D-FW home starts up 32% and pre-owned sales rise 12% at mid-year ~ Dallas-area housing market hits an all-time high in first half of 2013

The Dallas-Fort Worth area’s hot housing market is kicking off the summer with big gains. North Texas home starts rose by almost a third in the second quarter as builders hustled to keep up with buyer demand. And sales of pre-owned homes were 12 percent higher in June than a year earlier. Dallas-Fort Worth homebuilders started almost 6,000 homes in the second quarter — the highest quarterly homebuilding total in this area in five years, according to a new report from Metrostudy Inc. Home starts in North Texas have been steadily rising since 2011. “I think we are still in the early stages of a recovery,” said David Brown, regional director of Metrostudy’s Dallas-Fort Worth office. “We’re still at almost 60 percent below where we were building at the peak,” before the recession. Brown said he anticipates that builders will start about 22,000 houses in the D-FW area this year, compared with fewer than 18,000 starts in 2012. Local builders sold 5,147 houses in the three months ending with June — a 25 percent increase from second quarter 2012. “Homebuilders continued to report strong year-over-year gains in net sales during the quarter,” Brown said. Dallas builder Miles Durham is busy starting houses in several northeast Dallas locations. He’s just begun work on the first of seven homes on Fisher Road near Lakewood.“I feel very good about the market, and product is moving quickly,” Durham said Monday. “Builders are having more success in getting funding and capital.” The supply of new homes available for purchase is still at rock-bottom levels. Dallas-based Residential Strategies said in a new report that at the end of the second quarter there were only 2,653 finished, vacant houses available in the D-FW area.“Despite the renewed demand for new homes, many builders remain somewhat constrained by construction capacity,” said Residential Strategies principal Ted Wilson. “Shortages of skilled construction labor, subcontractors and certain construction products persist in the market and have curtailed construction activity.” Builders are also having a tough time finding ready, affordable home construction sites. Wilson said that recent increases in home finance costs so far aren’t enough to affect the housing market. “Yes, while mortgage rates have gone up — and it’s too bad if you missed the bottom of the market — they are still extremely attractive,” he said. “It has certainly been a very strong spring market. “There is probably more demand out there than builders can satisfy.” The supply of pre-owned houses for sale in the D-FW area also continues to be tight. The number of North Texas houses listed for sale with real estate agents was down 19 percent last month from June 2012, according to the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University and North Texas Real Estate Information Systems. There is just over a three-month supply of homes listed for sale with real estate agents in the more than 50-county area. With the latest gains, pre-owned home sales in the region are up 19 percent in the first half of 2013 compared with year-ago levels. Real estate agents in June sold 8,708 pre-owned single-family homes in North Texas. Median pre-owned home sales prices in June rose 13 percent to a record $185,820. So far in 2013, median home sales prices in North Texas are 10 percent higher than the first half of 2012.

Dallas-area housing market hits an all-time high in first half of 2013

With Dallas-area home prices in many neighborhoods up by 10 percent or more so far this year, 2013 is shaping up to be one of the best years for the local housing market in decades. Local pre-owned home sales in the first half of this year are running more than 20 percent higher than in the same period of 2012. They’ve set a North Texas sales record for a six-month period. Some Dallas-area residential districts are experiencing the largest home price gains this area has seen since the 1980s. Housing analysts and real estate agents predict that North Texas home sales and prices will continue to rise during the rest of this year, even with the recent increases in mortgage costs. Concerns about the home market getting overheated are overblown, they say. “The increase of sales we are seeing is a pure function of economics,” said Ted Jones, chief economist for Stewart Title Co. “This is not false hopes. “It’s all about the jobs.”With the Dallas-Fort Worth area among the top five employment growth centers in the country, Jones said, it’s only natural that demand for housing is so strong. “In the last 12 months, the D-FW area created 104,600 net new jobs — that’s a lot of jobs,” Jones said. “In that same period, the total residential permits issued in this area were 34,720. “We could have built twice as many homes and apartments and not overbuilt this market.” A shortage of homes on the market is driving big price increases in many neighborhoods. At midyear, some neighborhoods including Far North Dallas, Coppell, Richardson and Grapevine had less than a 11/2-month supply of homes listed for sale with real estate agents, according to data from the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University and North Texas Real Estate Information Systems. A six-month housing inventory is considered a balanced market. Real estate agents say competition is still fierce for prime properties. “You write offers on five different houses and pray one gets accepted,” said Scott Schueler, an agent with Keller Williams Realty. “We have frustrated buyers and really happy sellers.” So far the increases in both home costs and higher interest rates haven’t dampened demand. “Texas enjoys a comparative housing advantage to other high-growth states,” said James Gaines, an economist with the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University. “Prices here are significantly below those in other states that people are now leaving.” But for the Dallas-area, home prices have never been this high. The median pre-owned sales price is now close to $186,000. While no one expects any kind of a downturn, most economists predict that housing activity in North Texas and across the country will moderate in 2014. “My short-term outlook is for more of the same,” Jones said. “But I expect that housing values may not go up as much next year as in 2013. “Supply and demand says values are going to rise.”

Information from Metrotex Board of Realtors!

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