The numbers: Sales of new homes in the U.S. fell in April for the fourth month in a row to the lowest level since the pandemic owing to high prices and soaring mortgage rates.
New sales slowed to a 591,000 annual rate from 709,000 in the prior month, the government said Tuesday. That's how many homes would change hands in a full year if the number of sales were the same in every month as they were in April.
Big picture: The red-hot housing market was bound to cool off after mortgage rates jumped from just 2.75% in the fall for a 30-year fixed to more than 5.25% in mid-May. Low mortgage rates had made it easier for buyers to purchase a home despite record prices. Builders, for their part, still aren't producing enough homes to meet demand. High material costs, supply and labor shortages and lack of cheap lots are among the constraints holding back construction. A slower housing market is also likely to weigh on the broader economy. When people buy homes, they also need to buy lots of stuff to furnish it.
Key details: Sales fell in all four major regions of the country, but the largest decline occurred in the South, where about half of all new homes are built. Sales sank 20% in the South.
reverse the upsurge in prices over the past few years.
Dallas-Fort Worth saw the largest spike in home sales prices in the nation, according to a new study, with home prices up 39.5% over last year. The jump brought the current median home sales price in DFW to $362,782 in April, according to the latest Re/Max National Housing Report.
Todd Luong, a real estate agent with RE/MAX DFW Associates, called the increase "astonishing." Breaking it down in some of the popular suburbs north of DFW shows Frisco increased 36.6% over one year ago, McKinney rose 34.2%, and Little Elm climbed 33.9% over one year ago, Luong said. Luong said that population and job growth are pushing home prices higher across North Texas. "Corporate relocations have been the primary driver for all this," he said in an email. "During these past 10 years, office space in Dallas-Fort Worth has increased by over 55 million square feet, and only New York City has had more office space growth. "During the same 10 years, industrial space in Dallas-Fort Worth grew by 230 million square feet. All this growth means more jobs, and more jobs mean more people are moving here."
The high price growth affects longtime homeowners and current and recent home buyers and sellers, Luong noted. He said that appraisal districts have increased 2022 market values significantly across North Texas. On average, he said that home appraisals across Dallas County are up 25% compared to previous years. "I have never had so many people asking me for help with protesting their property taxes than this year," Luong said. "I hope there can be property tax relief for homeowners in the future. Otherwise, some people may not be able to afford to live in their current neighborhood anymore. I have clients who have already expressed this concern."
In a grim sign for the housing market's busiest season, pending home sales, which measure signed contracts on existing homes, fell 4.1% in February compared with January, according to the National Association of Realtors. Sales were down 5.4% compared with February 2021. Analysts were expecting a slight gain. This is the fourth straight month of declines in pending sales, which are an indicator of future closings, one to two months out. Since this count is based on signed contracts in February, when mortgage rates really started to take off, it is a strong indicator of how the market is reacting to the new rate environment, especially as it is entering the crucial spring season.
Pending home sales declined in February for the fourth month in a row, as would-be buyers grapple with fewer, pricier homes to choose from and rising interest rates. Contract signings dropped by 4.1% last month from January and were down 5.4% year over year with all four regions in the U.S. seeing a decline, according to the latest data from the National Association of Realtors. "Pending transactions diminished in February mainly due to the low number of homes for sale," said Lawrence Yun, NAR's chief economist. "Buyer demand is still intense, but it's as simple as 'one cannot buy what is not for sale.'" Yun anticipates a 7% decline in home sales this year compared to last, and forecasts that rates will hover around 4.5% to 5% for the remainder of 2022. "It is still an extremely competitive market, but fast-changing conditions regarding affordability are ahead," he said. "Consequently, home sellers cannot simply bump up prices in the upcoming months, but need to assess the changing market conditions to attract buyers."
The popular spring home-buying season is just ramping up. But one analyst is warning that it could be a bust. Ian Shepherdson, chief economist and founder of research consulting firm Pantheon Macroeconomics, is predicting a dramatic fall in the pace of home sales this year. In a research note, he projected that existing-home sales will drop roughly 25% from the annual pace of 6.02 million set in February to a rate of 4.5 million by the end of summer.
"The housing market is in the early stages of a substantial downshift in activity, which will trigger a steep decline in the rate of increase of home prices, starting perhaps as soon as the spring," Shepherdson wrote in a research note distributed Sunday. There has been a drop in mortgage demand which typically predicts a downturn in home sales, since most buyers rely on financing to make sure a large purchase. Issues around affordability are likely to blame for the decline.
The ripple effects of a shift in existing-home sales would be far-reaching, Shepherdson said, arguing that the pace of rent increases would eventually slow and perhaps even reverse. It also would spread to new-home sales, which he expects will likewise fall. A decrease in new-home sales would represent a downward drag on GDP, since that would implicate less demand for services tied to home-building and less spending on items like building materials and appliances.
The bad news for any Americans who persist in trying to buy a home under these conditions is that it's less clear how this situation will ultimately impact the availability of homes for sale. Part of why home prices have surged is that there is a significant lack of inventory in the housing market, which has fueled competition for what few homes are listed for sale. A drop in demand would seemingly lead to a boost in the inventory of homes for sale.
U.S. home sales unexpectedly increased in January, but investors paying in cash are squeezing out first-time buyers from the housing market amid record low inventory and higher prices. Existing home sales surged 6.7% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.50 million units last month. Sales rose in all four regions, with strong gains in the Midwest, the most affordable region. Sales jumped 9.3% in the densely populated South, which is experiencing an influx of residents from other regions as companies embrace remote work.
First-time buyers accounted for 27% of sales last month, compared to 33% a year ago. Rising mortgage rates could make home buying even less affordable for this group. Individual investors or second-home buyers, who make up many cash sales, bought 22% of homes, up from 15% a year ago. Investors are renovating, and either reselling or renting the homes to take advantage of the hot housing market. All-cash sales made up 27% of transactions compared to 19% last January.
Labor shortages, rising construction costs and supply chain issues have made it harder for Dallas-Fort Worth homebuilders to keep up with record buyer demand. As a result, the D-FW area is short 167,093 homes built between 2008 and 2020, the largest of any U.S. metro area, according to a new report by Zillow. Nationwide, there's a shortage of 1.35 million homes built since 2020, analysts say.
During the last 10 years, North Texas builders have started about 290,000 houses, almost 20% fewer than in the previous decade. At the same time, population in the area and demand for housing has boomed, creating a chronic shortage. "The implications of this shortfall are being felt now as home prices rise in Dallas and across the country," Zillow spokesman Mark Stayton said. "A limited supply of homes as demand has surged is a main driver of rapid home price growth during the pandemic."
