Sold and Sales Pending signs 002This is one of the reasons why agents are risking the wrath of MLS and advertising properties before they even come on the market: lack of inventory. Dallas-Fort Worth builders are working their butts off to build, but still the finished inventory of vacant homes in North Texas is at a 20-year low. All that is pushing lot prices up up and away.

“The low lot inventory is continuing to push lot prices in the high demand locations,” said David Brown, regional director of Metrostudy, now a Hanley Wood company that analyzes real estate 24/7. Metrostudy released its third-quarter housing report for 2013 on Wednesday.

If we don’t see more lot deliveries in the top submarkets this quarter and first half of next year,  housing starts may slow due to supply constraints, he says.

This year, builders are expected to build the most new home starts since 2007 and the depths of the Recession: 22,000 new homes. I know the Dallas Builders Association is revved up.

But even though DFW builders started 19 percent more homes in the third quarter of 2013 (compared with 2012), there is still 5 percent less inventory in North Texas, according to Metrostudy.

That’s because people are still moving into the area like crazy, ditching homes in other parts of the country. Down in Austin, sources tell me Californians are killing that market by shedding pricey homes in Cali and paying full price cash for homes they snap up in Travis County. To a lesser extent, that is happening in Dallas. There is only a 1.5-month supply of homes in North Texas, 6 months is the usual norm.

I know what you are thinking, and Brown confirmed it: this lack of inventory will likely lead to higher prices for homes into next year’s spring selling season.