Central Texas homebuilders began construction on 40 percent more homes in the first quarter of 2016 than in the first quarter of 2105, according to Metrostudy, as reported by the Austin American-Statesman and the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University.
This dramatic rise equaled 3,570 new home starts in the first quarter of this year, compared to only 2,549 new home starts in the first quarter of last year. When comparing the first quarter of this year to the last quarter of 2015, home starts also were up: 32 percent over 2015’s last quarter new home starts of 2,702.
Year over year, new home starts were up 9.2 percent in the 12 months ending in March 2016, compared to the 12 month-period ending in March of 2015. This equaled 12,590 new home starts in 2016 compared to 11,528 new home starts in 2015.
While demand for homes in Austin has risen consistently over the last several years, new home construction has been less consistent and resale inventory has been very low. A lack of housing supply – both new construction and resale – has led to rapidly increasing prices in the Austin market, with average and median priced homes increasing about eight to ten percent each year. The lack of available properties contributes to a more aggressive buyers’ culture, with list and over-list offers further driving up home prices.
Based on the actual number of housing starts, the $200k to $249k range had the most new housing starts at 849. The $250k to $$299k range had the second most new housing starts at 625. And, the under $200k range had the third most new housing starts with 472. While these more affordable price ranges are still in very tight supply, the new construction does at least help put more lower-priced homes on the market. It is expected the “move up” market of homes in the range of $300k to $600k will see an uptick in new construction next.