Along with the D-FW area, the biggest building shortfalls have been in Miami (142,650), Phoenix (122,288) and Seattle (113,292), according to Zillow. North Texas homebuilders have been scrambling to catch up. The number of homes under construction in the area has jumped by almost 77% in the least year, according to Dallas' Residential Strategies. And D-FW builders have started a record almost 59,000 houses this year. But with huge backlogs of sales and buyers on waiting lists, it's unlikely that area new home construction will meet the unprecedented demand.
Ted Wilson, principal with Dallas-based housing analyst Residential Strategies, said demand for housing in North Texas has increased significantly because of the growing economy here, large numbers of young renters entering prime home buying ages and low mortgage rates. "In the 10 years leading up to the COVID pandemic, D-FW saw the net creation of about 1 million jobs," Wilson said. "During this period, due to housing affordability challenges, there were many would-be purchasers of homes that became renters instead. "This trend signaled to us that there was a building of pent-up demand for for-sale housing," he said. " The dramatic decline in the 30-year mortgage rate during the COVID outbreak has unlocked much of this demand as renters can now afford to purchase new homes." Wilson said many aging millennials are ready to buy houses.
Dallas-Fort Worth had the greatest third-quarter home sales decline of any major Texas metro area. But D-FW still topped the state in total properties sold by residential real estate agents. In the third quarter, area real estate agents sold 31,486 single-family homes — 9.3% fewer sales than in the same quarter last year, according to a report from the Texas Realtors Association. "Although we're seeing a slight decline in homes sold from the same period a year ago, it's important to remember we're comparing to 2020′s record-breaking numbers," Marvin Jolly, chairman of the Texas Realtors Association, said in the report. "Across the state, we're still experiencing strong demand for housing, and buyers are moving to Texas from all over the nation." North Texas single-family home sales by real estate agents have been lower than the previous year in each of the past four months. The drop in home purchases is due to a lack of properties on the market and record prices, which have kept some potential buyers out of the market, analysts say.
Today's real estate market remains hot, hot, hot, with sellers enjoying high prices, while buyers are facing a highly competitive market that has made it difficult for some to land the home they're longing for. This is especially true for those selling homes in Dallas/Fort Worth or shopping for Dallas homes for sale and Fort Worth homes for sale.
It's easy to get distracted during the buying or selling process by certain widespread real estate myths. Our real estate agents help many families in the area find their dream home and advise them to not fall for misconceptions they might hear from well-meaning friends and family members.
Read on about some common real estate myths you should not fall for.
Need more help navigating today's real estate market? Contact us today.
Pending home sales reached a 44.3 percent monthly increase in May—a new record, according to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR).
After two previous months of declines, pending home sales are showing a market rebound, with every major region recording a month-over-month increase. According to NAR, the Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI) increased to 99.6 in May—the highest MoM growth since NAR began the series in January 2001. Since the same time last year, pending home sales have fallen 5.1 percent. NAR expects existing home sales to reach 4.93 million units in 2020, with new home sales potentially hitting 690,000. In addition, in 2021, NAR expects sales to rise to 5.35 million units for existing homes and 800,000 for new homes.
"This has been a spectacular recovery for contract signings, and goes to show the resiliency of American consumers and their evergreen desire for homeownership," said Lawrence Yun, NAR's chief economist. "This bounce back also speaks to how the housing sector could lead the way for a broader economic recovery."
"More listings are continuously appearing as the economy reopens, helping with inventory choices," Yun said. "Still, more home construction is needed to counter the persistent underproduction of homes over the past decade. The outlook has significantly improved, as new home sales are expected to be higher this year than last, and annual existing-home sales are now projected to be down by less than 10 percent—even after missing the spring buying season due to the pandemic lockdown."
"All figures light up in 2021 with positive GDP, employment, housing starts and home sales," Yun added.
"New home sales took a similar upward turn last week, but today's pending data is a more important indicator of market activity since it covers existing homes, which made up roughly 80 to 90 percent of sales in recent years. This move confirms that May closings could represent a low-point for home sales, with June and July numbers looking much better," Danielle Hale, chief economist at realtor.com®, said in a statement.
The market outlook remains positive going into the summer despite the coronavirus. According to realtor.com®'s latest Weekly Housing Recovery Index, which hit 92 points for the week ending June 20, we are just 8 points short of the pre-COVID baseline.
One of the biggest improvements this week? Days on market—homes are currently selling three days faster than ever. Zillow also reports a rebound, with homes on the market for 22 days—the fastest pace since June 2018, according to a recent analysis. While there has been an inventory crunch, Zillow reports that new listings are up 14 percent month-over-month.
"Buyers shopping today might expect to be welcomed by desperate sellers, but they'll instead discover houses selling like hotcakes in the speediest market in recent memory," said Zillow economist Jeff Tucker. "The market did slow down in April, but anyone shopping this summer needs to be prepared to keep up with the lightning-quick pace of sales today. The question is whether the tempo will slow after buyers finish playing catch-up from planned spring moves, or if this fast-paced market will stay hot thanks to continued low interest rates and buyers scrambling over record-low summer inventory."
Paige Shipp, regional director with housing analyst MetroStudy Inc. fears home sales might slow next year in the ramp up to presidential and congressional elections. "We typically have much slower selling seasons right before an election," she said. "After that happens, the flood gates open and people come out. It's not a matter of who wins." Worries about a recession may also impact the home market. "We spent the better part of the last decade still looking over our shoulder," said George Ratiu, senior economist with Realtor.com. "The last recession was so bad that we are still carrying some of the scars from that." However, Dr. James Gaines, chief economist with the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University states that Texas economy is still expanding. "And we are extremely unlikely to be in a recession by the end of this calendar year," he said. "We are probably pretty safe through the first six months of next year."
But in Texas and the South, Up 4.9%
Sales of new U.S. homes slumped 7.8% in May, as sales plunged in the pricier Northeastern and Western markets. The Commerce Department said Tuesday that new homes sold at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 626,000 in May, down from 679,000 in April. During the first five months of the year, purchases of new homes have fallen 3.7% compared to the same period in 2018. Lower mortgage rates and a healthy job market have yet to unleash more home-buying. Sales of new homes plummeted 35.9% in the West and 17.6% in the Northeast. New-home sales rose 4.9% in the South and 6.3% in the Midwest, which are generally more affordable markets.
Dallas is one of the U.S. metro areas where rising home prices have hurt homeownership the most. Dallas, Denver and Houston were identified as the markets where there is the most downward pressure on homeownership, according to a new report by Florida Atlantic University and Florida International University faculty. The study ranked areas where the markets have tilted in favor of renting over buying homes. Researchers traced housing conditions in 23 markets for the report. Dallas was the most unfavorable for homeownership among the cities surveyed. "Of the metros in our index, Dallas is the highest and exhibiting the greatest downward pressure on the demand for homeownership," said Ken Johnson, real estate economist in FAU's College of Business. "The extraordinary appreciation in the area is a major driver of this score." Dallas' housing market has taken off since the Great Recession, with soaring prices.
