 per square foot ($229,985), 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, and 1,922 square feet, and averaging 72 days on the market.  Notice that the median price and average days on the market are quite a bit lower for homes that are pending compared to those listed for sale – 15% lower median list price per square foot and 29% less days on the market – a good indicator that the more aggressively priced homes are selling and are selling faster than those homes price less competitively.  Between 1/1/08 and 12/18/08 there were 3,675 single-family homes withdrawn from the market in Austin with a median list price of $145.10 per square foot ($323,900), 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, 2,269 square feet, and averaging 93 days on the market. 

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*Unemployment data provided by the Texas Workforce Commission and raw real estate data provided by the Austin Board of Realtors and interpreted by Austin REALTOR® Brian Talley of Regent Property Group.  Although the above information is deemed reliable, it is not guaranteed.  The information contained herein is subject to errors, omissions and changes without notice. 

Contact Brian Talley at 512-554-9714 if you need help buying or selling a home or if you have a need for Austin office space.


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