The Annual AustinTowers | urbanspace Condo Sales Report
2010 Analysis: Downtown Austin Condo Sales

Despite the tough economy and weak national mortgage market, 2010 downtown Austin condo sales increased 50% over 2009 results. With 168 downtown Austin condo sales tracked through the Austin Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and with prices just 1% lower than 2009, 2010 was a surprisingly strong sales year.

For downtown Austin, this is great news. With more than 2,000 new downtown condo units built downtown in the last decade, overcapacity and the real estate downturn threatened to depress condo prices. The 2010 sales results show that the market remains quite strong given the difficulties facing the broader real estate and mortgage markets.

While sales volumes increased substantially -- not including additional non-MLS sales at the Austonian, Four Seasons, Spring, and BartonPlace -- market pricing remained essentially unchanged at $294 per square foot - a 1% decline from $296 / sq foot in 2009. Because the average unit size increased by 3% to 1,142, average sales price increased 4% from $330K to $344K.

2010 Downtown Condo Sales: 2009 v. 2010
Month
Sales
Avg. Price
$/SF
Avg SF
Avg Year
% Ask
ADOM

2009

112

$330,344

$296
1,106
1990
94%
88

2010

168

$343,983

$294
1,142
1992
95%
99

Change

50%

4%

-1%
3%
1.4
2%
13%

A close look at the 168 recorded MLS transactions revealed the following highlights:

  • 360 was the downtown project with the most sales (38) and the highest $ / SF ($378)
  • The average time to sell a condo was 100-days, a 12-day increase from 2009.
  • 8 units sold for $1 million or more during 2010 compared with 2 in 2009 and 1 in 2008. 5-Fifty-Five, the condo building over the Hilton hotel, had the most million dollar sales with 3 during 2010.
  • 38 units sold for less than $200,000 with the least expensive condo selling for $86,000.
  • Austin City Lofts saw the sales price per unit at $674,643 while Greenwood Towers, built in 1966, saw the lowest average price per unit at $114,500
  • Units sold the fastest in the Sabine, a recent condo conversion project, with an average of just 34-days on the market. Units sold slowest at Plaza Lofts with an average of 341 days on the market.

While 2010 was a very strong year compared to 2009, it's interesting to compare 2010 to 2008 --- the first year that many of the new projects hit the market. In comparison, 2010 saw volumes increase 29% of 2008: from 130 to 168 units. Price per square foot decreased 4% from $308 to $294. Average days on market -- the time required to sell the average unit -- increased by a week to 100 days.

2010 Downtown Condo Transactions by Year

Month

Sales
Avg. Price
$/SF
Avg SF
Avg Year
% Ask
ADOM

2008

130

$345,856
$308
1,126
1983
96%
93

2009

112

$330,344
$296
1,106
1991
94%
88

2010

168

$343,983
$294
1,142
1992
95%
100

An analysis of month-by-month results showed that 2010 started weak and ended relatively strong. The year began with just 14 sales in the first two months and accelerated into the summer months. Interestingly enough, downtown condo seasonality matches that of suburban neighborhoods where families tend to move in the summer to avoid changing schools mid-year. Even though very few children live in downtown Austin, the condo market seems to follow the same mont-by-month pattern. December, typically a weak month, was very strong wit 19 sales.

2010 Downtown Condo Transactions by Month

Month

Sales

Avg. Price

$/SF
Avg SF
Avg Year
% Ask
ADOM

Jan-10

6

$274,547

$291
953
2005
96%
127

Feb-10

8

$291,938

$292
1,002
1979
94%
50

Mar-10

18

$476,403

$316
1,469
1996
93%
115

Apr-10

14

$294,263

$273
1,061
1985
96%
128

May-10

24

$258,967

$285
934
1976
96%
118

Jun-10

18

$387,241

$324
1,160
1999
95%
100

Jul-10

14

$338,192

$298
1,121
1999
96%
74

Aug-10

16

$330,088

$298
1,056
2004
94%
57

Sep-10

12

$221,745

$282
786
1993
96%
113

Oct-10

8

$570,625

$295
1,834
1995
96%
74

Nov-10

11

$264,200

$258
1,032
1984
94%
124

Dec-10

19

$409,346

$292
1,341
1996
96%
96

When buying a downtown condo unit, most buyers select the building they want to live in before picking the specific unit. This is why we organize listings by project to help buyers. The fact is, it's the building that will set the value of your unit. There is very little that can be done to a unit to improve the resale value beyond the building's return. The project you pick will determine your financial return.