SOURCE: Meyers Research
Dallas and Houston are the hottest spots in the country for millennial homebuyers. That's what analysts at California-based Meyers Research found in their annual "millennial desirability index" that rated the country's largest housing markets. Austin ranked third on the same list, which compared data on housing affordability, job growth, cost of living and other factors for major metro areas across the country. Meyers Research's director of research, Ali Wolf, said factors such as Texas' relatively low new home prices, strong economy and high quality of life push the state's major cities to the top of the list. Job opportunities, affordability and lifestyle were key factors millennials said they would consider in moving to a new city. Meyers' study is one of two recent studies that give North Texas high marks for first-time homebuyers.
The latest North Texas housing market numbers are not very encouraging, to say the least. Home sales were down in many Dallas-Fort Worth neighborhoods in February, and median home sales prices dropped for the first time since 2008-2009 in both Dallas and Rockwall counties. Dallas County home sales prices fell 2.5 percent in February from a year ago, according to the latest figures from the MetroTex Association of Realtors. Median sales prices slid 4.5 percent in Rockwall County. Collin and Denton counties eked out tiny year-over-year home price gains last month — less that 1 percent ahead of February 2018. The only solid home price gain in the region came in Tarrant County, where houses are still relatively affordable. Lower and moderate-priced house sales are still strong while purchases of expensive properties have lagged.
Once the most expensive listing in the US, the Bel Air mega-mansion was incorrectly listed as sold multiple times. The seller of one of the nation's most expensive real estate listings is suing real estate giant Zillow Group for $60 million in damages, alleging the company was negligent when it allowed a "troll" to falsely claim they were the homeowner of the listing on Zillow and then posted inaccurate information about the property.
The listing, 924 Bel Air Road in Los Angeles, was first listed for $250 million in 2017 and cut to $188 million last year before coming back on the market at a $150 million price in January.
In a lawsuit filed on Feb. 24, the plaintiff, a company owned by Makowsky, alleged Zillow published false information about the property that was uploaded by someone claiming to be the listing's owner. This included claims that the home had sold on Feb. 9, 2019 for $110 million, that there was an open house for the property on Feb. 8, 2019 from 1-4 p.m., that the property sold on Feb. 9, 2019 for $90.54 million, and that the property sold on Feb. 9, 2019 for $93.4 million.
"Zillow is disseminating misleading, false, and inaccurate information that has a large prominence because of Zillow's market power," attorneys for the plaintiff wrote in the complaint.The plaintiff's attorneys alleged that it took Zillow more than a week to take down the false information and false claims of ownership, despite Zillow acknowledging it was "aware of the issue."
Homebuilders are starting off 2019 with hopes of another increase in U.S. sales, especially newly built houses. But the building industry also sees an upcoming drop nationally in purchases of preowned homes because of rising affordability issues. "2019 looks like a year of solid, if not spectacular, growth," said Robert Dietz, chief economist of the National Association of Home Builders. "I think new-home sales will be up a tad and existing home sales down." The building industry forecasts a 2 percent rise in nationwide home starts in 2019, making it the best year since the Great Recession. That's the most positive sign in this year's outlook. "We actually have existing home sales declining year-over-year in 2019," Dietz said at the industry's annual meeting this week in Las Vegas. The drop in existing home sales is likely to be between 2 percent and 4 percent this year, according to the latest industry outlook. Preowned home sales in Dallas-Fort Worth fell slightly in 2018 after several years of increases. The decline continued into the new year. Higher mortgage rates and record prices are blamed for the slowdown.
In Dallas County, home sales by real estate agents fell more than 12 percent in January from the same month in 2018. Sales were down almost 13 percent in Denton County and down 10.5 percent year-over-year in Collin County. The smallest sales decline was in Tarrant County — 8.5 percent — where a larger inventory of more affordable houses on the market has made purchase activity stronger. Real estate agents are scrambling to adjust to the downshift in the local home market. "We are being realistic with our sellers, telling them you need to price your house at what it will sell for," said Cathy Mitchell, 2019 president of the MetroTex Association of Realtors. "I think this market correction is good for us." There was about a four-month supply of houses on the market in North Texas at the end of January.
A flood of North Texas houses hitting the market in January means it will take longer to sell a Dallas-Fort Worth home. The number of houses up for sale in Dallas County rose more than 43 percent in January compared with a year earlier, according to the latest numbers from the MetroTex Association of Realtors. Home listings were also up by more than 42 percent in Denton County and were 37 percent higher than a year ago in Collin County.
The wave of properties hitting the market comes at a time when home sales in the area are declining and price increases have evaporated. At the end of last month, there were almost 22,000 houses listed for sale with North Texas real estate agents — the largest January inventory in six years. More than 10,000 additional home listings hit the market in January alone. Real estate agents are warning sellers not to expect a quick sale like the market was seeing few years ago. "You can't expect to get 30 offers in 30 minutes," said Cathy Mitchell, 2019 president of the MetroTex Association of Realtors. "It's a market correction — we couldn't be sustainable the way the market was."
By Brandon Cornett | January 18, 2019 | © HBI,
Recent forecasts for the real estate market in Dallas, Texas suggest that home prices in the area could rise faster than the national average in 2019. A separate forecast from Zillow ranked Dallas as one of the top ten "hottest" housing markets of 2019.
Bold Outlook for Dallas Housing Market in 2019
At the start of 2019, the median home value for Dallas, Texas was around $201,000. (The median for the broader DFW metro area was a bit higher.) That was a gain of more than 13% from a year earlier, according to data collected by Zillow.
Predictions from housing analysts point to continued home-price growth throughout 2019. In fact, the Dallas real estate market is expected to outperform the nation this year, in terms of annual home-value appreciation. Given the current rate of appreciation, it would not be surprising to see the median house price in Dallas rise somewhere between 7% and 10% over the next year.
Zillow's research team recently predicted that the median value in Dallas would climb by 11.2% over the next 12 months. That was a much bolder forecast than the one they issued for the nation as a whole, which predicted 6.4% growth.
Housing Supply on the Rise
Inventory is another important trend that could shape the Dallas-area housing market in 2019. This year, home buyers across the metro area could have more properties to choose from. At the end of 2018, the Dallas real estate market had more than a 4-month supply of homes for sale. That was a higher level of inventory than most metro areas across the U.S., and also higher than the national average during that same timeframe.
The key takeaway here is that housing inventory in Dallas (i.e., the number of homes listed for sale) increased during the latter part of 2018. As a result, buyers who enter the market this year should have more options when it comes to choosing a property.
Dallas Makes Zillow's "Hottest" List
In January, Zillow published a forecast that included what they felt would be the ten "hottest U.S. housing markets for 2019." Dallas was ranked at number seven on that list. To create their "hot list," Zillow examined a number of factors for the nation's 50 largest metro areas. They then combined these variables to create a "hotness" score. They looked for metro areas with strong income growth, growing populations, and low unemployment — among other factors.
