Friday, February 15, 2008

Dallas-Fort Worth home prices rose 0.5% in 4th quarter

ORLANDO, Fla. – The Dallas-Fort Worth area continued to eke out slight gains in home prices in the fourth quarter, according to the latest nationwide survey
More than half of the country's home markets saw price declines in the final months of 2007.
Nationwide, prices fell 5.8 percent, the biggest quarterly drop on record, the National Association of Realtors said Thursday.
But in the D-FW area, median prices for home resales rose 0.5 percent, compared with the fourth quarter of 2006, according to the Realtors' benchmark quarterly report.
"Dallas-Fort Worth generally parallels the national scene more than any other Texas metropolitan area," said Dr. James Gaines, an economist with Texas A&M University's Real Estate Center.
"But even flat prices are better than 5 or 6 percent declines."
All but one of the Texas cities surveyed by the real estate group – Beaumont – had higher sales prices.
More than a dozen U.S. cities suffered double-digit home price declines in late 2007.
"Most of the weakest markets have either experienced both job and population losses, or they are experiencing corrections following a prolonged period of rapid price growth," Realtors economist Lawrence Yun said.
The biggest drops were in Lansing, Mich., down 18.8 percent; Sacramento, Calif., down 18.5 percent; and Riverside, Calif., down 16.8 percent.
The greatest price gains were in Maryland and Washington state.
In Texas, fourth-quarter home prices rose the most in San Antonio – up 7.9 percent – and Austin, which was 6.4 percent higher.
Even with D-FW's fourth-quarter year-over-year gain, prices in the area were off about 7 percent from the peak earlier in 2007.
For the first time, the Realtors survey breaks out condominiums as a separate price comparison.
D-FW condo sales prices were up 4.9 percent, compared with flat prices nationwide, the report said.
Most economists are forecasting continued erosion in nationwide home price this year.
"It's going to be a tough year to get through – further declines," said Frank Nothaft, chief economist with mortgage giant Freddie Mac. By Steve Brown, DMN