Austin home market seen as hottest of 2021

Tech-friendly Texas city saw prices rise by nearly a quarter last year


It could be a transformative year for Austin’s residential market.

A recent survey from Zillow and data from Redfin suggest that home prices could increase beyond the national average and outpace prices in top-tier metros, according to Inman.

Zillow’s quarterly survey on home price expectations found 84 percent of industry experts, economists, and investors believed that price increases in Austin would exceed the national average.

That consensus was the strongest about any city, either positive or negative.

Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York were on the other end of the spectrum. A majority of respondents believed home prices would rise slower in those three expensive cities than the national average.

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Besides pandemic-induced slowdowns, that could be because prices in those markets are already among the highest in the nation, so there’s less room to grow. Prices have still hit record highs in L.A. this year, for example.

Austin topped the same Zillow survey last year and that consensus proved correct: The median list price in the metro area in December was up 23.6 percent year-over-year, more than in any of the 50 largest U.S. markets.

Demand from out-of-town shoppers is a factor. Around 43 percent of Redfin home searches in Austin in the fourth quarter were from out-of-towners.

A third of those queries came from San Francisco alone. Some of the Bay Area’s biggest businesspeople are moving to Austin and employees seem ready to follow.

High-tech industries have grown by 25 percent over the past five years in Austin, where about 16% of all jobs are in that sector. Oracle recently announced it was moving its headquarters there. PayPal, eBay, Microsoft, Facebook, Cirrus Logic, National Instruments, Hewlett Packard, Emerson, Dell, Samsung, ChemWest, InnoTech, Data Foundry and Orion Novotus already have offices in and around the city.

Home shoppers have expanded their searches overall — a record 30 percent of users were searching for homes in other metro areas, a 16 percent year-over-year increase. [Inman] — Dennis Lynch