A Cooling Trend Could Prevent Affordability Issues
The Dallas real estate market is something of a paradox right now, as we move into 2019. Home prices in the area continue to rise faster than the national average. At the same, however, there is clearly a cooling trend taking place.
Paige Shipp, regional director at MetroStudy, recently told The Dallas Morning News: "Dallas-Fort Worth, the nation's top new home market, is slowing from a frenzied, overheated pace to a more stable, normalized market. Builders and developers are hard at work delivering product to meet the strong demand for affordable new homes."
Dallas currently leads the nation in terms of new-home construction, according to MetroStudy and other sources. There were nearly 35,000 housing starts in the DFW area during the third quarter of 2018, more than any other metro. (A "housing start" is the beginning of construction for a house.)
If inventory continues to grow in this market — as expected — it will likely lead to smaller home-price gains in the future. And that's probably a good thing. When house prices rise at a much faster pace than local wages and income, it can create affordability problems. So a cooling trend could actually be beneficial at this point.
Disclaimer: This article includes housing market predictions for the Dallas-Forth Worth metro area in 2019. They were provided by third parties not associated with the Home Buying Institute. Real estate forecasts are the equivalent of an educated and are far from certain.
No Real Estate Transfer Tax
Texas is one of a handful of states that does not have a transfer tax when a seller sells their home. Dallas is one of the few cities in the nation that does not have a city transfer tax. Several years ago the voters in the state of Texas passed a constitutional amendment that disallowed any such taxes in the future. So not only do some 40 states have a transfer tax, the cities as well have an additional transfer tax. Another reason so many are moving to Texas. See below the city and state transfer tax on a home sale of $500,000 in selected northern cities.
2019 - Real Estate Transfer Tax
Based on a $500,000 Sales Price
STATE TRANSFER TAX
CITY TRANSFER TAX
Los Angeles, CA
New York City, NY
San Francisco, CA
2018 was the year of the housing slowdown in Dallas. After seven years of rising home purchases in North Texas, the speeding home market hit a speed bump in 2018. The decline wasn't much — only about 1 percent fewer homes sold than 2017's record sales. But the new wind blowing through residential neighborhoods freaked out many home sellers who were hoping they could keep asking the moon for the roofs over their heads. "The sky is not falling" on D-FW's housing market, insists Dr. James Gaines, chief economist with the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University. "You're just getting back to normal." Gaines is forecasting a flat to slightly lower home sales volume in North Texas next year. And he's expecting year-over-year home price increases to moderate to mid-single-digit percentages. Most national forecasts call for D-FW home prices to rise 4 percent to 5 percent in 2019. That's about the long-term norm for North Texas housing value growth. But after several years of runaway home price gains, that could seem like a downer to home sellers looking to cash in on their properties.
Local real estate agents sold 9 percent fewer homes in December than they did a year earlier — the fifth month in a row of year-over-year declines in home purchases. Last month 7,786 homes were sold through the agents' multiple listing service, according to data from the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University and the North Texas Real Estate Information System. Last year's slight decline in home purchases in the area followed almost eight years of increases. "It's still the second-best year ever," said Dr. James Gaines, chief economist with the Real Estate Center. "The whole state is reverting to a more normal market. "We've been going really, really strong for years, and ultimately that slows down." Higher mortgage rates and record home prices in the Dallas-Fort Worth area have caused some prospective buyers to pull back from the market.
The number of homes for sale in the almost two dozen North Texas counties included in the report was 22 percent higher than a year earlier, with more than 21,000 preowned single-family homes listed for sale with real estate agents. On average it took 57 days to sell a property -- 8 percent longer than a year earlier. Even with the increase in inventory, there was only about a 2.4-month supply of houses listed for sale in the area at the end of December.
Dallas-area home price gains slightly outperformed the national average in 2018.Dallas home prices rose 5.3 percent from 2017 levels while the U.S. price increase was 5.1 percent, CoreLogic reports. CoreLogic is forecasting that nationwide home prices will grow less than 5 percent in the year ahead."The rise in mortgage rates has dampened buyer demand and slowed home-price growth," Dr. Frank Nothaft, chief economist for CoreLogic, said in the report. "These higher rates and home prices have reduced buyer affordability," he said. "Home sellers are responding by lowering their asking price, which is reflected in the slowing growth of the CoreLogic Home Price Index." Along with Dallas' 5.3 percent year-over-year home price gain, CoreLogic found that prices were up 6.9 percent annually in the Fort Worth area and were 5.8 percent higher in San Antonio. Houston prices rose by just under 4 percent from a year ago. And prices in the Austin area were only 3.4 percent higher than in November 2017.
Homeowners that CoreLogic surveyed attributed the growing home values as part of a strong national and local economy. "A strong economy helps homeowners feel confident about the value of their property," said Frank Martell, president and CEO of CoreLogic. "If recent declines in the stock market shake consumer confidence in the national economy, we may see homeowners' perception of home values change and a subsequent buyers' market emerge in 2019." Even with the declines in the rate of home appreciation, Dallas-Fort Worth home prices are at record levels and have risen more than 40 percent in the last five years.
It's no secret that Dallas' home market has a winter chill.Home sales have slowed, along with the rate of home price increase in North Texas.The market changes have put Dallas on Realtor.com's list of the 10 cities hit hardest by a housing slowdown."In the last few months, the real estate market has actually begun slowing down. including in some of the big cities that have been leading the go-go post-recession housing boom," according to a report on the website. "To be clear, prices aren't always dropping in these places, which are predominantly located on the West Coast."Mostly, they're decelerating, coming back down to earth."
Realtor.com based its rankings on a year-over-year rise in home price markdowns, increases in listings and changes in overall list prices."There's a rebalancing that needs to happen," Len Kiefer, deputy chief economist at Freddie Mac, told Realtor.com. "Prices have risen so high in some of these markets that it's very tough from an affordability perspective [for buyers]. ... It's not surprising to me that we're seeing a little bit of a leveling off."
Median home prices in North Texas are still up about 5 percent compared with 2017 levels. But that's a much smaller number than the double-digit annual gains seen in recent years. Home list prices in the Dallas area are down 1.4 percent from a year ago, and the number of listings has grown 15 percent year over year, according to Realtor.com
The declines in D-FW home sales and slower price appreciation are having a bigger impact on consumers' attitudes than their pocketbooks, analysts said. "I am more concerned about the psychological impact of not-so-rosy housing news than I am about the actual underlying fundamentals of the housing market in the Dallas-Fort Worth market," said Daren Blomquist, top economist with Attom Data Solutions. "Certainly the data shows that the market has gotten somewhat overheated and is due for a slowdown, but that slowdown should just be a chance for the market to catch its breath rather than a trigger a panic attack. "Jobs and people are still moving to the Dallas-Fort Worth area in large numbers, which ultimately should keep demand for housing solid," Blomquist said. "But the psychology of the market is more of a wild card and could result in a bigger slowdown or correction."
