Austin homeownership rates go through the roof during pandemic

Austin has blown the roof of its home ownership rate due to historically low mortgage rates and robust home sales activity.

In the third quarter of this year, the home ownership rate in the Austin metropolitan area rose to 74.7 percent, according to a report released Nov. 17 by the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University. This is the highest rate since the US Census Bureau published data on home ownership in the Austin area in 1996.

In the second quarter of this year, the home ownership rate in Austin was 65.8 percent, according to the A&M Real Estate Center, almost 9 percentage points below the level just a quarter later. In the third quarter of 2019 it was 60.3 percent.

The Real Estate Center finds that Austin’s home ownership rate is the highest among the state’s four major metropolitan areas for the first time in 12 years.

According to the Austin Board of Realtors, home sales in the Austin area rose 31.5 percent in September over the same period last year. “The Austin economy is recovering better than most cities, and it is allowing more people to move into a home that suits their needs,” Vaike O’Grady, regional director of Austin housing data provider Zonda, said in a Board of Press release Realtors from 2010 October.

Jim Gaines, chief economist at the TAMU Real Estate Center, warns that home ownership rates in Austin and elsewhere in Texas could fall over the next year as foreclosure protection expires in the pandemic.

Currently, however, Austin and Dallas-Fort Worth have record high home ownership rates.

In DFW, the home ownership rate reached a record high of 69 percent in the third quarter of this year, according to the Real Estate Center report. This corresponds to 64.9 percent in the second quarter of this year and 61.5 percent in the third quarter of 2019. The data on federal home ownership for DFW are from 2005.

The home ownership rate in the San Antonio area has hardly changed since then. The report shows that the rate has increased from 66 percent in the second quarter of this year to 66.3 percent in the third quarter. This is 61.1 percent in the third quarter of last year and the record high of 76 percent in the fourth quarter of 2004. The data for San Antonio is for 1996.

In Houston, hit by the pandemic recession and an oil industry downturn, the regional home ownership rate fell from the second quarter of this year (67.9 percent, a record high) to the third quarter (65.5 percent), it says. In the third quarter of last year, the rate was 61.9 percent. Houston data is from 2005.

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