Jul 19, 2023 - Real Estate

Why Texas' housing supply is locked up

Monthly mortgage payment in San Antonio metro area
Data: Redfin; Chart: Alice Feng/Axios Visuals

Roughly 57% of homeowners with mortgages in Texas had a rate below 4% as of late last year, locking homeowners in place and leaving buyers with fewer homes to choose from, per Redfin data shared with Axios.

Why it matters: Mortgage holders are experiencing the "golden handcuffs" phenomenon, writes Axios' Brianna Crane.

  • They might have a great rate now but likely can't move without spending a lot more cash, says Redfin chief economist Daryl Fairweather.

By the numbers: In the San Antonio metro area, buying a median-priced home in 2021 — $280,000 — at a 3% rate would have cost about $1,348 monthly, per Redfin.

  • At 6.4% — the U.S. average rate in May — a home at the same price would cost an estimated $1,813 per month.

Zoom in: June listings in the San Antonio area are down nearly 23.5% compared with last year, according to Zillow.

  • Meanwhile, pending sales in the region are down 24% year over year, per Zillow.

Zoom out: It's not just a local issue. Nine in 10 U.S. homeowners secured mortgage rates below 6% as of late 2022, per the new Redfin report. Meanwhile, mortgage rates have swung between 6% and 7% nationally in recent months.

Yes, but: Buyers are also exploring adjustable-rate mortgages or buydowns in hopes of a lower monthly payment, Fairweather says.

Reality check: Lower rates could free up some supply, but not enough to meet demand, Fairweather says.

  • New construction isn't keeping up, either. Fairweather predicts it'll take the U.S. a decade to repair its housing shortage.
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