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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Photo courtesy Charleston's TheDigitel via Creative Commons

Photo courtesy Charleston’s TheDigitel via Creative Commons

DFW rents were 6.2 higher last year, averaging $919 per month, but demand still soared, with North Texas leading the nation in apartment rentals, and vacancies at a 13-year low, according to new real estate research from Zillow and MPF Research.

The increased rent translated to an extra $600 million paid to landlords last year, Zillow reported. For North Texans, that meant a median increase of $35 a month, higher than the nationwide rate of $26.

Rising rents are nothing new, said Zillow Chief Economist Stan Humphries.

“Over the past 14 years, rents have grown at twice the pace of income due to weak income growth, burgeoning rental demand, and insufficient growth in the supply of rental housing,” he said. “This has created real opportunities for rental housing owners and investors, but has also been a bitter pill to swallow for tenants, particularly those on an entry-level salary and those would-be buyers struggling to save for a down payment on a home of their own.”

For 2015, expect more of the same.

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downtown fort worth at sunset, texas

Trulia’s Chief Economist, Jed Kolko, isn’t necessarily infalliable, but he does have an interesting perspective more often than not. His views on the broader economy are often spot-on, though, which really puzzles me on his recent forecast for 2014 that says increases in home values will slow next year, and that many of the markets posting big increases in 2013 will grow stale.

But don’t write off North Texas entirely, as Fort Worth made Kolko’s list of places to watch for 2014. Why didn’t Dallas, Austin, Houston, or even San Antonio make the list, but Tulsa, Okla., does? Kolko explains (emphasis added):

Why are so many of the high-profile markets of 2013 missing from our list? We ruled out markets that were more than a little overvalued according to our latestBubble Watch, which eliminated most metros in Texas and coastal California. We also struck markets with a large foreclosure inventory (thanks for the data, RealtyTrac), like most of Florida. Our 10 markets to watch, therefore, should have strong activity in 2014 with few headwinds.

Interesting… I don’t know if many sellers in Dallas would consider the market overvalued, but considering what’s for sale and how brisk the market is moving, I’d say the increases in overall value would be more of a correction from being previously undervalued.

Still, Kolko had a list of trends to watch that rings true with what we’ve been saying for the past few months. Chief among them is that buying a house will become more and more unaffordable for Americans. Kolko also prognosticated that the home-buying process would become “less frenzied,” that 2013 will be the year of the repeat homebuyer, and how much prices slow will be more important than when they slow and where. Finally, Kolko says that renters will turn more to urban apartments than any other option — good news for the people who’ve constructed all those swanky buildings in Uptown and converted buildings in the downtown area.

Agree? Disagree? Sound off in the comments!