The September housing statistics were released yesterday (the national numbers are provided by the National Association of Realtors while the Texas numbers are from The Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University).
Nationally, compared to September 2009, the number of homes sold was down 19.1%. It is hard to get a true picture, however, because this time last year there were first-time homebuyers closing on houses as the original tax credit deadline was in sight. So we are comparing against artifically inflated numbers from last year, which will continue for the next two reporting months. Compared to August 2010, September sales were up 10.0%. While NAR talks about seeing the beginning of a housing recovery, I don’t suspect we’ll see much until the foreclosure mess is cleared up and the unemployment rate begins to fall. Fortunately, historically low interest rates continue to move the market along. 32% of the buyers in September were first-time buyers, 18% were investors, and 50% were repeat buyers. Distressed properties (foreclosures and short sales) accounted for 35% of the national sales in September (up from 29% in September 2009 and 34% in August 2010). 71% of the sales were financed with a mortgage. Prices were down 2.4%.
The Austin numbers look worse as sales were down across all comparable time periods. Compared to September 2009, the number of homes sold was down 28.0%. Compared to August 2010, the number was down 15.5%. Prices, however, were up again. This does not mean that prices have jumped in Austin. Because the tax credits skewed to the lower side of the housing market, far fewer of the entry level homes sold in September. As a result, the percentage of homes with higher prices increased, tilting the average and median prices. The number of contracts being accepted on homes continues to decline (down 12.7% this month through today compared to the same time frame in September).
For the fourth month in a row, the year-over-year comparison for Austin home sales has declined. This followed 9 months of increases, which was itself preceded by 27 months of decreases. The 9 months of increases stretched from September 2009 to May 2010 which perfectly coincides with the tax credits. While a lot of analysis has been done (and continues to be done) on the effect of the tax credit, I think I can simply sum it up by stating that it temporarily halted the real estate market’s slide. However, the market resumed it’s decline when the market interference stopped.
|Number of Homes Sold|
|vs. September 2009||-28.01%||-18.4%||-19.1%|
|vs. August 2010||-15.5%||-9.8%||10.0%|
|Year-to-Date vs. 2009||0.2%||-0.5%||*|
|Year-to-Date vs. 2008||-15.6%||-15.1%||*|
|Price of Homes Sold|
|Average vs. September 2009||4.9%||5.6%||-1.7%|
|Median vs. September 2009||5.3%||0.2%||-2.4%|
|Months Supply vs. Sept 2009||6.3%||11.3%||33.8%|
|# Homes for Sale vs. Sept 2009||12.9%||14.6%||8.9%|
|*National numbers are seasonally adjusted so no year-to-date comparisons are made.|