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Austin Unemployment and Austin Real Estate Market Update September 2008

published on October 18, 2008

The Austin-Round Rock unemployment rate continues to inch up for the 5th month in a row from 3.3% in April 2008 to 4.7% in September 2008, which represents a 30% increase or an increase of 12,000 unemployed.  While the Austin unemployment rate has continued to increase, single-family Austin home prices have seen two consecutive monthly decreases when comparing August and September of 2008 to the same months during 2007.  However, the unemployment rate is significantly 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.  Additionally, Austin home prices are still 23% higher than prices were during the market peak of 2000. 

In my estimation, Austin prices may continue to decline slightly with continued increases in unemployment due to the economic woes and due to the winter season that brings a natural slow down in home sales each year.  However, it is possible that the current economic woes may begin to improve in the spring as the governments $700 billion injection begins to take hold.  If this happens, many who held off from selling or buying during 2008 may decide to proceed during 2009.    As a result, I continue to recommend selling competitively and buying aggressively throughout the remainder of 2008 and through the first several months of 2009. 

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The unemployment rate increased from 4.5% to 4.7% between August and September of 2008, representing an increase of 1,200 unemployed in Austin-Round Rock.  A year ago in September of 2007 the unemployment rate was 3.5%, which is 26% lower than what it is today.  While unemployment has been on the rise, the labor force has continued to grow by adding 6,431 people between April 2008 and September 2008, although the labor force decreased by 3,740 between August 2008 and September 2008. 

The September 2008 Austin unemployment rate of 4.7% is still below the State of Texas unemployment rate of 5.2% and the U.S. unemployment rate of 6.0%, but the gap is closing.  The Austin unemployment rate has now increased 17% between January and September of 2008, which matches the State of Texas increase of 17% and beats the U.S. increase of 13.3%, which shows that Austin’s unemployment woes are keeping pace with the rest of the state and country.

The median price for single-family Austin homes sold between January 1 and September 30 of 2008 has increased by just less than 1% when comparing to the same time period during 2007.  However, the median price for single-family Austin homes sold in September 2008 has decreased by 2.5% when compared to September of 2007.  September 2008 is the second month in a row that overall single-family Austin home prices have declined compared to the same month during 2007. 

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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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