For this reason, it is very important to understand values, time on market, and sales volumes by building. In 22010, 360 was the highest valued at $378 / SF and had the most transactions with 38 sales during the year. The average 360 unit sold for $375,779 for just 960 square feet. The second highest selling project -- and one of the fastest moving in terms of days on market -- was Milago. Five Fifty 05, Austin City Lofts and Brazos Lofts saw the highest average sales price. Units in Five Fifty 05, the condo project set above the downtown Hilton hotel, saw average prices of $749,375 for a large 2,297 unit on average. During 2010, only 5 projects saw sales of $1M+ units: Five Fifty 05, 360, Austin City Lofts, Brazos Lofts, and the Nokonah.

2010 Downtown Condo Transactions by Building (Buildings w/ 2+ sales)

Project

Sales
Avg $
$/SF
Avg SF
360 Condominium

38

$375,779
$378
960

Austin City Lofts Amd

7

$674,643
$373
1,813

Nokonah Condo Amd

6

$433,004
$337
1,216

Shore A Condo Amd The

10

$312,895
$306
1,015

Brazos Lofts Condo Amd

3

$637,333
$305
2,008

Five Fifty 05 Condo Amd

8

$749,375
$299
2,297

Brown Bldg Lofts Condo Amd

5

$243,978
$291
845

Plaza Lofts Condo Amd

3

$546,500
$288
1,896

Milago Condo Amd

22

$264,817
$265
992

Brazos Place Condo Amd

4

$207,050
$255
804

Cambridge Condo Amd

16

$277,656
$254
1,158

Railyard Condo Amd

6

$237,817
$251
985

Avenue Lofts Condo

3

$241,667
$242
1,013

Penthouse Condo

6

$136,533
$215
635

Sabine On 05 Residential Condo

8

$198,563
$205
987

Towers Town Lake Condo Amd

7

$276,929
$194
1,427

Greenwood Towers Amd

4

$114,500
$153
748

The following analysis may be the most revealing. If you want to know what you can buy for a budget, how best to invest downtown, or what drives condo values, the following price band analysis groups all 2010 downtown Austin condo sales by the final sales price. Of 168 transactions, 94 were between $100K and $300K --- a clear market sweet spot. As the price bands increase, units tend to get newer, bigger, and harder to sell. But there are a few interesting trends. Price per square foot for $1M + units is 64% higher than for units in the $200K - $300K price band. In general units priced over $500K cost $350 / SF or more and its under $300K cost $268/SF or less.

Another surprise came with the least expensive price band. The 4 sales priced under $100K took a surprisingly long time to sell, 106 days on average, compared to just 54 days for units in the next band up. Also, there was only 1 sale in the wide $750K to $1M price band and it took longer to sell than the unit in any other price band. Units priced over $1M took more 115 days to sell and sold for just 93% of the asking price. There were no units that sold for more than $2M.

2010 Downtown Condo Transactions by Sales Price Band

# Sales
Avg # Rooms
Sale $
AVG SF
$ /SF
Year Built
ADOM
% Ask
< $100K
4
2.8
$91,400
515
$178
1970
106
94%
$100K - $200K
34
3.2
$169,097
718
$236
1986
54
96%
$200K - $300K
60
3.7
$257,099
961
$268
1992
109
96%
$300K - $500K
48
4.7
$366,486
1,200
$305
1995
108
95%
$500K - $750K
13
5.0
$574,954
1,636
$351
2002
125
95%
$750K - $1M
1
5.0
$932,500
2,422
$385
2003
57
97%
$1M - $2M
8
8.4
$1,281,250
3,300
$388
1989
115
93%

Additional Analysis & Downtown Austin Condo Resources:

For regular downtown Austin condo news and analysis, read the AustinTowers blog.

Additional Resources:
AustinTowers Blog: Downtown Condo News
AustinTowers | urbanspace Downtown Condo Index
AustinTowers Condo Listings by Building
AustinTowers Downtown Austin Condo Guide