Photo courtesy Brian Dooley via Creative Commons

Photo courtesy Brian Dooley via Creative Commons

Strong economic factors, job gains, and population increases have experts predicting strong growth in North Texas home prices in 2015, and a 35 percent increase in home prices over the next three years in the Dallas-Plano-Irving areas.

Local Market Monitor, Inc. released its December 2014 local market reports for North Texas, looking at factors like jobs, migration, housing permits, local market risk premium, and average home prices. Based on those analytics, they say home prices will likely grow 11 percent in the eastern counties of North Texas and 8 percent in the western counties over the next 12 months. Nationally, prices are forecast to increase by 6.3 percent.

They’ve extended their forecast two and three years, as well. In the eastern DFW counties, home values are predicted to increase 11 percent in 2016 and 10 percent in 2017.

In the western counties, home values are expected to increase 8 percent in both 2016 and 2017. The report predicts home prices to increase 25 percent over the next three years, noting that market is currently underpriced 17 percent relative to income.

County level forecast for Home Values

These reports echo the sentiments of local realtors and real estate experts, who have been crowing about strong North Texas job growth, more buyer and seller confidence, continued low interest rates, and investor demand. Jump to read more!

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Clear Capital, a California-based housing and finance analyst, says we can be downright proud of our market: Dallas-Fort Worth home prices will rise by another 1 percent during the next six months.

The good news: more markets are improving than not, should sustain the slow winter and come out with a roar come spring. In fact, Clear Capital says home prices are increasing in most major U.S. markets.

The Dallas forecast — the whole area — is a little less than a 3 percent gain seen in some other markets. But I never fret about this for several reasons:

One, real estate is such a local story it isn’t even funny. Values can differ on the same street! Our Park Cities and Preston Hollow markets are sizzling — talked to Dave Perry Miller this morning, he sold a Dilbeck on Strait Lane before it even came on the market. I’m having lunch with Brian Hagan, so stay tuned.

Clear Capital figures D/FW home prices have risen just over 2 percent in the last year, which is less than a nationwide average of 4.74 percent.

But if you look at Phoenix, where home prices are up 27.7 percent, you are not talking apples to apples. Phoenix prices more than plunged — I mean they were in the gutter! — and many homeowners are still underwater out there. Poor Providence and Atlanta — Rhode Island’s capital is down by 5.2 percent, and Atlanta is down 1.2%. Reason? No jobs.

Still, if you bought low in Phoenix, this may be a good time to sell. Which brings me to my next point: don’t get all giddy and break open the Veuve Cliquot just yet. One of the reasons our markets are doing so well is tightness from the banks and a piddly inventory. What’s going to happen? As news like this comes out, more folks will pop their homes on the market and inventory will puff up — once again tempering prices.

What about low mortgage rates, surely those are helping? Economists at Capital Economics even envision a possible decline to 3.3 percent, which could bring out even more home buyers. Still, these guys say “the bottom line is that housing is unlikely to become a significant driver of GDP growth.”

Why not? Housing makes up too small a portion of GDP to have a major impact. Residential real estate investment made up only 2.4 percent of GDP in the second quarter of this year. That’s just half the long-term average, and well below the 6.3 percent peak recorded at the end of 2005. I mean, people will invest in modest homes, if they can obtain financing. But most of the sales volume is coming from the affluent communities.

“The cumulative effect of the past five consecutive quarters of residential investment growth has been a 0.2 percentage point rise in annualized GDP growth.”

And then there’s the big fat elephant in the room, unemployment above 8 percent. Middle class folks cannot buy homes without jobs, steady jobs. The banks right now don’t like the self-employed.

Don’t get me wrong — I’m happy everyone’s happy and homes are moving at long last. Moving vans are happy, Realtors are happy, even the Home Depot is happy because no one spends money quite like a family who has just moved into a new home.

But keep the good champagne on ice until we see job growth and a serious dip in the unemployment rate.