North Texas home sales would be higher if there were more moderately priced properties up for grabs, Paige Shipp of housing analyst Metrostudy Inc. said. "I believe the 1 percent decrease in sales this year is due to the lack of homes on the market below $200,000, not a lack of buyers," Shipp said. "D-FW has strong job and population growth, which equates to demand for homes. "However, the increasing interest rates have exposed the fact that D-FW buyers cannot all afford homes priced above $400,000, she said.
Not so fast with the gloomy forecasts for Dallas' housing economy. Yes, the local home market appears to be cooling after years of scorching hot sales. And some analysts have suggested there's a Dallas home price bubble getting ready to burst. But a new forecast by Zillow says the market is likely to outperform the rest of the country in 2019 when it comes to home price gains and housing market health.
Zillow surveyed more than 100 real estate economists and investment experts for their take on the U.S. housing market and future home value growth. According to Zillow's research, markets in Denver; Washington, D.C.; Atlanta; Dallas; Las Vegas; Phoenix; and San Jose, Calif., are likely to outperform the rest of America in 2019. The economists on Zillow's panel said they expected U.S. home value to grow an average of 3.8 percent in 2019.
North Texas home prices are about 5 percent higher in 2018 after several years of double-digit annual appreciation. D-FW home prices were forecast to grow 4.3 percent next year in a recent Realtor.com report. Local analysts don't expect declines in home values in 2019. Instead, they say the rate of home price gains and overall home sales are likely to moderate.
Home prices are out of reach relative to incomes and mortgage rates. The big question for the economy is how the imbalance adjusts.
These should be happy times for the housing sector. The economy is booming, with more people working at higher pay, and with the sizable millennial generation reaching prime home buying age. Instead, the housing market has gone soft, acting as a drag on the overall economy rather than as a force propelling it forward.
Sales of new single-family homes were down 22 percent in September from their recent high in November 2017, and existing home sales in September were down 10 percent. This tepid residential investment subtracted from G.D.P. growth in each of the first three quarters of 2018.
Home prices have not declined nationally, at least according to the most widely followed indexes. But their rate of increase has declined, and more and more home sellers are finding they must reduce asking prices to find a buyer. Given how central housing is to the broader economy — it is the biggest driver of both wealth and indebtedness for most families, and its fluctuations have frequently been major factors in past booms and busts — this slump isn't something to be taken lightly for anyone hoping the good times will last.
So what's going on?
When you look closely at the data, it appears this paradox of a strong economy and a weak housing market is, at its core, an illustration of a fundamental rule in economics: If something can't go on forever, it won't. Home prices in a given location are ultimately tethered to the incomes of the people who either live there or want to. But for much of the last six years, that relationship has come undone. Nationally, personal income per capita has risen 25 percent since the end of 2011, while the S&P/Case-Shiller national home price index is up 48 percent (neither figure is adjusted for inflation).
The gap is even larger in the big coastal cities with high wages and booming job markets, but where legal and other barriers make it hard for builders to add to the supply of homes. In the San Francisco metro area, per capita personal income rose 40 percent from 2011 to 2017, while home prices rose 96 percent. Similar patterns are evident in Los Angeles, Seattle, Boston, New York and Washington. In less high-flying markets, there was still a disconnect. In the Minneapolis area, for example, incomes rose 22 percent while home prices rose 46 percent.
Those rising home prices got help from years of very low mortgage rates, which put more expensive homes within reach for people at a given income level. Activity was also probably boosted by some bounce-back effect after the housing market crash of 2007-09, a result of pent-up demand for homes that were not bought while the market was collapsing.
Rates bottomed out in late 2012 at 3.31 percent for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage. They have been moving upward in fits and starts since, including a full percentage point in the last year alone to nearly 5 percent — still low by historical standards, but high compared with the ultralow levels that had enabled these huge price gains.
There's no doubt that demographics are favorable for housing demand. The peak birth year for millennials was 1990; it's a group that is turning 28 this year and thus entering prime years for home buying. As it happens, 28 is exactly the median response in a Bankrate survey that asked adults for the ideal age to buy a home.
But that doesn't matter if prices are out of reach relative to incomes. Moreover, lending standards have remained more rigorous than they were during the last housing boom, so it has been harder for people to stretch to buy a home. The inability of people to buy homes they can't really afford is great news in terms of avoiding another crisis, but not so great for the near-term outlook for housing.
"Buyers can only stomach so many price increases until it gets unsustainable," said Daryl Fairweather, the chief economist at the online brokerage Redfin. "Prices reached a breaking point where buyers were fed up and started to consider other options," she said, including renting and moving away from the expensive coastal markets where prices are most out of whack with incomes.
As Economics 101 teaches, price movements are the way that supply and demand match up with each other. But in the housing sector especially, that adjustment can take a while. In contrast with the stock market, where relatively unemotional traders are buying and selling shares every day and the market stays liquid, home purchase and sales decisions can take months and are deeply emotional for the participants.
What seems to be happening is that sellers are trying to cling to the spring 2018 prices that their neighbors received, while there aren't enough buyers in late 2018 willing or able to pay those prices. In a Fannie Mae survey of home purchase sentiment, the proportion of people who think it is a good time to buy a home has decreased significantly since the spring, to a net 21 percent from 29 percent. But so has the proportion who think it is a good time to sell, which has dropped to 35 percent from 45 percent.
You would expect, in a zero-sum transaction like a home sale, for those numbers to move in opposite directions. Instead, it seems that sellers are unhappily realizing that they aren't going to get what they thought their house was worth six months ago, and buyers still think homes are too expensive. That helps explain why transaction volume, especially for new houses, has fallen substantially while prices haven't (at least yet). It's a standoff. And the outcome of the standoff will, in the aggregate, play a role in shaping the future of the economy.
There is precedent for this, and it isn't a happy one. In the last housing boom, new home sales peaked in July 2005, and home prices didn't start declining until May 2006. It didn't start to hurt the overall economy until December 2007, when the damage had spread through an overleveraged global financial system.
But that doesn't mean this episode has to end in tears. Home prices are not nearly as out of line with incomes as they were then; speculative activity hasn't been nearly as frothy; and consumer debt levels are considerably more measured. "I think income growth will help us get out of this period," said Robert Dietz, the chief economist at the National Association of Home Builders. "We're probably looking at a period where existing home sales volume is flat to declining, and it now looks like 2017 was the peak year for transaction volume."
A strong (nonhousing) economy makes it more likely that this housing slump will end without a steep 2008-style downturn. So does the basic reality that young adults are forming families and need a place to house them.
