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Austin homeownership rates go through the roof during pandemic

In the third quarter of this year, the homeownership rate in the Austin metro area skyrocketed to 74.7%, according to a report.

AUSTIN, Texas — (CULTUREMAP AUSTIN) Buoyed by historically low mortgage rates and robust home sales activity, Austin has blown the roof off its homeownership rate.

In the third quarter of this year, the homeownership rate in the Austin metro area skyrocketed to 74.7%, according to a report released Nov. 17 by the Texas A&M University Real Estate Center. That’s the highest rate since U.S. Census Bureau data about homeownership in the Austin area first became available in 1996.

For the second quarter of this year, Austin’s homeownership rate stood at 65.8%, almost 9 percentage points below its level just one quarter later, according to the A&M Real Estate Center. In the third quarter of 2019, it was 60.3%.

RELATED: Central Texas housing market soars in September; development continues during pandemic

The Real Estate Center notes that Austin’s homeownership rate is the highest among the state's four major metro areas for the first time in 12 years.

In September, home sales in the Austin area jumped 31.5% compared with the same period in 2019, according to the Austin Board of Realtors. “Austin’s economy is bouncing back better than most cities, allowing more people to make a move to a home that meets their needs,” Vaike O’Grady, Austin regional director for housing data provider Zonda, said in a Board of Realtors release issued in October.

Jim Gaines, the TAMU Real Estate Center’s chief economist, warns that homeownership rates in Austin and elsewhere in Texas could slide next year as pandemic-era protections against home foreclosures expire.

For the time being, though, Austin and Dallas-Fort Worth are basking in record-high homeownership rates.

RELATED: Austin's red-hot real estate market steams into surrounding suburbs

In DFW, the homeownership rate reached a record-high 69% in the third quarter of this year, according to the Real Estate Center’s report. That compares with 64.9% in the second quarter of this year and 61.5% in the third quarter of 2019. Federal homeownership data for DFW dates back to 2005.

Meanwhile, the homeownership rate in the San Antonio rate barely budged. The report shows the rate went from 66% in the second quarter of this year to 66.3% in the third quarter. That compares with 61.1% in the third quarter of last year and the record high of 76% in the fourth quarter of 2004. San Antonio’s data goes back to 1996.

Houston, which has been battered by the pandemic recession and a downtown in the oil industry, saw the regional homeownership rate drop from the second quarter of this year (67.9%, a record high) to the third quarter (65.5%), the report says. In the third quarter of last year, the rate sat at 61.9%. Houston’s data dates back to 2005.

WATCH: COVID-19 pandemic affecting Austin home sales

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