By Megan Wehring
HAYS COUNTY — Interested buyers are seeing that once a house is on the market, they have to act quick because it may not stay there forever.
Central Texas is a popular place to call home. Hays County has learned this lesson as it’s still trying to keep up with the housing supply for its growing population and demand — especially with the increase in telework brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Employers realized that their employees could work from home,” said Susan Horton, president of Austin Board of Realtors (ABoR). “They realized that they could live anywhere and still report to work via Zoom. A lot of folks were actually doing some of that, staying with family and being able to report to do their job. They found it was successful.”
People were hesitant to move during the pandemic as it forced them indoors for way too long, but now they are wanting a larger space, Horton added.
“We were shut in for a year and folks didn’t go to their place of employment,” Horton said. “They couldn’t go shopping or to the grocery stores. It was tough. Families were pent up and they had so much anxiety that they all lived under one small roof at times. They had no backyard for their children and they couldn’t get out to walk or play.”
Buyers’ needs are changing. Horton has sold more homes in Kyle, Buda and the overall Hays County area than ever before. More buyers are wanting to escape the hustle and bustle that comes with living in a larger city.
Texas has also attracted out-of-state buyers from California and New York because they can buy the same size of house at a lower price, Horton told the Hays Free Press/News-Dispatch.
In June 2021, home sales in Hays County decreased nearly 5% year after year, down to 509 sales, according to an ABoR report, while the median price rose by 37.6% to $395,000. New listings increased 44% to 609 listings; active listings fell 63.8% to 243 listings; and pending sales slightly increased 0.4% to 557 pending sales. The time for inventory to remain on the market has dropped from 1.3 months to 0.6 months.
“Get in the market sooner rather than later,” Horton encourages interested buyers to start early, “work with a professional, good realtor that can help work through all of your financials and goals so when you are ready to jump into this market, you are prepared.”