Here’s what you are going to hear on the national news: housing prices are reaching new lows, and foreclosures are on their way back up. Dr. James Gaines told us as much at the Home Builder’s Association presentation last week. But don’t down the Glen Livet: Texas foreclosures are not as bad as the rest of the U.S. foreclosures, and our real estate market is still a shining star. (Note: I tried to embed the RealtyTrac foreclosure map, above, but it wouldn’t stick. Here’s a link to the site.) Still, I’m not going to paint you any pretty pictures when there are none: prices are really coming down and when I said to one expert over the weekend, gee, can they get any lower?, he said to me, “yes, you ain’t seen nothing yet.”
Was up in Illinois a couple weeks ago — sales are up over 19%, but prices are down as is inventory.
Austin metro area home prices fell by 2.3 percent in the past year, but are expected to rise by 0.3 percent by the summer of 2012, according to the Fiserv Inc. That means Austin prices will be down by just 2%. And in Arizona, you have to wonder when they are going to start GIVING homes away. Phoenix home prices are expected to drop 10 percent next year, though I hear many second home buyers are swooping in and taking advantage of the lower pricing. The most affordable cities to buy homes in right now are places like Grand Rapids, Mich.; Memphis, Tenn.; Youngstown, Ohio; Warren, Michigan and Detroit. But few of us would buy there for fear that we have not bottomed out. I’d rather live in the most expensive cities for real estate: New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Orange County and Honolulu.
As far as D/FW foreclosures, you will see a tapering until after the New Year. But foreclosures will remain higher than most of us have ever known for quite some time. Foreclosures, like flat, is the new normal. (Maybe even breast implants will dwindle in popularity?) Most distressed sales are in subdivisions: from Jan to Sept. 2011 there was a 325% increase in foreclosure activity in the D/FW Metro area from 2000, but a 698% increase in Collin County foreclosure activity for the same period.
What I’m hearing inside the Loop is that with Sellers ever more realistic, homes are selling and Dallas inventory is very low. Brokers are predicting a very good spring, and that is one pretty picture I sure hope to paint.