Austin-area median home price up, U.S. trade group says
STAFF AND WIRE REPORTS
Friday, August 15, 2008
The Austin-area real estate market continued to outperform the nation in the second quarter of 2008, a new report from the National Association of Realtors said Thursday.
Median home prices in the Austin area rose by 4.1 percent, to $194,200, from the year-ago period, while the national median fell 7.6 percent, the real estate group said.
Among Texas cities, Austin and El Paso had the third-highest price growth. Amarillo led all other metropolitan areas, with a 7.2 percent increase, followed by Corpus Christi, up 6.2 percent.
Several Texas markets posted declines, however. Dallas-Fort Worth's median home price fell 3.5 percent, the real estate group reported, with prices also falling in Beaumont-Port Arthur by 2.2 percent and in Houston by 1 percent.
The trade group expressed optimism that the housing market might rebound soon.
"Prices have fallen sharply and quickly in very distressed markets, but most or all of the price declines may have already occurred in these areas since buyers have now returned to those markets," economist Lawrence Yun said in Thursday's report.
"Furthermore, the momentum of buying is likely to continue in light of the housing stimulus package that was recently enacted."
But other economists have predicted that housing won't hit bottom until 2009. Price declines are expected to continue in many markets because of high numbers of foreclosures and a weak national economy.
In the second quarter, the largest drops in median home sales prices were recorded in Sacramento, Calif. (down 35.6 percent from a year ago), Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Fla. (down 33.1 percent) and Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, Calif., (down 32.7 percent).
The largest home price gains were in Yakima, Wash. (8.9 percent), Binghamton, N.Y. (8.7 percent), and Amarillo.
Preowned home sales were down 15.7 percent in Texas in the second quarter from a year earlier, compared with 16.3 percent nationwide, the group said.
How Texas cities fared
The percentage change in median prices for existing single-family homes in the state's metro areas:
Amarillo 7.2% $124,600
Corpus Christi 6.2% $144,400
Austin-Round Rock 4.1% $194,200
El Paso 4.1% $137,700
San Antonio 2.5% $158,100
Houston -1.0% $153,400
Beaumont-Port Arthur -2.2% $124,900
Dallas-Fort Worth -3.5% $151,000
Source: National Association of Realtors
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