Austin Home Sales Go Up in April Thanks to Tax Credit

Craigslist VT The tax credit benefits announced by Obama Government’s foreclosure mitigation programs have started working or so it seems, while watching the Austin home sales figures go up by a handsome 31 percent in April. Pending sales properties were up nearly 47 percent from last year.

The reason attributed for this push up in Austin home sales is home buyers rushing to beat the April 30 deadline, for a federal income-tax credit announced in the government foreclosure mitigation and incentives to home buyers’ program.

Austin Board of Realtors released the above statistics and Board Chairman John Horton said that although the tax credit has expired, we are entering a growing economic, real estate and seasonal cycle, which he hoped will continue to provide momentum to carry Austin housing market upward.

For the information of those who do not know – the announced tax credit was $8,500 for first-time home buyers and $6,500 for those having an existing home and repeat buyers. The stipulation is the home buyers should have a binding contract signed by the end of April and qualified home buyers have time till 30th June to complete the sale.

Austin Board of Realtors reported that in April this year, the real estate agents sold totally 2,043 Austin homes, compared to 1,561 homes sold in April 2009. However, the median sale price of residential properties at Austin remained without change at $190,700.

Further statistics released by Austin Board of Realtors are – home sales are up by 17 percent for the period from January through April; the amount of time homes remained unsold in the market fell 13 percent – from an average of 79 days a year ago to 69 days presently; the number of homes on the housing market in April was 10,749 active listings, which represented a 6.5 month’s supply. The Board Chairman said the above figures showed a balanced market available at Austin.

During the month of April, the sales of condominiums and townhouses were also appeared strong – the sales of these properties showed 213 numbers, an increase of a sizeable 63 percent compared to a year ago. For condos and townhouses, the pending sales rose 70 percent.

Horton explained that the significant increase seen in the condo and townhouse market can most likely be attributed to the first time home buyer tax credit. The median price for condos and townhouses is approximately $30,000 less than the median price for a single family home and therefore these properties can be a more affordable alternative for first time home buyers.

He added that although the tax credits have made it more attractive for some buyers to purchase now, there are lot of buyers, who have been waiting to purchase until they were confident in the economy; now that we are seeing recovery in the economy and real estate market, in combination with historically low interest rates, those potential buyers, who have been on the fence are now taking the leap and entering the housing market.

Home Sales So Far This Spring Surprise Experts

With many economic and real estate experts anticipating dismal sales right through 2010, the final numbers tallied up for the end of February have resulted in a bit of surprise. February is consistently a poorly performing month for real estate sales; the weather is poor and the spring housing market has usually not yet perked up. Yet, the number of pending home sales in February are up a whopping 8.2 percent since January, according to NAR.

Winter weather across most of the country was partly responsible for poor real estate numbers over most of the winter in addition to the annually lower winter sales; but where normally the spring pick up starts in March, this year has seen a surprising pickup in sales already in chilly February.

The increased pending home sales are undoubtedly a result of the countdown to the expiration of the current extension of the home buyers’ tax credit which requires that a binding sales contract is signed no later than April 30th with a completed closing by June 30th.

In the fall, when the countdown to the original home buyers’ tax credit was due to expire, there was a huge rush for home buyers to cash in on this government program. Many home buyers took advantage of the program and rushed to buy a home before the anticipated expiry date. However, since the program had encouraged so many home buyers to purchase a home, the government decided to extend the program until April 30th and also open it up to more than just first time home buyers as well.

Unfortunately, this extension to the home buyers’ tax credit did not seem to encourage many buyers to purchase homes until recently. It’s difficult to know what effect there was over December and January, if any, but it is evident that the closer to the cut off that we get, the more people are pushing to get a binding contract signed so that they can take advantage of it.