Nearly a decade after the Great Recession, home values remain unstable across the nation, with much of the South, parts of the West and industrial sections of the Northeast showing strong gains. The areas hardest hit by the foreclosure crisis -- parts of California, Nevada and Florida -- are still struggling to build value.
How does Austin and the rest of Texas stand in terms of recovering real estate values? Very well. In fact, Austin ranked first among 124 metro areas analyzed by the American City Business Journal recently. Third, fourth and fifth place went to Houston, Dallas and San Antonio, respectively.
Austin's home price index has nearly tripled since 1995, which was given the benchmark score of 100 for the analysis. In 2016, Austin's index was 293.88. Moreover, the average home price is up nearly 65 percent since 2006. Home prices in Houston were up 45.2 percent, Dallas saw a 43.6-percent increase, and San Antonio's home prices jumped by 35.9 percent.
The ACBJ obtained the information from an index maintained by the Federal Housing Finance Agency. The 124 metropolitan areas chosen are cities in the U.S. with over 500,000 residents. Of those metro areas, 66 saw an increase in home values over the last decade, while 58 experienced a continued downturn.
Is this surge in local home values good news? It will produce additional tax revenue and economic energy, to be sure. Home sellers are beginning to see their prospects improve.
An upturn in prices will also increase the home values of people who don't want or can't afford to move, however, and increasing property taxes could begin pricing people out of homes they've lived in for decades.
Greater movement in the market can also mean an influx of speculators and fly-by-night contractors, unfortunately. If you're buying or selling real estate in Austin, protect yourself by hiring an experienced real estate lawyer.