Friday, February 13, 2015

North Texas home prices jumped 12 percent in January

North Texas’ home market started the new year with another big jump in prices.

Median home sales prices rose 12 percent last month from a year ago.

That continues the much-higher-than-normal home price increases that have dominated the local residential market for months. Typically home values in North Texas grow by 3 to 5 percent a year.

Prices were up 7 percent for all of 2014 compared with 2013 levels, according to data from the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University and the North Texas Real Estate Information Systems.

Dallas housing analyst Ted Wilson with Residential Strategies Inc. said the “lack of balance between supply and demand continues to add upward price pressure on houses.”

“And there does not appear to be any near-term changes in this condition,” he said.

January sales of preowned single-family homes were 3 percent higher than a year earlier, with 4,852 homes sold by real estate agents through their multiple listing service.

The number of homes listed for sale in North Texas fell to 16,358 last month — the lowest total in more than a decade. The area had only a 2.2-month supply of houses for sale.

“Housing inventory levels have been running at a level that is about one-third of the amount considered to be theoretical equilibrium,” Wilson said.

Some real estate analysts have predicted a slower Texas housing market this year because of the decline in oil and gas industry employment and forecasts of slower economic growth for the state.

But so far there’s no sign that the Dallas-Fort Worth home market is cooling.

“If sales and activity start to fall off from lower oil prices — a possibility, although generally not felt to be as significant in D-FW as in other markets — then it might give the market a chance to get back into better balance between demand and supply,” said Dr. James Gaines, an economist with the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M.

Last year, sales of preowned homes in North Texas rose only 1 percent from 2013 levels. Analysts said the lack of housing inventory depressed purchases in the area.

On average, it takes only about 60 days to sell a house in the more than two dozen North Texas counties included in the monthly housing survey.

Steve Brown, The Dallas Morning News