The Austin Board of Realtors and Greater Austin Home Builders Association gathered last Wednesday, Jan. 8 to present the 2014 Housing Forecast. The event highlighted possible pitfalls in the Austin real estate market, national and global economic concerns as well as efforts to increase the state’s water supply.
However, population and employment growth around the city has outpaced the amount of new real estate available, making it more likely that residents will begin buying houses for sale, jumpstarting a better look into the market for 2014.
Eldon Rude, principal of 360° Real Estate Analytics says “Significant price increases like that are not sustainable and make Austin a little less attractive to the point where we begin to get into a situation where affordability becomes a problem,” Rude said. “Our job is to find ways to bring housing online that is affordable to families.”
Rude says that a spike in interest rates may have contributed to the late drop in new home starts. 30-year mortgage interest rates ran as low as 3.4 percent last April but climbed as high 4.48 percent to end the year.
In addition, a federal program known as QE3, which enables the Federal Reserve to buy billions in bonds each month from banks to encourage lending, is coming to a gradual end. The news initially incited fear,but interest rates have since stabilized despite the initial “tapering” in December of the bond buy-back program.
Last year, voters agreed to allocate a $2 billion loan for water infrastructure projects on the State Water Plan. If all of the approved regional projects are completed, the county would add 192,000 acre-feet of water capacity, a growth needed to accommodate the growth that is expected to continue.
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