New Single-Family Homes Show Best Increase Since 2006

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New home sales in Texas have continued to climb after dipping in the COVID-19 pandemic’s first months this spring, according to Dallas-based HomeUSA.com.

The good news about the boom in new and existing home sales in Dallas just keeps rolling in. It won’t last forever, of course, but let’s enjoy it while we have it.

Sales of new single-family homes increased for the third consecutive month, rising to their highest level since 2006. Between June and July, sales rose 13.9 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 901,000, according to U.S. Census Bureau data. Also, new home sales were up 36 percent compared to a year ago.

In Texas, new home sales also continued to climb after dipping in the COVID-19 pandemic‘s first months this spring, according to Dallas-based HomesUSA.com.

In the Dallas-Fort Worth area, July new home sales, based on a 12-month moving average, totaled 1,495 compared with 1,453 in June. Those numbers were the highest among the state’s four new-home markets, which also include Houston, Austin, and San Antonio.

Homebuilders also reported a surge in pending sales and fewer Days on Market (102.50 to 102.87) for new homes sold in July.

Further good news for homebuyers: The average new home price fell to $370,209 from $370,483 in June.

Ben Caballero, CEO of HomesUSA.com, listed lower interest rates as one factor for the sales increase. But homeowners are also spending more time in their existing homes because of COVID-19 shelter-in-place mandates, he said.

“They’re working from home, they’re evaluating the home, maybe they’re having to teach their kids at home,” Caballero said. “They’re wondering: Is this the home we really want to have in the next 10 or so years? They’re thinking: ‘Maybe we fix this one up and sell it.’ “

HomesUSA.com aggregates data for its report from the Houston Association of Realtors, North Texas Real Estate Information Systems, San Antonio Board of Realtors and the Austin Board of Realtors Multiple Listing Services.

Nationally, new-home inventory sales fell 1.6 percent in July from June, according to the census report. In addition, the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index stands at its highest reading in the 35-year history of the report.

Caballero said the buying trend might not be sustainable.

“I don’t know how long it’s going to last because the builders’ inventories are dropping significantly,” he said. “And I think that’s going to affect sales.”

Dallas-Area Home Resale Prices Also Rise

The pandemic hasn’t slowed single-family home sales nationwide, including the Dallas area. The latest S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price NSA Index shows that year-over-year Dallas-area home resale prices rose 3.1 percent. Overall asking rents in DFW declined 1.6 percent.

Nationally, the index reported a 4.3 percent annual gain, the same as the previous month.

The index is calculated monthly and a composite of single-family home price indices for the nine U.S. census divisions. Data is culled on properties that have sold at least twice.

The Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) derives data from a composite of 20 metro areas. The Dallas area also comprises Fort Worth and Arlington and 12 North Texas counties.

Other indices are showing higher median-price gains in North Texas, but those numbers aren’t expected to make the Case-Schiller data aggregation until later.

In the Case-Schiller report, year-over-year home prices were higher than a year ago in all 20 major U.S. cities included in the monthly survey. The Phoenix metro area reported the highest price gain at 9 percent. Seattle rose by 6.5 percent. Five of the 19 cities reported higher increases in the year ending June 2020 versus the year ending May 2020.

“Housing prices were stable in June,” said S&P managing director Craig J. Lazzara said in the report. “More data will be required to understand whether the market resumes its previous path of accelerating prices, continues to decelerate or remains stable.”

In the report, Lazzara said it’s important to keep in mind that “deceleration is quite different from an environment in which prices actually fall.”

In month-over-month, the national index posted an increase of 0.2 percent. Dallas had a non-seasonal adjustment of 0.7 percent and a seasonal adjustment of 0.4 percent.

… In Other News

  • Overall apartment occupancy rates in the Dallas-Fort Worth area remained at 91.4 percent, the highest among major Texas metro areas, according to second-quarter figures released by the Texas A&M University Real Estate Center. It’s the first time since the economic downtown of 2007-2009 that the 8.7 actual vacancy rate has surpassed the natural vacancy rate of 8.5 percent. Class A apartments, properties defined as luxury units, had 87.4 percent occupancy rates with asking rents down 0.4 percent.
  • The Fort Worth City Council rejected necessary zoning for an 80-unit apartment complex near the Linwood neighborhood in the cultural district west of downtown. The land sits at the northwest corner of Carroll Street and Azalea Avenue. Saigebrook Development and O-SDA Industries, developers for the Azalea West complex, and the Linwood neighborhood have been at odds about traffic and parking concerns.
  • If you were in the market for a 14,500-acre West Texas ranch to hunt quail, turkey, whitetail deer and waterfowl, cross The Caloosa Ranch off your list. The Aspermont ranch, which is about 200 miles west of Fort Worth, recently sold for $13.2 million. Whitetail Properties Real Estate handled the transaction and the name of the buyer wasn’t disclosed.
  • Admit it. Most of us use Groupon to snag good deals. Now, Groupon is offering a real-estate deal that is unworldly. It’s selling one acre of land for as low as $15. Thing is, the acreage is on Mars. Groupon is offering the discount through Buy Planet Mars. In its latest deal, Groupon will provide a deed, a map showing the location of your purchase and a Mars info eBook. Can you claim your property on one of those SpaceX explorations? The fine print in the ad says the purchase is “for entertainment purposes only.” So, hold off on finding a builder for your Martian single-family home.
  • Last Thursday was the 100th anniversary of Texas REALTORS. In 1956, the Texas Real Estate Association moved into its headquarters at 500 E. 12th St. in Austin. The building was purchased for $47,000, according to a @TXRealtors tweet.

Tommy Cummings

Tommy Cummings covers the North Texas housing market for CandysDirt.com. Tommy moved to Texas from Oklahoma in 1992 and has lived in Mansfield with his wife, Brigitte, and son, Beaumont, since 2002 (after a two-year adventure in California as a tech columnist/editor at the San Francisco Chronicle). Tommy started his media career at newspapers in Oklahoma before becoming an editor in many capacities at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and The Dallas Morning News, where he wrapped up his newsroom career as a digital editor. His work has appeared in news outlets throughout the U.S.

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