Anyone who knows what a construction crane looks like knows that downtown Austin experienced phenomenal growth between 2000 and 2010. The 2010 Census confirms what we could see: Census tract 11 (which includes the CBD and Rainey Street) more than doubled in population, from 2,386 to 5,512. And that excludes dense developments that most would consider part of “downtown,” including Gables Park Plaza, the Monarch, Spring and Nokonah, all within Census tract 12. Add these and Downtown’s growth was even more impressive. [Read more…] about Downtown Austin: Census Data In Perspective
Downtown Austin condo sales continue to reflect strong fundamentals as resale data from February shows increases year-to-year, and from month-to-month.
I’m continuing to tinker with some new statistics, including the effect of the average age of square footage sold. Values of downtown Austin condos tend to be highly correlated with age. This “age/area” metric is useful when comparing monthly data, and I can quickly tell if the data set is skewed towards older or new buildings. In February, the [Read more…] about Downtown Austin Condo Sales Show Growth
The most significant downtown Austin condo news from January must be the first closings at the W Hotel Residences (aka Block 21 Residences). The W is the last of the luxury high rises to open, and these closings represent a significant milestone for the downtown Austin building boom. Naturally, the proud new owners are taking possession from the lower floors going up. Occupancy is permitted up to the 24th floor, currently. Prices at the W Hotel Residences are firmly placed into our “top-tier” category with starting prices at [Read more…] about W Hotel Residences Begins Closings In January As Downtown Austin Condo Sales Rise Higher
The downtown Austin loft & condo market hit many milestones this year: 1) Austonian opened 2) Four Seasons opened 3) W Hotel residences approached completion. Downtown hosted over $60MM in resale transactions during the year. Moreover, to the surprise or chagrin of some, buyers are flocking to the top-tier buildings. We close out 2010 with 38 closed transactions in the month of December – 18 resale, and 20 direct to developer.
The above chart shows downtown austin condo resale trends based on monthly data from 2010. Direct to developer transactions are not shown on the chart. The most salient trend we can glean from this data is the average sales price hovering steadily ~$300 per square foot.
Details after the jump… [Read more…] about Downtown Austin Condo Prices On The Rise in December
Judging by the average numbers, November was a rough month for resales of downtown Austin condos. Conversely, luxury condos continue to post strong numbers for the second month in a row. Back in October, I was surprised by the large number of closings we observed in the downtown Austin’s top-tier condo buildings. The ABJ followed up with a story saying “Verdict’s in: Austin condos did work.”
Top-tier (new buildings)
While the high-end market continues to show good numbers, it’s not clear to me how many of these closings are from original reservations, rather than new purchase contracts (within the past 120 days).
-Four Seasons shows 49 closed units, six closed in November.
–Austonian shows 32 closed units, two closed in November.
-Spring shows ~165-170 closed units closed, nine closed in November. It should be noted that these were, in fact, all new contracts.
Using data available on Nov 30th, 11 downtown austin condos closed at an average $252 per square foot. That’s the lowest average price since August of 2009, and is 19.5% lower than the average resale price compared to November of last year. Compared to downtown condo sales in October, prices were down 14%. Also interesting, average days-on-market (DOM) was 118 days – not surprising to see closing prices averaging 12% less than original asking prices.
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I’m blown away by the number of closings that occurred in October for new luxury condos in downtown Austin. Total number of downtown Austin condo transactions in October is confirmed at 29 30 closings! Resale data shows eight resale transactions, two of which were over $1MM. Here’s the kicker: there were a combined 21 closings at the Four Seasons Residences, Spring, and The Austonian!
I spent extra time this month confirming transaction reports at the top-tier buildings. “Spin” was minimal and there is genuine transaction velocity.
- two $1MM+ resale transactions (not including developer sales at top-tier buildings)
- The Austonian shows 30 closed units, nine in October.
- The Four Seasons Residences shows 43 closed units, six in October.
- Spring Condos closed six seven in October.
- DANA’s Downtown Living Tour was the biggest ever with over 1000 attendees.
- W Hotel is hiring its staff, and buyers with contracts are anxiously awaiting their Q1 2011 move in date
One not so bright spot in the data: the number of resale transactions is down year-to-year, from 18 in October of 2009 to just eight this past month. The data below highlights last month’s aggregate sales statistics for MLS Area “DT”.
Investors and economic contrarians, like me, who demand value should continue to be on the prowl for deals on downtown Austin condos by focusing on the resale market. Especially during the winter months, increased seasonal buying power is evident. I’m working one short sale deal right now, and I’ve targeted others for my clients. For example, I’m tracking a 2bd/2ba at Milago that can be purchased for
under $299,900 SOLD (inquire with me).
The average resale price remains steady at $294.55 per square foot, compared to $293.65 psf in October 2009. The chart below shows downtown resale transactions. Notice the spike in buying activity during the springtime. Now, notice the subsequent fall off… that’s a buying opportunity. 🙂
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Chill out. Cool off. It’s not just the weather, but the market chilled in September yielding a stellar month for downtown Austin buyers. In September, the average sale price of a downtown Austin condo was $282 per square foot. This is based on 12 recorded transactions in the Austin MLS. Year-to-year comparison shows last month was down from $338 per square foot across 20 transactions in September of 2009. Month-to-month, September was down from $298 per square foot across 16 transactions recorded in August.
