Austin Housing Market Interest for Second Homes Collapses

The decline of migration to Austin, Texas, has contributed to the plunging of second home purchases in the area, according to real estate platform Redfin.

Mortgages in the city for second homes fell 62.5 percent in 2023, the most across the country, as rising costs of properties and residents who moved into the area during the pandemic migrating back to their places of origin were blamed for the drop.

The trend was part of an overall slowdown in the second home purchasing market, Redfin’s analysis shows. Last year, Americans kickstarted nearly 91,000 mortgages for second, or vacation, properties.

But this was 40 percent lower than the year before and close to two-thirds less than in 2021 when the COVID-inspired housing market boom was at its peak.

The downtown skyline is seen on March 19, 2024, in Austin, Texas. Interest in second home purchases plunged in 2023, according to Redfin.

Brandon Bell/Getty Images

The Context

At the height of the coronavirus pandemic, Americans flocked to Austin, Texas, as they looked for places to live and work as lockdowns allowed for remote work.

“Once the pandemic began, ushering in an era of remote work and record-low mortgage rates, Austin’s popularity boomed: It was the number-one U.S. migration destination in the beginning of 2021,” Redfin said.

But as the pandemic ferocity waned and the country reopened, those out-of-towners migrated back to their original home, and in September, more people left Austin than moved in.

Redfin suggested that this shift has contributed to the waning interest in second home purchases in the Texas city.

“Austin’s housing market slowed substantially across the board last year as the pandemic migration boom waned and housing costs climbed too high for many locals,” Redfin noted on Monday.


The housing market has struggled under the weight of elevated prices and high mortgage rates. These twin forces have depressed activity as prospective homebuyers balk at the potential high monthly mortgage payments they may have to incur if they purchase property under current market conditions.

“Home purchases fell across the board last year due to low inventory, high mortgage rates, and high home prices; 2023 was the least affordable year on record,” Redfin pointed out. “Mortgages for second homes dropped more than mortgages for primary homes.”

In an environment when buying a home is substantially more expensive, acquiring another home has become less urgent.

“Vacation homes aren’t a necessity the way primary homes are, so when housing costs skyrocket, many prospective second-home buyers back off,” according to Redfin.

Austin has suffered the most due to this drop in second-home purchases. Other areas that have seen a substantial slowdown in acquisitions of second homes, includes San Francisco, New York, Seattle and Nashville.

What’s Next

Mortgage rates have been hovering near and around 7 percent over the last few weeks, a reality that is stifling interest in the purchases of vacation homes, according to Redfin.

“An early look at this year’s data shows that demand for second homes hasn’t picked up in 2024,” the real estate platform said. “Mortgage-rate locks for second homes have been sitting near their eight-year low since the beginning of this year.”