Saturday, January 10, 2009

New report shows rise in Dallas-area home prices

A new housing report shows that the Dallas area is one of the few large metropolitan areas in the country where home prices haven't fallen this year.

Four of Texas' biggest metro areas had slight price increases at the end of October compared with a year ago, the study released Monday by First American CoreLogic said. That put them in the top four spots among 30 metropolitan areas nationwide.

Overall home prices in the Dallas area were up 2.4 percent for the year, while the nationwide price index fell more than 10 percent.

Other recent studies have said that North Texas home prices fell between 2 percent and 4 percent in the last year. It's not uncommon for these surveys to disagree.

Dallas housing analyst Ted Wilson said that the home price numbers all "depend on what statistics you look at" and that small changes are a "nonevent."

"Compare that to other parts of the country where prices are dropping 25 and 30 percent," Mr. Wilson said. "Thank goodness we don't have that in Dallas.

"Our inventory levels are much lower than in other areas, and that's what drives the price discounting."

The Dallas area was behind Austin and Houston in the ranking of price increases in more than 30 large markets. Austin had the biggest increase, at 5.26 percent.

First American CoreLogic's report is based on an index that tracks sales prices for the same homes over time.

Analysts are hoping the worst of the U.S. home price declines are behind us.

"The rapid contraction in the economy, deteriorating labor markets, the large inventory of unsold homes and increasing defaults suggest that home prices will continue to decline but with a moderating pace throughout 2009," said Mark Fleming, chief economist for First American CoreLogic.

HOME PRICE INDEX
Annual change in home prices for each major market in October vs. a year earlier:
BIGGEST DECLINES
Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, Calif. -28.79%
Oakland-Fremont-Hayward, Calif. -28.55%
Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall, Fla. -27.34%
Las Vegas-Paradise, Nev. -26.56%
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, Calif. -26.48%
GAINS
San Antonio 1.39%
Dallas-Plano-Irving 2.43%
Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown 4.43%
Austin-Round Rock 5.26%
SOURCE: First American CoreLogic
By STEVE BROWN