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Austin's Sizzling Housing Market May Cool in 2014

KUT News

Austin's housing market had one of its hottest years on record in 2014, but some economists are looking for things to slow down in 2014.

Even without December's numbers, the Austin area recorded more home sales than ever in 2013 — almost 31,000 single-family homes, condos and townhomes were sold, a 20 percent increase over 2012. The average home sales price was higher than ever as well at $286,000. 

But as the city continues to grow, the market is becoming more competitive and some say a 2014 dip in sales will benefit Austin's market in the long term.

In May, Austin was ranked the 11th largest city in the U.S., up from 13th in the previous ranking from the U.S. Census Bureau. And the new home buyers have fewer options. Only 6,200 homes were listed in 2013, which is the lowest number since 2000.

Housing economist Jim Gaines with the Texas A&M Real Estate Center tracks markets across the state, and he does not believe the sizzling market of 2013 will continue into the New Year.

"We're still looking for a good strong year, but we think that the rates of increase, the 20 percent increase in sales volume, that probably won't replicate again," he says.

But Gaines added that though Austin's housing market has proven to be markedly resilient despite the recession that began in 2008, a slower year in 2014 might be a good thing. He says the double-digit price increases the housing market saw in 2013 is unsustainable, and it could make home ownership in an increasingly expensive city even more difficult. 

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