By WES FERGUSON
Single-family home sales this year are finally beginning to outpace sales through the same period in 2010.
Real-estate agents in the Kyle-Buda area have seen a 51 percent increase in business in July, August and September, the most recent months for which data is available from the Austin Board of Realtors.
Local broker John Sanford said the growth could be a sign of recovery from the Great Recession.
“It’s part of the overall health of the Austin economy and not losing jobs like the rest of the country,” he said. “There’s still some in-migration going on. The apartments are full. And some of those tenants will live in an apartment for a year or two and then go out and buy something.”
One reason it might have taken so long for sales in 2011 to catch up to 2010, Sanford added, is that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 caused a bubble in the local housing market.
Last year, people were scrambling in late spring and early summer to buy homes in time to qualify for federal incentives. Single-family home sales spiked in the Kyle-Buda area, topping out at 129 in April 2010.
But when federal tax credits for first-time homebuyers expired two months later, local sales plummeted.
Thanks to rebounds over the past few months, however, local real-estate agents have sold 693 single-family homes this year through September, compared to 682 sales through the same period in 2010.
“First-time homebuyers have to be active and bump people out of their houses, so they’ll go get something better,” Sanford said.
“One thing I’ve noticed is that we’re having more of the larger homes sell now,” he added. “There was a period for a couple of years where the bigger and more expensive homes were just sitting on the market, and we’re starting to see some of those move now.”
That might not be the case for other real-estate agents, however. Marketwide in Kyle and Buda, the median home price so far in 2011 is down to $143,000, nearly a 5 percent drop when compared to the first nine months of 2010.