-Speaking of cooling off: hell froze over in September as the Statesman, frequently antagonistic to high rises, published an upbeat review of the downtown luxury market.
-A cartoon reminded us of an all too familiar exchange.
-We saw a glimpse of 2006 with a genuine bidding war on a bank owned unit at Brazos Place.
Top Tier Summary:
Not reflected in the MLS data are developers’ direct transactions at the top-tier buildings. According to TCAD, the Austonian shows eight closings, which is one more than last month. At the W Hotel Residences, with 159 total units, we’re told that 60% of the units are under contract, and the ability to now get into the building has been increasing contract velocity to 3-4 per month. We’ve been informed that at the Four Seasons Residences ~40 units have closed, with another 40 under contract.
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Oh, August. TGIF. It’s been so friggin’ hot!
August and December seem to be the two months when real estate is not a priority for most families. It’s vacation time. Back-to-school time. And, in Austin, Texas it’s violently hot. So hot that downtown Austin’s walkability loses some of its romance.
In August we recorded 16 transactions, with the average sale price of a downtown Austin condo hovering around $298 per foot. Once again, this is consistent with recent evidence that shows +/- $300 per foot seems to be a homeostatic equilibrium for downtown Austin.
Of the top-tier buildings, TCAD shows 11 7 closed units at the Austonian. The W Hotel Residences are approaching completion. The Four Seasons Residences TCAD entries have yet to be divided into individual records. TCAD can take 30 days to update.
In July of 2007 we recorded 14 transactions at an average of $353psf.
In July of 2008 we recorded 11 transactions at an average of $289psf.
In July of 2009 we recorded 13 transactions at an average of $267psf.
In July of 2010, we recorded 12 transactions at an average of $314psf!!
What insights can we glean from four years of July transaction data? Based on my experience this year, I would say those numbers show that [in aggregate for downtown] a bottom had been reached, and we’re returning to normal where average prices hover around $300psf.
If developers reported sales (they don’t, but if they did), July’s closed Sabine units would nullify the effect of the higher priced closings at the Austonian, Spring, and Four Seasons. Also, at least two of July’s transactions were deeply discounted transactions at Milago and yet the average numbers are still strong.
The market continues to place a premium west of Congress Avenue, as transactions at Austin City Lofts and 360 condos exceed $400psf. Feedback from my clients indicate this premium is a reflection of these buildings’ proximity to a mix of retail uses and to Whole Foods. As inventories of new construction continue to dwindle, the average buyers’ expectations are beginning to come back inline with a healthy resale market.
An example of a great buy in July: Milago #423. A 2bd/2ba corner unit at tree level with city views for $300,000. The seller took a hit on this one and originally paid $382,500. Also, I’m bullish on the Rainey Street District, future improvements to Waller Creek, and the desirability of living near the trail for couples/families.
What does the buyer who prioritizes value do now? Be prepared. Get pre-qualified for a mortgage. Be ready to pounce on the random short sale or bank owned property. I seem to find 1-2 each month. Forget about foreclosure auctions in downtown – they simply do not happen with any regularity, and 99% of the time the bank takes back the property and lists it on the MLS market where they can get closer to market rates. Of course, you can go to the courthouse to see for yourself. Or, you can just contact me.
In June we made local real estate history.
1) We observed the most expensive (per foot) recorded transaction ever in downtown Austin: the 43rd floor 2bd/2ba 2022ft penthouse at 360 Condos, once owned by the building’s developer, sold for $717psf. Note, this sets the record for a recorded transaction in downtown, that is auditable via the MLS. We’re familiar with the off-record purchase of the 11,000ft penthouse at the Four Season Residences for more than ~$1,000 per square foot.
2) The Austonian posted in June a 3bd/3ba 45th floor unit for sale @ $1120psf. This is the most expensive (per foot) unit ever listed in the MLS area “DT”. Mind you, the 45th floor is well below the penthouse.
3) The Austonian and Four Seasons now have residents, and each building has closed more than a dozen units, with more in queue. These transactions are not reflected in the summary data below.
The transactions in aggregate show year-to-year growth for the month of June from 13 to 17 transactions, selling at an average of $296psf to the current $321psf, respectively. Compared to last month, prices are up from May’s average of $284psf. As always these numbers require qualification. Prices did not surge 13% from last month as the raw data would indicate.
In May, nearly 25% of the transactions occurred in buildings outside of the downtown core (Cambridge Tower, Penthouse, Greenwood Tower). These buildings can generally trade $100psf less than the average, so when there is an abnormal number represented in “DT” sales, it brings the averages down. In June, there were only two of these transactions.
I’m increasingly using a modified version of the DT boundary that brings the boundary south from MLK to 15th Street, as this better represents the core, but I will always indicate this to you when doing so.