(Photo courtesy Flickr)

How much better did the 75243 zip code in Dallas fare in flipping profit than the rest of the nation? How did home sales look for North Texas in August? How are home sales and prices looking across the state?

We’ll answer all that and more in this week’s real estate news roundup. (more…)

Real Estate Story

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It was the last house that Allie Beth Allman Realtor Karen Luter was going to show to Sabra Girard and her husband, but iced-over roads threatened to cut their showing short. It was sleeting outside, and getting home would soon mean a dicey drive. Add the complication of having two children in tow and you have the makings of a disaster.

But, as it turns out, the showing of 6634 Greenwich was anything but.

“The moment we arrived at Greenwich and stepped inside, I turned around to them and announced ‘We have to buy this house!'” Luter said. “I say ‘we’ because the Girards are like family members, the way all my clients become family members. I tell my client that I pretend they are my children and that I always want to help them make the best buying and selling decisions.”

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And it was a great decision, Sabra said, as the home became a soft spot to land after a hard day, a place where great memories were made both inside the 1960s contemporary confines and outside.

But times change, families grow, and the Girards soon found themselves busting at the seams of this lovely ranch in the Gayle Malone subdivision of North Dallas. The decision to sell was a tough one, Sabra said, but working with Luter has made it much easier.

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Homes are flying off the market, often before a sign is put in the yard. Still, Texas metro areas could experience a slower market toward the end of this year.

Homes are flying off the market, often before a sign is put in the yard. Still, Texas metro areas could experience a slower market toward the end of this year.

Corrected figures from the National Association of Realtors show that Dallas home sales have increased 1.82 percent in the first quarter of 2015 while median price grew 11.99 percent.

Statewide figures show a strong start to 2015 for Texas home sales, with a year-over-year increase of 4.16 percent. Inventory is still an issue, with available homes dropping to an all-time-low of just 3.1 months, which is less than half the supply required for a balanced housing market. That’s a precipitous 8.82 percent decline from the first quarter of 2014. More detailed figures are available through the Texas Association of Realtors.

“Homes are being built as quickly as possible, yet most are not in the price range where inventory is needed most – the entry-level market,” explained economist Jim Gaines of the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University. “Interest rates are still low, but tight lending standards, rising home prices, and slim inventory have created a tough market for first-time homebuyers.”

It sounds like a good problem to have, right?

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Home prices in North Texas are up year-over-year, though sales volume is sluggish.

Home prices in North Texas are up year-over-year, though sales volume is sluggish.

Word comes that for the month of August, Dallas-area home prices posted a fantastic little bump at 7.3 percent year-over-year. Case-Shiller’s Home Price Index report shows enough of an increase in prices to warrant continued optimism among sellers in our burg, where a shortage of inventory and slow-to-catch-up new home builders has made the market for homes in most price ranges very competitive.

That’s one of the highest increases nationwide, and over the national average, too, which is 5.5 percent. According to the report, the median price of a pre-owned, single-family home in North Texas in August is up 7 percent from the same period last year.

But according to a recent report from the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University, total sales are down 2 percent over a year ago. Of course, as sales volume decreases, it’s only natural for the competition over those homes on the market to heat up.

I guess, though, we’re in a fortuitous spot considering that our price increase puts us at 12 percent higher than pre-recession levels, and with inventory as short as it is and job growth still on pace for expansion, there’s no bubble in sight.

What’s your outlook on home prices and inventory?

Home For Sale Sign Dallas

The recent report from the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University shows a 2 percent dip in sales at the close of August from a year ago. That’s keeping with this year’s trends of higher prices and lower sales volume, as five of the last 8 months of 2014 have posted lower sales from the previous year.

“The agents tell me they could sell many more houses if they just had the inventory,” Real Estate Center economist Dr. James Gaines told Steve Brown at the Dallas Morning News. According to Brown’s August figures, the median home sales price in North Texas is up 8 percent from a year ago, with prices up 7 percent over the first 8 months of last year. Of course, with higher prices, that means fewer homebuyers overall who are able to afford a mortgage.

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Inventory Chart TAR q1 2014

Slow growing inventory is choking sales growth and driving prices up in the Dallas real estate market, with only 2.4 months of inventory in the Dallas market — an increase of 0.2 months from last quarter — according to the latest quarterly report from the Texas Association of Realtors and the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University.

As a result the median home price in Dallas is up 9.81 percent from the first quarter of 2014, an increase of 6.81 percent from the same time a year ago and the second consecutive quarter our city has seen an increase in home prices. Statewide, inventory grew for the first time in three years, up to 3.6 in the second quarter of 2014 from an all-time low of 3.4 months in the first quarter of this year. Still, inventory is tighter than a pair of skinny jeans after Thanksgiving and continues to pose problems for our market.

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(Graphic: Courtesy of CoreLogic)

(Graphic: Courtesy of CoreLogic)

Lots of conflicting reports are circulating lately, some of them say our region’s real estate market, along with the U.S. at large, is poised for unprecedented growth in prices. Others claim that relying on the real estate market to support our nation’s financial comeback is a huge mistake.

CoreLogic’s most recent HPI shows a 10.4 percent year-over-year increase in Dallas-area home prices, with national figures coming in at 10.5 percent year-over-year. The April 2014 HPI report shows Dallas among eight other U.S. metros that posted double-digit growth over the previous year ending in April, with Riverside, Calif., posting a gargantuan 19.7 percent increase in first, Houston coming in third at 14.7 percent YOY, and Dallas coming in seventh.

“Home prices are continuing to rise as we head into the summer months,” said Anand Nallathambi, president and CEO of CoreLogic, in a June 3 press release. “The purchase market continues to suffer from a dearth of inventory which we expect will continue to drive prices up over the year.”

But is that necessarily a good thing? Is our new normal a shortage of available housing in key sectors? And how do we stave off another recession?

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