How the Pandemic Impacted Austin Real Estate: A ZIP Code Breakdown

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In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the housing market in the U.S. is just about the hottest it’s ever been. Home prices are up, inventory has plummeted, and in some places the number of days a house remains on the market is down to single digits. 

Perhaps nowhere in the country is the market more competitive than in Austin, TX. The capital city of Texas has seen explosive growth in nearly every housing metric. Seasonally adjusted home sale prices were up 31% in March 2021 compared to March 2020. 

Though Austin has long been a sought-after location for both Texans and newcomers to the state, the pandemic shifted the area’s competition for homes into high gear. Our new analysis of the Austin area on a ZIP code level shows how the pandemic impacted homeownership across the city and in surrounding areas. 

How did Austin home ownership landscape change during the pandemic? This comparison of Austin in early 2020 to early 2021 tells the story.

Key takeaways: How the pandemic impacted Austin real estate

  • Nearly every ZIP code in Austin has become more competitive: Of the 65 ZIP codes we measured, all but three saw at least some decrease in the median number of days that homes there stayed on the market. In some ZIPs, the median DOM (days on market) dropped from nearly three months to less than one week
  • Areas just outside out Austin saw massive drops in DOM as the need for commuting decreased: There was a huge drop in DOM on the edges of commutable distances to Austin (such as Lago Vista) as Austin residents perhaps became more comfortable living further away from the city center. In a post-pandemic world where people may commute just one to three days a week, a long drive is no longer a deal breaker. 
  • Sale prices for homes are up as much as 68% in some ZIP codes compared to pre-pandemic: In 29 ZIP codes, median sale prices for homes in Austin were over $100,000 more than they were in the months before the pandemic. 
  • Austin’s northern and southwestern neighborhoods and suburbs became especially expensive: Communities such as Wimberley, West Lake Hills, and Leander all had massive jumps in median sale prices, and South Austin, Cedar Park, and Round Rock saw some of the largest increases in price per square foot in the area.

The 10 Austin ZIP codes with the biggest change in sale price

austin change in sale price map

Sale prices for homes increased throughout the Austin area, though less so in areas east of the city. The nearby village of Wimberley saw some of the biggest changes in sale prices, but so did the fast growing suburbs of Buda, Hutto, and Leander. South and Southwest Austin also saw major increases.

ZIP code Median sale price: Q1 2020 Median sale price: Q1 2021 Percent change*
78676 $329,250 $551,500 68%
78733 $694,977 $1,081,100 56%
78739 $504,753 $757,500 50%
78729 $348,000 $493,750 42%
78641 $287,000 $405,000 41%
78735 $590,000 $829,000 41%
78617 $212,500 $294,390 39%
78654 $287,500 $393,750 37%
78750 $450,000 $615,000 37%
78717 $400,000 $541,000 35%

*Percent change rounded to the nearest whole number.

The 10 Austin ZIP codes with the biggest change in days on market

austin days on market map

The ZIP codes just north and to the southwest of Austin proper saw some of the biggest drops in the number of days that homes stayed on the market post-pandemic. This includes the little city of Lago Vista, the community of Cedar Creek, and Liberty Hill. 

Northwest Austin, North Austin, and Pflugerville were already quite competitive before the pandemic, and thus didn’t see the same enormous drop in DOM.

ZIP code Median days on market:
Q1 2020
Median days on market:
Q1 2021
Change in days on market
78645 96 9 -87
78612 87 9 -78
78642 72 4 -68
78669 76 11 -65
78619 68 9 -59
78633 63 4 -59
78628 58 12 -46
78611 74 30 -44
78641 48 4 -44
78676 58 14 -44

The 10 Austin ZIP codes with the biggest change in price per square foot

austin price per square foot map

While the very center of Austin didn’t see as drastic an increase in price per square foot, ZIP codes just north and south of downtown Austin saw the biggest jumps, as well as some outlying suburbs. The communities of Circle C Ranch and Shady Hollow saw major leaps in prices, as did Wimberley.

ZIP code Median price per square foot:
Q1 2020
Median price per square foot:
Q1 2021
Percent change*
78739 $194 $278 43%
78676 $172 $245 42%
78750 $207 $293 42%
78749 $203 $283 39%
78681 $151 $207 37%
78746 $369 $496 34%
78738 $189 $254 34%
78732 $185 $248 34%
78613 $158 $212 34%
78664 $142 $190 34%

*Percent change rounded to the nearest whole number. 

