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Opinion
Jonathan Levin

Think Homeowners Will Stay Put? Austin Suggests Otherwise

The “lock-in effect” is supposed to forestall a drop in US housing prices. The Texas capital shows it's not so ironclad.

Homeowners and investors are trying to time the top of the market in Austin, Texas.

Homeowners and investors are trying to time the top of the market in Austin, Texas.

Photographer: Jordan Vonderhaar/Bloomberg

Mortgage rates have nearly tripled and housing affordability has plummeted, but US home prices aren’t really supposed to fall much — at least according to the prevailing narrative. As few buyers as there are, there are too few sellers to drag prices much lower, the optimists say.

Austin, Texas, seems to disagree.