Austin Foreclosure Homes Surged Amid Strong Economic Outlook

by Donald Hanz on Foreclosure Crisis

Austin foreclosure homes listed for the March public auctions surged, based on figures released by an Addison-based firm. But according to economists, Austin is on its way to recovery because of significant improvements in employment. Additionally, Austin has been enjoying strong economic fundamentals before the downturn.

For the scheduled March public auctions, 1,038 homes in the Austin metro area were listed, a 26-percent increase year-over-year. For the first 3 monthly public auctions in the metro area, a total of 3,958 homes were listed for the auctions, marking a decrease of 2 percent from total listings in the previous quarter.

Meanwhile, the pace of Texas foreclosures slowed in January compared to December 2009 but increased compared to January 2009. Of the more than 12,200 homes hit with foreclosure postings, a total of 6,036 were already counted as foreclosed houses in the records of mortgage lenders.

Despite the five-digit foreclosure filings in Texas, the filings represented only a relatively small portion of total homeowners in the state, putting Texas in the lower half of state foreclosure rankings.

According to analysts, the number of Austin foreclosure homes still surged in February despite improvements in the local economy because the positive effects are still to be felt in the coming months.

Based on a report by Forbes.com, the Austin metro area tied the city of Washington for first place among all U.S. cities in pace of economic recovery. Forbes analysts based their report on job growth projections by Moody’s and on increases in median home prices, gross domestic product and unemployment rates.

Austin has held down its jobless rate at 7.6 percent in January, although the percentage was a slight increase over the December rate of 7 percent. The statewide jobless rate in January was 8.2 percent, unchanged from December, based on Texas Workforce Commission data. Nationwide, the jobless rate was 9.7 percent, far above the Austin rate.

According to Forbes, both Austin and Washington have strong job creation records. The number of jobs in Central Texas increased by almost 1 percent from 2007 to 2009, the highest increase rate among all large cities. Next to Austin was Dallas, where jobs are expected to surge by around 7 percent over the next 3 years.

Based on the rising trend of home sales and prices, population and employment rates, it is expected that the pace of Austin foreclosure homes will be ably contained by the city.

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