But in the meantime, it could be a soft few months or even years of standoffs between buyers and sellers, with the big question of which comes first: sellers who settle for less after recognizing that the price they thought they would get is beyond the reach of buyers, or incomes that catch up with a housing market that got a little ahead of itself.
No place builds more new houses than Dallas-Fort Worth. As of the third quarter of this year, D-FW was the solid leader in U.S. homebuilding with almost 35,000 single-family annual home starts, according to a new report by housing market analysts at Metrostudy Inc. Houston was second nationally with 29,370 home starts in the 12-month period ending in September. D-FW and Houston have topped the country in home construction for several years. And the two Texas titan building markets show no sign of a slowdown. D-FW starts were up 8.7 percent and Houston starts were 6 percent higher than a year ago, Transwestern found.
While D-FW builders are still busy, what they are building has changed, according to Metrostudy's Paige Shipp. "Over the past 12 months, builders and developers have been addressing the need for affordable new homes by developing in previously overlooked submarkets and building smaller, less amenitized homes," said Shipp, regional director of Metrostudy's D-FW market. "As such, the median price has dropped since last year.The decrease in price is not devaluation, rather it's an indication that buyers are purchasing smaller, more affordable homes."
Shipp said that homebuyer traffic has slowed in North Texas in recent months. "While this cooling may worry some, it should be viewed as a positive stabilization of an overheated, frenzied market," she said. "Builders and developers should use this opportunity to catch their breaths and return to the fundamentals of homebuilding including land acquisition and selling." Shipp said the inventory of vacant new homes in the D-FW has increased to the highest level since 2012.
Dallas-area home prices grew less than 5 percent in August from a year earlier, according to the latest nationwide comparison. It was the first time in almost six years that Dallas-area home appreciation has been at such a low level in the closely-watched Standard & Poor's Case-Shiller Home Price Index. "Following reports that home sales are flat to down, price gains are beginning to moderate," S&P's David M. Blitzer said in the report. "The seasonally adjusted monthly data show that 10 cities experienced declining prices. Other housing data tell a similar story: prices and sales of new single family homes are weakening, housing starts are mixed and residential fixed investment is down in the last three quarters."
Home prices in North Texas have cooled in 2018 after years of double-digit percentage annual gains. Still, Dallas-area prices are about 45 percent higher than a decade ago, before the economic downturn and housing crash. "There are no signs that the current weakness will become a repeat of the crisis," Blitzer said. "Without a collapse in housing finance like the one seen 12 years ago, a crash in home prices is unlikely."
The slowdown in home price growth may be good news for potential buyers who have struggled to find homes they can afford. "It's more welcome news for would-be homebuyers, who must be breathing a collective sigh of relief that home price growth finally has slowed," Skylar Olsen, Zillow's director of economic research, said in a statement. "Softening appreciation after the rapid growth of just a few months earlier is a sign that fierce competition is dying down. Potential buyers who were intimidated during the heat of the market may find the breathing space now to make a calm, considered decision about whether to lock in a mortgage before rates rise further."
Dallas Morning News, October 18, 2018
Dallas-Fort Worth was the only major Texas market that saw a decline in third quarter home sales. D-FW preowned homes sales fell 2.3 percent from third quarter 2017, according to a new report by the Texas Association of Realtors. Statewide sales were 4.4 percent higher than in the previous year. Among the big metro areas, the largest sales increase was in Houston were real estate agents sold 11.6 percent more houses than they did in third quarter 2017.
"Our market remains extremely strong but is still slowly moving toward normalization," Dr. James Gaines, chief economist with the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University, said in the report. "Median home prices and home sales are up, but the rate of increase statewide is beginning to slow compared to prior years."
Even with the year-over-year sales decline, D-FW had the largest number of preowned property sales in the state with 27,660 properties changing hands, according to the Realtors association. The Houston-area was second with 24,028 home sales. Median home sales prices rose 4.4 percent in the third quarter from the previous year to $235,000. In D-FW, prices were up 3.9 percent to a median of $265,034.
Residential appreciation in North Texas has slowed this year after median home values grew by more than 40 percent during the last five years. D-FW had the largest inventory increase of any of the major metros - up 14.5 percent from third quarter 2017. "At the current rate that home sales and active listings are increasing, we are trending towards another record-breaking year in Texas real estate," Kaki Lybbert, chairman of the Texas Association of Realtors, said.
The latest forecast from CoreLogic calls for only about 2.7 percent home price growth in D-FW in the next 12 months.
- Dallas Morning News, October 15, 2018
Don't look for Dallas-Fort Worth on the list of cities economists expect to have the biggest home price gains in the year ahead. Nationwide prices are expected to rise by less than 5 percent in the year ahead, according Veros, a risk management and valuation firm. "Our latest VeroForecast indicates that on average, for the top 100 most populated metro areas, we expect 4.5 percent appreciation over the next 12 months," Eric Fox, vice president of statistical and economic modeling at Veros, said in the report. "We are forecasting that the overwhelming number of metros across the nation, approximately 97 percent, will appreciate, with just three percent depreciating during this period."
"The days of easy 10 percent price gains in one year are over," Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors, told real estate agents. For sure that is so in Dallas-Fort Worth. Median sales prices in North Texas were up 9 percent last year, and rose 10 percent in 2016 and 2015 and were 11 percent higher in 2014. Through the first nine months of 2018, median sales prices of houses sold by local real estate agents are just 5 percent greater than the same period last year.
A forecast for the next 12 months sees 2.1 percent home price growth in the D-FW area, according to CoreLogic. That's much less than their U.S. 1-year price forecast rise of 4.7 percent. After several years of double-digit percentage home appreciation in North Texas, the latest price forecasts may seem dismal. But a slowdown in home price gains is just what the D-FW area needs at this point in the cycle. The best way to prevent another housing bubble is to let a little air out of the market before things get too overvalued.
By Claire Ballor – Staff Writer, Dallas Business Journal, October 10, 2018
With a relatively low cost of living and population growth projections that outstrip other U.S. cities by two times, Dallas-Fort Worth has been named the top real estate market to watch in 2019.
The Emerging Trends in Real Estate for 2019 report from PricewaterhouseCoopers and the Urban Land Institute ranked the Metroplex as the number one market for overall real estate prospects in 2019 out of 78 other cities. Austin and San Antonio also made it into the top 20 for overall real estate prospects in the annual forecast report, which is compiled from thousands of interviews with real estate experts across a spectrum of industries.
Mitch Roschelle, a partner at PwC, said the economic data points analyzed for the report suggest the strength of the economy and the discipline being practiced in the real estate market. "If there is a downturn ahead of us, it won't be real estate that caused it," he said. "Right now there's way more discipline in all activities in real estate than there has been in any other time in the modern era. We haven't gotten ahead of ourselves in terms of real estate development. I hope that real estate folks remain as conservative as they have in creating new supply."
