Texas home pricesThe Houston Business Journal online edition had an article last week stating that the number of million dollar plus homes in Texas doubled from 2000 to 2003 to almost 18,000. It also had a series of other interesting stats:
Texas ranked 41st in 2003 for median home price, $94,515.
In 2003, California led the country with the highest median home value, $316,600, followed by Hawaii at $302,300, the Census Bureau says. The national median home value in 2003 was $139,759, according to the Census Bureau.
Among the 88 largest U.S. cities, Austin ranked 39th for median home price, $156,515. San Francisco was the top city at $607,065.
Among other major Texas cities, the median home price in Dallas was $113,880; Houston, $99,152; Fort Worth, $91,075; and San Antonio, $76,282.
Now, the stats I've seen in the Chronicle list the average house in Houston at $177K and the median at $136K. I'm not sure how to reconcile that with the U.S. Census Bureau's $99K. Maybe one is based on sales and the other based on assessed property values? Pretty big discrepancy.
Fortune had a recent cover story on the real estate boom, including a specific profile of Austin, which people in the article seem to think will be one of the next boom cities (the "moving east from California" theory). I'm not as sure. Arizona and Nevada are easy to explain: people escaping the high cost of California, esp. retirees wanting to cash out of their expensive CA house. And Florida is easy to explain too: retirement and second homes for northeastern baby boomers. But I don't see any massive movement to Texas by wealthy retirees. Sure, baby boomers in Texas will probably also retire here to places like the hill country, Padre, Galveston, and various lakesides - and I think all those properties will do well - but I don't see an explosion in urban real estate values. Austin is certainly nice, but its economy only has a limited amount of wealth available to drive up home prices (tech - somewhat; state government, universities/students, musicians - not so much). Those real estate speculators in Austin may be in for an unpleasant surprise...