1st Quarter Home Sales in the Doss Elementary Attendance Zone (Jan – Mar 2017)

Homesville Real Estate's report on 1st quarter home sales in Doss

While I publish an annual report for Northwest Hills each January, there was a recent inquiry on the Northwest Austin Civic Association Facebook page asking whether the number of homes for sale in Northwest Hills was higher than in the past.  As a neighborhood homeowner myself, I thought it was a great question so I decided to dig into the data and look at how home sales are doing for the first quarter of 2017 as compared to prior years.

All in all, there’s nothing unusual about the number of homes for sale in Northwest Hills.  And by homes, I mean single family homes, excluding townhomes and condos.  If you look at the first quarter of 2017 versus the first quarter of 2016, the number of homes sold is right on track.  This time last year there were more homes on the market, not less.

Since we are a month past the first quarter, I also looked at year over year sales.  Again, we see a similar number of homes sold, but a difference in price.  As of this writing, there are only seven homes available for sale, and sixteen that are under contract.




Even if we look five years back, the volume of home sales this first quarter is pretty consistent.  For you data folks out there, the chart below shows our historic trends.  What has changed is price, and we will expand on that later.

So here is how home sales are shaping up for the part of Northwest Hills that includes homes in the Doss Elementary attendance zone:

  • We’ve had 24 homes on the market and 20 sold in our neighborhood in the first quarter of 2017, compared to 30 homes on the market in 2016, and 26 homes back in 2012.
  • In 2012 the average sales price for a home in the area was $452,343.  In today’s market, the average sales price is up to $801,800.
  • To date, the most expensive home sold this quarter was a beautifully remodeled 5,500 square foot home on Cat Mountain with knock-out sunset views and a pool.  It sold for $1,610,500.
  • Of the 20 homes sold so far, four of them sold for $300 – $383 per square foot.  Those top-earning homes were all outstanding professional renovations.   Nice, but not quite outstanding homes sold for $250 – 280 per square foot on average.
  • On the other end of the spectrum, the least expensive home sold this quarter was $545,000.  It was a 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom home with approximately 1586 square feet.  The smaller the home, the larger the price per foot tends to be, so this one went for $344 square feet.  It’s another example of how price per foot is not always the best measure of value.
  • 7 of the homes sold this quarter were fixer uppers that required significant updating or remodeling.  The fixer uppers in our neighborhood are selling for less than they were last year, and it’s taking more time to get them sold.  Last year the going rate for a teardown without a view was around $600K.  This year we’ve already seen 4 similar properties selling for under that price.  Builders are also being more cautious about taking on speculative projects of their own.

There is a high demand for townhomes and condos in Northwest Hills, with 15 condos and 5 townhomes sold this quarter.  This is in addition to the single family homes counted as part of the 20 sales for the first quarter of 2017.  If you look at the chart below, it looks like the condominiums and townhomes are filling the gap as home prices in our neighborhood continue to rise.

  • The townhomes ranged in price from $185,000 for a small 900 square foot unit on Greystone, and went as high as $409,000 for a 1775 square foot unit on Tealwood Trail.
  • Over half of the condominiums sold within one week, with most ranging from $160,000 to $419,000.  One outlier at Mesa Trails sold for a whopping $602,000.





Overall there was a lot of competition for Northwest Hills homes this quarter, with sellers getting around 96% of their list price on average.  However, we’re also seeing a big swing in list price to sales price ratio.  On the down side, one home only got 87% of what they originally asked for their large fixer upper, while on the up side a couple of sellers got 11-12% more than they asked.  Pricing strategy has been key, as those sellers that received multiple offers ended up selling their homes for higher than the list price.   If you want to educate yourself about pricing strategy, you can read our pricing tips here.

Of course, not all the homes placed on the market actually sold.  Of the homes on the market this year, 4 of them (around 17%) didn’t sell.  That’s an improvement over the sales percentage during the first quarter last year when around 23% of the 30 homes on the market didn’t sell.  This could be for all sorts of reasons, but we typically find that price, condition of the home, location, timing, or the marketing play a major role in getting a home sold.  If you want to discuss how to not be one of the un-solds, let us know.

On average homes in Northwest Hills took 44 days to sell.  Keep in mind, however, that our neighborhood has an extremely wide range of how long it takes to sell a home – some homes sold with 0 days on market while others that sold this quarter took up to 179 days to sell.  The good news is that over half of the homes sold within 2 weeks.

Also notable from this research was the fact that two homes sold with 0 days on market.  This usually means they were sold without being put in the Realtor’s Multiple Listing Service (MLS).  Remember, in times of high demand it can be to your advantage to let market competition drive prices up.  Listing your home for sale in the MLS offers the property the greatest exposure because it is actively marketed to all Austin Realtors, and it is also usually automatically syndicated and displayed on third-party sites like Zillow or Trulia.  Withholding a property from listing on the MLS significantly diminishes these marketing opportunities and often does not yield the highest price for the property.

People want to be in Northwest Hills.  I boldly predicted in January 2017 that over time Northwest Hills will be more sought after than Tarrytown, and we’re slowly seeing that come to fruition.  As a premier agent on Zillow, we get the lion share of leads from Zillow for 78731.  As you can see from the chart below, so far this year we’ve had 144 buyers inquire about our neighborhood.  Not all of those turn into actual buyers, but after visiting with them I estimate that about half are genuine leads that like our neighborhood’s proximity to downtown, our school ratings, and the relative affordability of our prices compared to other similar neighborhoods. There’s no shortage of buyers.





So why the dip in average sales price this year as compared to last?  There are a few things at play.  First, we are experiencing a very slight slowdown on the top end of the market for $1M+ homes.  Second, it’s been our experience that when given the choice between a $600K fixer upper and an $800K remodeled home, our current buyers are opting for the $800K home.  (Yet, the second highest sale in our neighborhood this quarter was a fixer upper that sold for $1,500,000.  Go figure…)  Third, there were A LOT of homes sold last year, so there are fewer homes on market as folks who refinanced at 3% aren’t really interested in selling right now.  And last, we’ve seen a slight reduction in our growth.  Last year Austin was ranked as the 10th largest and the 3rd fastest growing major metropolitan area.  Today?  Well, we are still the 10th  largest, but we’ve dropped to the  15th fastest growing. That’s still high growth, but not quite as hot as last year. Beverly Kerr at the Austin Chamber of Commerce has some great articles about Austin’s position, which in turn impacts our local real estate market.  You can read her latest report here.

Like what you read?  Let’s talk.  I live and work in Northwest Hills, and you’ll likely see me at the morning Doss drop off.  I’d love to grab a coffee with you.  We can discuss the perils of the cast iron plumbing and aluminum wiring that’s so prevalent in our neighborhood, go over the three steps that sellers should take to optimize their sales price, or just shoot the breeze.  Either way, I’m looking forward to it.  Click HERE to access my calendar & schedule our coffee.


Paul Reddam   |   Owner/Broker   |   Homesville Real Estate   |   © 2017

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