Full data for every Austin ZIP code

The following is the full list of Austin ZIP codes we measured, and how their median sale prices, median prices per square foot, and median days on market changed from January-March 2020 to January-March 2021.

ZIPDOM:
Q1 2020
DOM:
Q1 2021
Sale price:
Q1 2020
Sale price:
Q1 2021
$/sq ft:
Q1 2020
$/sq ft:
Q1 2021
76537487$195,790$220,000$127$141
76542254$169,900$187,000$85$101
76574258$216,728$244,950$128$149
781304222$233,950$280,160$136$148
786024915$264,000$290,518$140$158
78610364$268,600$350,000$139$176
786117430$238,000$280,700$152$160
78612879$380,877$417,269$158$177
7861353$349,250$455,000$158$212
78617147$212,500$294,390$132$157
78619689$610,000$774,150$191$256
78620478$492,500$592,839$191$235
78621269$217,700$240,950$134$142
78626385$250,078$310,000$142$164
786285812$339,900$414,986$150$184
78633634$340,250$355,500$171$189
78634344$241,722$325,870$131$163
78640446$229,997$280,000$131$154
78641484$287,000$405,000$148$189
78642724$319,990$370,400$149$174
78644239$227,250$246,500$132$152
78645969$286,000$381,900$156$200
78653225$230,900$299,990$134$161
786545921$287,500$393,750$146$178
78660154$292,993$365,000$134$177
7866484$249,000$329,650$142$190
78665313$295,000$390,000$137$176
786666018$255,995$285,990$144$165
786697611$539,000$693,928$194$244
786765814$329,250$551,500$172$245
78681123$369,970$467,500$151$207
78702109$515,000$661,222$432$480
787032425$1,132,500$1,362,500$493$567
78704206$712,000$930,000$443$535
7871754$400,000$541,000$177$230
78721229$411,495$472,500$305$353
7872375$436,250$531,000$282$334
78724215$279,985$325,000$166$207
78725114$232,000$305,000$153$191
78726145$534,750$647,500$189$235
7872754$375,000$480,000$219$269
7872834$330,000$425,000$188$229
7872943$348,000$493,750$181$229
7873195$807,500$975,000$314$362
78732215$530,000$712,000$185$248
78733126$694,977$1,081,100$278$355
78734246$499,000$649,500$212$250
78735126$590,000$829,000$281$327
78737374$521,232$697,500$175$220
78738346$597,450$739,312$189$254
7873964$504,753$757,500$194$278
78741115$373,000$380,000$254$308
78744193$293,700$350,000$168$210
7874584$369,750$480,000$254$337
787462912$1,287,500$1,567,500$369$496
78747204$291,000$385,000$144$187
7874884$325,000$400,000$178$235
7874944$422,950$560,000$203$283
7875064$450,000$615,000$207$293
78751445$548,000$615,000$374$468
78753155$300,000$385,000$195$230
78754144$270,000$365,000$139$179
7875794$525,000$650,000$346$392
7875854$345,000$460,500$224$287
7875964$505,500$618,000$252$317

The bottom line

Buying a home has become a priority for many people, even if that means moving to areas where they might not have lived prior to the pandemic. Nothing has slowed down the pace of home buying in Austin: Even as the number of new daily COVID cases in Texas reached its peak this past winter, Austin-area home buyers were spending as much as 15% above asking price in some ZIP codes.

As homes in the Austin market — and in many other markets across the country — continue to sell at a blistering pace, buyers may want to consider whether 2021 is the best time to buy a home, and learn how to buy when the market is really hot.

Methodology

To create this report, Orchard analyzed transactions across all ZIP codes in the Austin MLS for two three-month periods: January to March of 2020, and January to March of 2021. All ZIP codes with at least 25 home sale transactions of single family homes and townhomes in both time frames were included in the analysis. For each metric, Orchard compared the difference between each time frame, and ranked ZIP codes based on either the total difference (for median DOM) or percent difference (for median sale prices and median price per square foot). 

Trevor Patch contributed to the data collection and analysis for this report.

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