Roschelle said he's seeing that conservative behavior in Dallas-Fort Worth and it has kept the market from getting ahead of itself despite the ever-growing demand and push for growth.
As for what makes North Texas the one to watch next year, he said several factors come into play.
"The things that have been important in years past have been markets that have low cost of living and low, relative to the national average, cost of doing business. That's where companies want to be and that's where people want to be," Roschelle said.
The low cost of living, low cost of doing business and tax efficiency continue to draw people to Dallas-Fort Worth, he said. And so much so that the area's population growth rate is projected to be more than two times the national average in 2019.
"The growth in the population is skewed towards younger folks in Dallas," Roschelle said. "The growth in the 0 to 24 age category is high and in the 25 to 40 category. [The population] is becoming younger, and those people are all the workers for the future."
But as the population in the Metroplex grows, affordable housing is becoming more of an issue. Although affordable single-family homes are a contributor to Dallas-Fort Worth's success, there aren't enough of them, according to the report. The report says focus group respondents in the Dallas area pointed to an increasingly prevalent "not in my backyard" mentality as the reason for the slow down in available workforce housing.
"Dallas traditionally was a place where there was a piece of land, and if someone wanted to build on it, they just built on it," Roschelle said. Now, though, developers are often met with a "you're not building that thing near me" attitude, which tends to add hurdles like cost and time, he said. This contributes to the problem that Dallas-Fort Worth is facing with additions to housing supply not keeping pace with demand.
What the Dallas area has going for it, though, is a diverse and stable employment base thanks to the wide spectrum of industries represented in the area, Roschelle said. The report indicates that the market is expected to have high growth and low volatility when it comes to employment in 2019.
Here are a few things the report says to keep an eye on in 2019:
Issues on the horizon
Dallas-area home prices are rated as less likely to fall in a new risk assessment study. The Dallas area ranks as "low" in risk of a price meltdown in a new study by Arch Mortgage Insurance. That translates to about a 12 percent chance of seeing a price decrease by 24 months from now, according to the North Carolina-based company. Texas is still considered the country's most overheated housing market. Arch Mortgage estimates that home values in the state are more than 30 percent greater than they should be based on market fundamentals. "Texas is likely to become riskier going forward since affordability continues to deteriorate at a rapid rate and it is easier to build there than in most states," the report said. "Among larger metros, Houston (22 percent) was the riskiest." Dallas-area home prices are currently at record levels. But the rate of home price appreciation has slowed significantly this year. Through the first eight months of 2018, median North Texas home sales prices are up about 5 percent. Even with the higher prices, Arch Mortgage in its quarterly report ranked Fort Worth as the best market in the country for millennials to buy houses and get jobs. But they'd better not wait too long, the analysts said.
The number of "For Sale" signs is growing in North Texas' housing market. The Dallas-Fort Worth area has had one of the biggest increases in the country in the number of homes listed for sale, according to Realtor.com. D-FW ranked eighth among the 10 major U.S. markets with the greatest increase in home listings in September, up 14 percent from the same period a year ago, according to Realtor.com. Local real estate market numbers show that almost 26,000 preowned single-family homes were listed for sale in August with North Texas real estate agents. That's the highest volume in six years. Nationwide, home inventories are at a 5-year high, according to Realtor.com. "After years of record-breaking inventory declines, September's almost flat inventory signals a big change in the real estate market," Danielle Hale, chief economist for Realtor.com, said in the report. "Would-be buyers who had been waiting for a bigger selection of homes for sale may finally see more listings materialize.
North Texas home sales dropped in September by the largest percentage in more than seven years. Preowned home sales in the area fell by 7 percent from September 2017. That was the biggest year-over-year sales decline since early 2011, according to data from the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University and North Texas Real Estate Information Systems. Home sales by real estate agents have been down in three of the last four months. Higher mortgage costs and years of rising home prices have caused some buyers to pull back from the market. Mortgage rates on average are currently about 4.7 percent — the highest level in seven years — and are expected to go higher in 2019. With September's sales decline, preowned home sales by real estate agents in North Texas are now flat with the same period of 2017. A record of more than 106,000 homes sold in the area last year. "We think things are going to be flat," said Dr James Gaines, chief economist for the Real Estate Center. The Dallas-Fort Worth housing market has cooled significantly since early in the year when sales were still up by double-digit percentage rates from 2017 levels.
Home price growth has also slowed. Median home sales prices rose by 4 percent in September from a year earlier to $251,000. For the first nine months of 2018, prices are up 5 percent from the sale period in 2017. With sales declining, the number of houses on the market in North Texas has growth to 25,895 preowned single-family homes listed with real estate agents at the end of last month. That's 16 percent more homes for sale in the area than a year ago. On average it took 44 days to sell the houses that trade in September — up 5 percent from a year earlier. Currently there is about a 3-month supply of homes available for purchase in the more than two dozen North Texas counties included in the survey.
"I would expect this somewhat disappointing spring selling season will be a bit of a wake-up call for (North Dallas suburban) home sellers, and they will eventually consider lowering asking prices, which in turn will bring some buyers back to the table," Attom Data economist Daren Blomquist said.
The slowdown in Dallas-Fort Worth's housing market may be worse than at first glance. Sales of preowned single-family homes dropped 1 percent annually in August in all of North Texas, according to the latest numbers from the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University. Those numbers include data on more than two dozen counties stretching from the Red River to Waco. When you drill down in the numbers to just the immediate D-FW area, August's dip in home purchase activity was much larger. In the Dallas area, sales of preowned homes by real estate agents fell by about 4 percent in August from a year earlier. Fort Worth-area sales managed to eke out a 1 percent year-over-year rise in home purchases made through real estate agents. But some Dallas-area residential districts saw marked declines in home buying last month.
Real estate agents say the overall numbers understate the housing sector cooldown. A look at individual neighborhoods gives clearer insight into the state of the market. Sales last month were down almost 31 percent in Far North Dallas. They dropped 24 percent from August 2017 totals in Allen, and were off 21 percent in Coppell. Plano had a 16 percent year-over-year sales decline and sales were down more than 11 percent in Richardson and about 9 percent lower in Frisco. Not all of North Texas' markets saw the housing market hit the brakes. Sales soared 40 percent in Prosper, for instance, and were 37 percent higher in DeSoto. The pricey Park Cities market had a 29 percent jump in August sales from the previous year.
Texas has been one of the fastest growing housing markets in the country in the last few years. The state has led the nation in homebuilding and Texas' major metros - Houston, Dallas-Fort Worth, San Antonio, Austin - have had big increases in the number of preowned home sales. But the latest snapshot of the Lone Star State's hot housing market is a mixed bag. While statewide home sales rose almost 3 percent in the second quarter from 2017 levels, sales in the D-FW area slowed for the first time in years. And sales barely rose in the Austin area, according to the latest data from the Texas Association of Realtors.
