The last peak for the Lake Travis real estate market was back in 2006. The area had experienced quite the boom during that time — especially the market for new home construction.
Builders were having a hard time keeping up with the demand. Prices and sales volume for single family homes in Central Texas hit an all time high. That all came to a screeching halt when the mortgage market meltdown began in the summer of 2007 and continued to affect the housing market for several years.
The Lake Travis real estate market experienced prices at their lowest and inventory at its highest during 2009.
And then, slowly but surely, things started to pick up.
Throughout 2010 and 2011, interest rates fell to very attractive levels. New construction was starting to move again. Builders liked what they were seeing and decided it was time to pull building permits and get back in the game.
The Turning Point
The resale market was experiencing good demand as numbers for inventory and days on market started to see a drop. Prices began to rise and list price to sales price ratio improved — meaning that homes were selling much closer to the asking price.
Month after month, the housing market in Lake Travis continued to see improvement. Some of the best homes on the market began to receive multiple offers in 2012 and momentum started to turn from a buyers market to a more balanced market overall.
Because of the continued increase in demand during the seasonal summer peak, the summer of 2012 proved to be a major turning point.
A Perfect Storm
The time that it takes for builders to go through the process of acquiring land, and permits to develop and start building, had them scrambling to catch up. Builders in the most desirable areas of Austin had been unable to meet the huge increase in demand for housing.
With no more available land for development, communities like Steiner Ranch reached build-out and had very little to offer in the new construction market.
Both of these scenarios created a big demand on the resale market and by the end of 2012, inventory of homes in Lake Travis reached an all time low.
A Record Year for Home Sales in 2013
Interest rates remained incredibly low and buyer demand continued through the winter and into the spring of 2013. The homes that came on the market during the spring started to get snatched up within days of being listed and competition between buyers was building.
When the dust settled, it was a record year for Central Texas home sales in 2013. The Austin area recorded a total of 27,298 single-family home sales. The previous record of 26,958 was set back in 2006.
Still Climbing in 2014?
The home buying season for 2014 is well underway and things have started out with a bang. Right now, the Lake Travis area is experiencing a continuation of 2013 with prices on an upward trend month after month.
The strongest demand for housing in the area will continue until about mid July — much of it driven by the school year. A large percentage of home buyers and sellers in the Lake Travis area make their move between the school year and want to close the transaction before school starts up again in late August.
Looking back at sold properties in Lake Travis over the past ninety days, half of them were on the market for less than thirty days. About a quarter of those don’t spend more than a week on the market. And a small handful don’t get more than a “coming soon” sign in the yard before showings are scheduled and buyer agents are writing up an offer for their client.
But as a home buyer, you’re not alone. Buyers are finding themselves in multiple offer situations with properties getting anywhere from a few to over ten offers to compete with. It’s shaping up to be another great year for sellers, and even more challenging for buyers.
Will the region’s continued job creation and population growth keep prices heading up and inventory down throughout 2014 for another record setting year?
Or will the double-digit percentage increases in median sale prices of 2013, higher interest rates, and home ownership in an increasingly expensive city create a slow-down?
As of right now, the Lake Travis real estate market is still climbing.
Check out the Lake Travis Real Estate section for more information on historic landmarks, area neighborhoods, buying and selling tips, and local market conditions.
Crutch Crutchfield says
Nice Piece of Writing!
Todd Hower says
I don’t agree. The real estate market at Lake Travis area has not returned to the level of 2007. Many properties are still under water comparing to the sold price in 2007 and 2008. One of the examples is the properties at Villas at Commander’s point. Those properties were sold for $600K in 2007 and now you can get them at $500K or lower. The property at Eck Lake are still selling way lower than 2007 price.
Todd Hower says
Tom, thanks for your feedback! I agree with you on the market value for some properties on and close-by Lake Travis.
There will always be smaller pockets of real estate (or individual properties) within a larger market area that are not performing as well. The larger Lake Travis area market that I’m referring to in this post are homes in and around Bee Cave, Lakeway, neighborhoods all along Ranch Road 620 to the Four Points area, and homes around Lake Travis.
Home prices in the areas you have pointed out are not rising. The property values that have been affected the most are on homes that have lost water access. Values on other properties close-by the lake (especially ones with a view of the lake) have remained flat or declined.
You also have properties within this anomaly that are not affected as much because they still have water access. Homes with water access at this low water level is something people are searching for (and paying for) right now.
Simply put, the smaller market area for properties directly on or close-by Lake Travis go down and up with the water level, but having water access in low water conditions is precious. When “sometimes islands” are growing, property values are shrinking. If the islands start to disappear, we’ll see property values rise with the lake.
Thank you for the comments. I am looking to some specific areas around the main basin of Lake Travis. That could be why I see that the property price is lower than it was 2007. The properties at Commanche Trail, Mountain, Villas Montana, Lake view, Villas at Commander’s point, and Eck lane are selling 10 to 30 % lower than the price of 2007.
I think the price at these specifc areas is very reasonable comparing the price jump in last three year from rest of town.
Always enjoy reading what’s going on in and around Austin. Still stuck in Lubbock.
Todd Hower says
Thanks Connie! Austin is waiting for you!