The Texas housing market was off to a solid start at the beginning of 2020 as mortgage interest rates declined. Sales activity plummeted in March and April, however, due to the emergence of COVID-19 and a mandated economic shutdown across the state. Nevertheless, homebuying demand accelerated during the summer for those less affected by the pandemic as remote-work-and-school spaces prompted the desire for additional space in the house, interest rates continued to fall, and more millennials entered the housing market.
Almost 393,200 homes were sold through the Multiple Listing Services (MLS) during 2020, a near double-digit percentage increase from activity the previous year. On the other hand, homeowners were cautious about listing their homes on the market and hosting in-person showings, contributing to a plummet in available inventory, particularly for homes priced less than $300,000. In an environment of robust demand and shrinking supply, home-price appreciation surged, pressuring housing affordability.
The same factors that defined 2020 will remain relevant in the new year. The housing market will continue to be characterized by strong demand but constrained inventory and substantial price growth. Nevertheless, the Texas Real Estate Research Center expects single-family sales to increase 8.4 percent in 2021. Containment of the coronavirus and government support is essential for a positive economic and housing outlook during ongoing pandemic-related uncertainty.