By Kevin Scanlan • 2019 President

As you know, 2018 was yet another record-breaking year for the Austin-area housing market. Our region continues to be blessed with strong job and population growth that fuels high housing demand. It’s a good time to be an Austin REALTOR.

In the Austin-Round Rock MSA, the median price for single-family homes increased 3.6 percent to $310,400 in 2018, while home sales increased 2.1 percent to 30,713 sales during the same time frame. Our December and Year-End 2018 Central Texas Housing Market Report also reported $11.9 billion in single-family home sales dollar volume in 2018.

Looking ahead, economists are predicting that 2019’s housing market will be more of the same trends experienced in 2018. This includes modest, but steady, growth in home sales. Home prices are also projected to continue to rise, furthering housing affordability challenges in Austin and surrounding markets. Despite annual gains in the number of homes on the market, inventory will likely remain at critically low levels throughout the region as housing developers struggle to keep up with our region’s rapid population growth.

If you read last month’s RealtyLine, you learned about ABoR’s position on school finance reform. Rising home prices and property valuations have a double impact on our school districts — increasing the property tax burden for local homeowners and pushing homebuyers farther and farther outside of Austin to look for homes they can afford. This, in turn, contributes to declining school enrollment as well as the reliance on property taxes to fund public education.
It’s certainly a complex issue and you can look to ABoR to actively advocate for school finance reform during this legislative session. If you’re ready to get involved in our advocacy initiatives, join me at fellow Director Cord Shiflet’s home for our annual TREPAC Wine Tasting on Feb. 28. Get your tickets at ABoR.com/WineTasting.

In the meantime, don’t forget that ABoR members can download shareable, client-ready infographics of monthly local housing market statistics on ABoR.com.

Do we have your attention?

In case you missed it, we’re shaking things up here at ABoR with our Be a Member initiative, which is all about engaging our members in a fresh, more relatable way on programs, tools and topics that actually benefit your business (not just ABoR). So far, the response has been overwhelmingly positive locally and nationally from both members and industry leaders. Our launch video has reached over 17,000 people on Facebook to date, and we’ve received kudos from other associations who are inspired to kick the dust off the way they’ve been doing things for years.

But we’re putting our money where our mouth is, too. In the first six weeks of 2019, we’ve given away 2,000 best-selling business development books to our members. We launched a members-only speaker series that connects you with national speakers and trainers, and our inaugural event packed the house. And finally, CEO Emily Chenevert launched ScratchThat, a podcast that explores new takes on an old industry. You can subscribe on SoundCloud, iTunes, Stitcher, and Google Play, as well as at ABoR.com/ScratchThat. And there’s still a lot of new events, meet-ups and content planned for 2019. The year is just getting started!

In short, it’s a good time to be an Austin REALTOR, but it’s a really good time to be an ABoR member. Are you in? Join me in this new initiative at Build.ABoR.com. RL