AUSTIN, Texas — It is no question that Central Texas real estate is booming at a rapid pace, but exactly how much has it grown since before the COVID-19 pandemic?
A new study released by Orchard looked at all real estate transactions for each ZIP code in the Austin area from January 2020 to March 2020 compared to the same time frame in 2021.
Areas west and north of Austin are seeing the biggest boom in both median home prices and days on the market, according to the study.
Homeowners are flocking to places like Marble Falls, Burnet, Leander and even Wimberley, where median home prices grew by 68%, the biggest jump of all ZIP codes.
While multiple factors come into play – including new tech giants moving to town – the coronavirus pandemic also played a significant role in this shift. Homebuilding supplies ran into shortages, and people started working from home more, so commuting was no longer an issue.
"That 60-minute commute is not really as big of a deal when you're only looking at maybe doing it once or twice a week," said Rachel Bennett, a home advisor at Orchard. "People are really willing to do that if it means I get to buy a larger house in a nicer area that I am happier with."
The report also found that 29 ZIP codes in the Austin area had median home prices over $100,000 more than what they cost in the months leading up to the pandemic.
Bennett said her company is feeling the impacts of this. Orchard helps homeowners buy a new home without the stress of selling their current home first.
"We unlock 85 to 90% of the equity in their current home up front, which allows them to go ahead and buy their new house, get moved in, and then we put their home on the market. And then when it sells for more to a buyer, they actually get to keep the upside of that," she said.
Recently, that process Bennett eluded to has benefited her clients. For example, one family bought a new-build home nine months ago. Until their home was ready, the family was able to stay in their current home without worrying about paying two mortgages.
Nine months later, when they were ready to sell, the home value shot up $400,000 simply because "they caught on at the right time" of the housing boom, Bennett said.
"When you see these stats, you see what's happening in the market overall, buyers really need a way to stand out and make the most competitive offers," Bennett said.
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