Austin Housing Market Showing Signs of Stability

Posted by James Brinkman on Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010 at 3:27pm.

As the country works toward digging its way out of the recession, all eyes have been focused on the housing market. After all, the fall out of the housing market was the biggest contributor to our current economic situation and, therefore, stabilizing the market is the key to enjoying a full economic recovery. Unfortunately, many markets are still continuing to struggle throughout the country, but others are starting to show signs of stabilization. In fact, according to the Austin Board of Realtors and the Home Builders Association of Greater Austin, Austin's home market has neared stabilization and may even enjoy a slight rebound this year.

There are many reasons to think that Austin's home marker it near stabilization, but one of the biggest indicators is the fact that the Texas Workforce Commission is reporting that the job market is showing signs of improvement. According to a recent report published by the commission, the area lost about 4,300 jobs during the twelve month period that ended in November 2009. Although no one wants to hear of job loss, these figures are significantly better than those posted by other cities in Texas. .In Houston, for example, 88,900 jobs were lost while 50,700 jobs were lost in Dallas during that same timeframe.

According to Eldon Rude, who directed a residential real estate market study comparing Austin to 30 other metros in the United States, Austin builders trimmed back their home production by about 19 percent last year, which resulted in breaking ground on about 6,490 homes.

"Starts have stabilized in recent quarters, builders have closed more homes than they have started for the last three years. This strategy has resulted in far fewer inventory issues in the Austin new home market compared to the more challenged markets across the U.S.," said Rude in an Austin Biz Journals article.

Rude's study concluded that new home starts will likely remain at the same level as we saw in 2009, largely because of the slow job growth that is anticipated through the first half of 2010. Despite the fact that home pricing and buying has seen some improvement, experts believe the true test of market stability will come when the interest rates begin to climb again and the federal tax credits for home buyers come to an end. Only then will we be able to get a true feel for how strong the housing market really is.

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