Real estate sales in Austin pause but experts say it's not a bust

A house located near McNeil and Parmer Lane is one of several going up for sale this week. The owners hope for a quick sale, even though they are aware the real estate market has slowed down

"Feeling very optimistic in regard to my son's house because of the location. He is essentially catty corner from the new Apple campus that's starting to fill up," said Ray Stawowy.

The house has competition. Consider what's happened in Williamson County the past three days.

  • 169 new listings
  • 89 under contract
  • 164 price decreases
  • 37 taken off the market

"So my take on it is that the market is hot, just not white-hot," said Vaike O’Grady.

Vaike O'Grady is with the Metro Development Group. She offered this assessment about the current pause in sales.

"You know, the market has been unsustainable, right? So I'm looking forward to a more normal market where buyers and sellers are more on an even footing," said O’Grady.

The climate, according to O’Grady, has not swung from a buyer's market to a seller's market

"You know, I think it's moving toward balance."

The Austin Board of Realtors can provide a comparison from a year ago. June 2021 had less than a month of housing inventory. 

This year, June 2022, had a little more than 2 months and the coming report for July is expected to show a 3-month supply. The average time on the market also continues to increase.

"We're no longer seeing 40 offers sent in on the first day," said Cord Shiflet with the Austin Board of Realtors.

The sales slow down, Shiflet agreed, is only a return to normal.

"We tend to see a bust come when speculation happens. And we have not seen people speculating on this market. So in my mind, after doing this for 25 years. Austin Summers have historically been just dead. It gets so hot here. No one wants to be in town. Everybody takes a trip to break the heat. The realtors kind of go out and play a little bit. So our summer markets are usually slow. It's been different the last two years because of COVID. People haven't been able to travel. Our market has been so busy with people moving in. So I think we're seeing things just kind of get back to normal again," said Shiflet.

The recent increase in interest rates was dismissed as a big reason for the sales pause. Shiflet noted rates are still historically low. But for those who recently bought homes well over asking price, the assessment is not as clear-cut.

"That's going to be a gut check question for me. And I'm going to say I haven't seen anybody lose money on houses. I've seen sellers that had it in their head, hey, you know, we can just crush it on this market compared to what we can get a year ago. And they're having to get those expectations more in line," said Shiflet.

Which is why having a backup plan is not a bad idea.

"If it came to the point that I don't get the price I want. I'm in a position that we would just keep it as an investment property and a rental," said Stawowy.