April home sale increase in Dallas-Fort Worth area is second-largest in 15 years
Median single-family home sales prices sold through the MLS in North Texas hit a record high of $176,000 last month. Home sale prices in North Texas are now about 10 percent higher than they were at the peak of the market before the recession.
North Texas’ housing market took off like a rocket in April with a 30 percent jump in sales.
The year-over-year growth in pre-owned single-family home purchases is the second-largest the area has seen since 1998.
And the 14 percent price rise from April 2012 is one of the biggest percentage gains in residential value on record for the area.
The only time that home sales have grown faster was in November 2009, when sales rose 31 percent because of government tax incentives.
“It is a much bigger increase than I anticipated,” said Dr. James Gaines, an economist with the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University. “If someone asked me a few months ago if we would see those numbers, I would have said that it wasn’t likely.”
Gaines said more increases could be ahead.
“May, June and July are generally our peak months,” he said. “It’s going to be very interesting to see how this turns out.”
Real estate agents sold 8,288 houses in North Texas last month — the largest monthly total since mid-2007 before the recession began, according to the Real Estate Center and the North Texas Real Estate Information Systems.
And median single-family home sales prices sold through the MLS hit a record high of $176,000 last month. Home sale prices in North Texas are now about 10 percent higher than they were at the peak of the market before the recession, according to the Realtors’ numbers.
“These home price numbers are not normal for us,” said D’Ann Petersen, an economist with the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. “I would expect that as more supply comes on line, we will see home price increases come back to more normal levels.
“I would be surprised if we continue to grow at this pace, but in the short term we may continue to see these increases,” she said.
While the number of houses for sale in North Texas in April was down by more than 20 percent from last spring, a bump up in new listings could mean that the imbalance between buyer demand and the record low number of homes on the market could ease in the months ahead.
There is currently a 3.3-month supply of homes on the market in the region — the lowest inventory in almost 20 years.
“April typically is a month when people are making the decision to get their house on the market and move in the summer,” said Rich Thomas, executive director of the MetroTex Association of Realtors. “There has been some excitement generated by all this information about housing sales being up and prices increasing.
“Hopefully we will see the number of listings grow over the next few months.”
On average it took just 60 days to sell a house in the more than two dozen North Texas counties included in the Realtors’ monthly survey.
Pending sales — homes under contract for purchase but not yet closed — were up 20 percent from April 2012, which indicates the strong market will continue.
Gaines said that the home inventory numbers are likely to rise this summer, which could give buyers hoping to take advantage of low mortgage rates a bigger housing selection to pick from.
“People are seeing these price increases and saying now is the time to sell,” he said. “Relative to the national level, we still have a low median home price and our incomes have kept up.”
The double-digit increases in home sales and prices will give the North Texas economy a boost, Petersen said.
“It’s not just the housing sector that benefits, but related manufacturing and service industries,” she said. “It’s a very important part of our economy.
“You can see in the strong increases in home sales that there is a lot of renewed confidence in the housing market and the economy in general.”
Source: Dallas Morning News