Two months into 2023 and it is still anyone’s guess about what the broader economy is going to do, but Austin real estate has shown an uptick in activity (though it is still well below last year or previous years).
Overall, new listings in February were basically flat with January, which is not that different from both 2021 and 2022 in raw numbers. March is typically the month that we see the number of new listings coming to market rise sharply, and continue to increase through May or June before beginning a steady decline in the 2nd half of the year.
Months of Inventory:
Two graphs to show you what is happening with inventory which should provide some helpful context for how the start of 2023 compares to recent years.
Overall months of inventory in Austin (based on MLS listings) indicates that we are kicking off the year with more inventory, but still in a seller’s market overall. The change from January to February followed the same trend as most other years with a drop in months of inventory.
That said, the picture is not as rosy across all price points, which you can see here:
The months of inventory numbers get progressively higher at higher price points, and really any price range over $1.5M signals a buyer’s market (at least as we exited February), some more pronounced than others. Homes priced $1.5 – 2M indicate around 6-7 months of inventory, but between $3-4M that number rises to 44 months for the core Austin areas and over 12 months for Austin overall.
As I have mentioned before, the most real-time view I can provide of market activity is really the new pending transactions. I look at these both weekly and monthly.
On a monthly basis, the year started off slower than past Januarys, and February was slightly slower than January. March is typically the beginning of an upward trend through the spring and early summer, so it will be interesting to see if it follows that trend.
I will say that this past week, for which my numbers are still incomplete so I am using an estimate for this week (I track pendings from Sunday to Saturday), it would appear that there has been an uptick in activity. It looks consistent with the trend in 2022, just at a lower volume.
Interestingly enough, the source I track for interest rates showed the 30-year mortgage rate increasing again this past week to 6.65%. It has been on a steady upswing since bottoming at 6.09% at the beginning of February.
And I have heard divergent opinions on where interest rates are going from here. Whatever you think rates are going to do, you can find intelligent, informed people out there that will agree with you, and probably just as many that will disagree.