Report shows record-breaking housing activity

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By SHELLY WILKISON

School district officials say 2014 was a record-breaking year for growth in Liberty Hill’s housing market, and projected annual increase in enrollment of 7.5 percent, which translates to a possible enrollment of 6,429 students by 2024.

Superintendent Rob Hart informed school trustees Monday that a report on the school district’s demographics for 2014 showed the largest number of home starts and closings ever in the fourth quarter with 90 and 62, respectively.

Hart said 2014 was a record year for starts with 311, and closings reached a record high of 201. Developers delivered more than 460 new lots in 2014.

The District Housing Activity Report is produced quarterly for LHISD by School District Strategies. Liberty Hill administrators use the data to plan for future growth and facilities.

Hart said Liberty Hill ISD is quickly becoming the preferred destination for families. With the Austin area’s low unemployment rate and improved access to jobs in the city through tollways and mass transit, he expects the upward trend to continue. Demographers predict school enrollment to grow by an average 7.5 percent annually through 2024.

“Statistics show 100 people a day are moving into the Austin area,” Hart said. “Texas leads the nation in job growth.”

While the report shows Leander ISD continuing to be the leader in the Austin area for new home starts and closings, Liberty Hill was ranked number 12 behind Hays Consolidated (#2), Austin (#3), Round Rock (#4), Georgetown (#5), Lake Travis (#6), Pflugerville (#7), Manor (#8), Hutto (#9), Dripping Springs (#10) and Del Valle (#11).

The median price for a home in the Liberty Hill ISD increased in 2014 to $292,038 — up 3.5 percent over 2013. Most of the new homes being built range in price from $251,000 to $500,000. The Greater Austin median new home price is $268,420.

“Lot delivery is key,” Hart said. The research shows 895 fully developed vacant lots on the ground — a 34-month supply. Hart said it’s the lowest supply since 2007, which indicates “a lot of activity.”

At Rancho Sienna, which is the top-selling subdivision in the school district, 109 new lots were delivered in the fourth quarter alone, and 203 more are under development now.

Santa Rita Ranch South have 107 lots under development. Santa Rita South was ranked third among top-selling subdivisions.

The report shows 9,600 total future residential lots planned for the school district.

Researchers say the district will average almost 300 new homes per year over the next three years, and the typical new home yields 0.7 new students, which could mean 650 new students over the next three years due to new home construction.

Additionally, 100 units at Liberty Trails Townhomes come online later this spring.

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