Dallas-area home price gains may have reached peak

Dallas-Fort Worth home foreclosure postings down almost 40 percent this year

So far in 2013, Dallas-Fort Worth area home foreclosure filings have dropped almost 40 percent from the first six months of 2012. And the number of homes threatened for forced sale by lenders next month is 43 percent below levels from a year ago. If foreclosure activity continues to drop at current levels, 2013 could see the lowest number of home foreclosure filings in the four-county area in almost a decade. “It’s still not down to historic norms, but it is moving in that direction,” said James Gaines, economist with the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University. Foreclosure filings are dropping faster than normal because many lenders have changed how they deal with mortgage defaults, Gaines said. “The banks are not using foreclosure as the main way to cure the problem,” he said. Before foreclosing on a house, many lenders will offer to modify the home loan or offer the property to new owners through a negotiated short sale. During the first quarter, short sales accounted for almost 1 in 10 U.S. home transactions, the National Association of Realtors estimates. Higher home values have also enabled some homeowners with problem loans to sell their properties. Even with these changes, 2,798 D-FW area homes are posted for June’s foreclosure auctions, according to data from Addison-based Foreclosure Listing Service. The biggest decline in next month’s foreclosure listings is in Collin County, where there are 49 percent fewer postings than for June 2012. Dallas County foreclosure filings are down 45 percent from a year ago. Among the single-family homes scheduled for foreclosure sale, the average original mortgage amount was $161,600, according to Foreclosure Listing Service.
Source: Dallas News

Jean Robb Realtor with The Michael Group

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Dallas-area home price gains may have reached peak

After months of increases, the rate of Dallas-area home price gains shows signs of leveling off, according to the latest Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller Home Price Index. Prices of pre-owned single-family homes in March were up 6.8 percent from a year earlier in the closely watched real estate survey released Tuesday. The March year-over-year price increase for the Dallas area was a tad less than the 7.1 percent in February and the 7 percent increase in January.
Nationwide, prices were 10.9 percent higher than in March 2012, the biggest increase in the index since 2006, according to Case-Shiller. Meanwhile, consumer confidence jumped in May to a reading of 76.2, up from 69 in April, according to a report from the Conference Board, a private research group. The news of rising home prices and increased consumer confidence helped send the Dow Jones industrial average up 106 points to close at a record. Home prices in the Dallas area have been rising on a year-to-year basis for the last 13 months in the index. The annual increases in North Texas are much lower than in many other U.S. markets. Housing analysts say it’s good news that local home prices aren’t getting out of hand. “The really high rate of increase was probably unsustainable over time, and, in fact, you might not want it to be,” said James Gaines, an economist with the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University. “We’re still going to see very good rates of price increases because of the relative under supply of homes offered for sale,” he said. North Texas home inventories are at the lowest point in almost 20 years, and that’s pushing prices higher in many neighborhoods. So far in 2013, the median price of homes sold by real estate agents through their multiple listing service is up 9 percent in the area from a year ago.
In February, the Case-Shiller index reported its largest-ever year-over-year price gain for the Dallas area. “As builders ramp up and more houses are listed, we should see the strong increase in prices slow to a more normal pace,” said D’Ann Petersen, a business economist with the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. “The North Texas housing market remains strong, and prices are still moving in the right direction. “I did expect price appreciation to ease, and it is good that we will likely not see a price bubble here.” Dallas-area home prices are now only about 3 percent below where they were before the recession, according to Case-Shiller’s numbers. Even with recent gains, nationwide prices are still down 28 percent since the start of the housing market crash. But the recent rate of home price increases in most major U.S. markets is higher than in Texas cities. “Home prices in all 20 cities posted annual gains for the third month in a row,” S&P’s David M. Blitzer said in the new Case-Shiller report. “Twelve of the 20 saw prices rise at double-digit annual growth.” The largest increase among the 20 cities Case-Shiller tracks was Phoenix, with a 22.5 percent home price gain from March 2012. San Francisco prices were up 22.2 percent, and Las Vegas had a 20.6 percent rise. Case-Shiller’s index tracks the prices of specific single-family homes in each metropolitan area. The index survey does not include condominiums and townhouses.
Source: Dallas Morning News


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