rentsRents in Dallas were flat last month, five North Texas cities made it to the top of a list of best real estate markets, and the National Association of Realtors provides a summary of the July housing market conditions, all in this week’s roundup of real estate news.

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home salesHow did Dallas do when it comes to home sales compared to the nation? Are we starting to see more inventory? Where are various generations choosing to live in Dallas-Fort Worth? We have all of that in this week’s roundup of real estate news.

DALLAS HOME SALES DECLINE IN OCTOBER

The number of homes sold across the country fell in October, including in Dallas, Redfin reported.

In Dallas, the median sales price in October was $280,000, down 2.8 percent from September, but overall unchanged year over year. Homes sold was down 3.3 percent in October to 4,630, and down 8.7 percent year over year. New listings were down .3 percent in October to 6,140, but up by almost 3 percent year over year. (more…)

rents

(Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

There may be a lot of apartments being built in Texas, but that’s not necessarily translating to more affordable rents, one economist said at a recent conference on affordable housing held at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.

Greg Willett, chief economist at RealPage, told the group assembled that the same affordable housing issues that have begun to block families from purchasing homes have begun to crop up in the rental sector as well.

“We are starting to see the same affordability challenges in rental housing,” he said, adding that this issue is occurring despite a boom in apartment completions across the country. (more…)

Jeremy Woodhouse/Getty Images

Jeremy Woodhouse/Getty Images

Those of us who own rental properties can get ready to fatten our checkbooks: rents are going up in Dallas, by 5%. According to an MSN Real Estate Report, at the end of 2012 the average rent paid in Dallas was $802. I honestly do not know of anyone with rent this low, do you? Rents in Dallas increased 3.9% from 2011, the vacancy rate was only a bit over 5%, and rents are forecast to increase 5% by the end of this year. What might make those rents go up? Scarcity of product. It won’t be scarce for long: an apartment boom has about 20,000 units currently going vertical in Big D, vacancies are down, and demand is up. Dallas is one of ten cities where rents are projected to be on the increase. 

Me, I’d rather just buy: the median price for a single-family home in the metropolitan area, which includes Fort Worth and Arlington, was $157,200 at the end of 2012, according to NAR and as reported by MSN Real Estate. When you have landlords like me who will raise rent at a headline glance, I’d rather have a 30 year fixed mortgage on my secure nest egg of a house. Agree?

 

What’s a better indicator of a healthy rental market than higher prices for in-demand properties?

In the Dallas-Plano-Irving area, rents are on their way up to the tune of 19 percent over 3 years, according to the folks at Local Market Monitor. The real estate market analysis shows a period of slow growth during 2010, with 2011 and 2012 being largely flat. And then bam — the report says rents will skyrocket. It’ll be harder to find a good apartment, too, as vacancies are projected to get awfully low.

That’s a stark difference from what the report projects for residential sales. While growth is on the horizon, prices won’t increase at nearly the rate that rents are projected to rise.

My interpretation (full disclaimer: I am no expert!) is that it’s a good time to buy if you’re a first-time homebuyer and eligible for a tax credit. You can find a place of your own to build some equity and get out of your rental before prices get too steep!

What do you think?

With high occupancy rates and increasing rents, it's a good time to be a landlord.

Looks like developers are working hard to keep up with demand as new apartment high- and mid-rises are going up across the region.

StreetLights Residential, a boutique development company, is building its first high-rise dubbed The Taylor, set to open in 2014. The uptown apartment building, which has rents in the $1,000-and-up range, is just one of the many rental properties planned, in construction, or opening soon.

And according to a study from Axiometrics, average rents are on the rise, too. For Dallas, occupancy is tight at a little more than 94 percent, and average rents are at $879, which is a 12.7 percent increase over 2009. To get a taste of the upscale rental market, check out the Oak Lawn area: rents have increased 19 percent since 2009, with average rents at more than $1,500.

So, are we becoming a nation of renters? And, is that a bad thing?

As Candy mentioned, restrictive lending practices and tight-fisted banks despite historically low interest rates. So, more mortgage restrictions means fewer homeowners means more renters, right?

This story from MarketWatch says increased rental occupancy and prices can really be traced to the slow recovery from the recession and high unemployment:

The unemployment rate remains stubbornly high at 8.2%, and incomes have stagnated. Fewer Americans can afford to buy a home or qualify for a mortgage, especially given tighter lending standards. As a result, home ownership declined again. It fell to 65.4% from 66% in the fourth quarter, putting it at the lowest level since 1996.

Well, what do you think? Is it a renter’s market? And is that a bad thing in our economy?