"The demand for housing remains at an all-time high, but statewide we're seeing a slower rate of increase in sales compared to previous quarters due to the lack of inventory of properties for sale," Dr. James Gaines, chief economist with the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University said. Rising prices and higher mortgage rates have also dampened buying in some neighborhoods. Even with the dip in sales, the D-FW led the state in second quarter home sales by real estate agents with 28,934 properties changing hands.
D-FW home sales were 0.8 percent lower than in second quarter 2017. Statewide median home sales prices rose by 4.4 percent in the period ending with June. D-FW had the biggest jump in the number of homes for sale in the second quarter of any major Texas metro area. The number of homes on the market in North Texas grew by 14 percent, according to the Realtors.
Homebuyers are getting a double whammy. "Home prices are up and mortgage rates are up," said Frank Nothaft, chief economist with CoreLogic. Nationwide home prices are almost 7 percent higher than a year ago. And the average long-term mortgage cost has risen by seven tenths of a percentage point interest compared with this time in 2017, according to CoreLogic. "That translates into a 16 percent increase in the monthly principal and interest payments to buy the same house," Nothaft said. For the first-time homebuyer there is a 19 percent increase from one year ago. "Average wages around the country are up only 2.5 percent to 3 percent from a year ago. Each passing month as prices rise and mortgage rates rise, it's increasingly challenging for home buyers, especially entry-level homebuyers," he said. "The pinch it takes out of their monthly budget starts to affect more and more buyers across the country." Dallas-Fort Worth is one of the markets with record-high home costs. While overall median home prices in North Texas are up about 5 percent so far in 2018, prices for the most affordable houses — under $200,000 — are rising at almost twice that rate. CoreLogic is forecasting further increases in home prices and interest rates in the year ahead.
by Seth Fowler
(This article appeared in Candy's Dirt. It is specific to the Ft Worth side of the Metroplex, but the facts are the same for all of North Texas.)
Some will agree, and some won't, but data doesn't lie — we are heading into a real estate slowdown.
First of all…R-E-L-A-X. No, we are not heading toward a recession. No, the housing market isn't crumbling. No, it's not time to sell your home, stock up on canned beans, ammo, and get off the grid. But the real estate market is changing … dare we call it a slowdown?
How Can You Say It's a Slowdown?
How can I say this? We are in the midst of an historical real estate boom like we've never seen before and everything we hear and read says the market is hot, hotter, hottest! Please hear me: the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex is still by far the absolute best place in the world to live, work, play, and own real estate. The daily, weekly, monthly growth that is happening to this part of the state is still out of this world.
But the market is experiencing a slowdown. Interest rates are rising . Municipalities are getting more and more greedy with property taxes. Home values are increasing at a rapid pace. New home construction is increasingly expensive and not meeting demand. Wages aren't increasing as quickly as prices and that's causing a slowdown in the real estate market.
In Part One we will look at those factors and how they combine to cause this slowdown. In Part Two next week, we will discuss whether or not an actual slowdown in the real estate market is a good thing, a precursor to doom-and-gloom (again, R-E-L-A-X), and what it means for buyers and sellers in this brave new world.
Just The Facts Ma'am
According to the Fort Worth Housing Report distributed by the Greater Fort Worth Association of Realtors, the median sales price of homes is going up, up, and up. Up 9.7 percent from February 2017 to 2018 at $214,000. Up 9.3 percent from March 2017 to 2018 at $219,750. Up 7.3 percent from April 2017 to 2018 at $220,000. We see that the overall price continues to increase, but the percentage from year-to-year is falling a little bit. Across the country home prices increased 8.7 percent over the past year according to a recent Zillow report. Increases like this simply are not sustainable in the long run for a stable economy. While sellers enjoy their large return on their investment, fewer and fewer buyers are able or willing to pay these steep increases.
Active Listings And Days on Market
From same reports active listings were up 3.4 percent from February 2017 to 2018 at 1,668 homes. Up 6.4 percent from March 2017 to 2018 at 1,851. Up 17.1 percent from April 2017 to 2018 at 2,105. The more listings the better right? Well, yes and no is the answer. Yes more listings on the market the better for buyers. But that's only if they are good listings that are priced correctly. Days on market has also increased. Homes sat for one day longer in February 2018 than 2017 at 43 days. Seven days longer in March 2018 than 2017 at 44 days. Seven days longer in April 2018 than 2017 at 37 days.
No — not time to panic — but numbers don't lie. Buyers are gaining some control.
Word on The Street
While considering this article over the past month or more, I have talked to many agents, lenders, and title company officers in the D/FW area and 100 percent of them have mentioned how it appears that the buyers are finally pushing back at the skyrocketing prices. Sellers have been in control for a number of years when it comes to asking price. Depending on the range, sellers have tended toward higher asking prices and buyers have very little recourse. If a buyer wants a house then they'll meet asking price … or go higher. As inventory increases (albeit slightly) we are seeing buyers be a little pickier and price conscious. It's not as if buyers are offering 50 cents on the dollar, but more than ever in the past year we are seeing lower offers as homes sit longer on the market. Of course there are variables like price range and location and condition of homes — I know that — so these stats might not apply for all homes universally.
We have been living in the longest real estate boom in the history of ever. It's not going away, it's just not booming like it was, and I contest that it will not boom like that again. A slowdown is happening and will continue to happen. While this might cause panic for some, it could also be just what our overall economy needs — balance. Come back next week and see what else I have to say. If you disagree with this article — or if you agree — hit me up, let me know, I'd love to hear YOUR perspective.
Well that's all from Tarrant County this week Dirty Readers. Thanks for reading and following and sharing! As always, if you have questions, comments or great ideas for a blog … hit me up!
Seth Fowler is a licensed Real Estate Sales Professional for Williams Trew Real Estate in Fort Worth, TX. Statements and opinions are his and his alone. Seth has been involved with the home sales and real estate industry in the Fort Worth area since 2004. He and his family have lived in the area for over 15 years. Seth also loves bowties! You can reach Seth at: 817.980.6636 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
A new look at the prices sellers are asking for their homes is another sign of a shift in the North Texas housing market. Dallas-Fort Worth made it onto a list of 10 major cities that are seeing declines or just tiny increases in the asking prices for houses up for sale.
Researchers at property market firm Trulia compared major home market to see where list prices for homes were rising and where they were falling. All four of Texas' major home markets made the ranks of places where home value increases are stalling. That's obviously nowhere near the double-digit percentage annual home price gains North Texas recently saw. Trulia estimates that the median price of homes up for sale in D-FW was $356,999 in March. In March, homes listed for sale in North Texas traded for 98 percent of what they were listed for, according to local real estate data. Trulia's report that D-FW sellers aren't jacking up their asking prices as quickly this year is another indication that the home market dynamic is changing in the area.
The Dallas-Fort Worth area led the state in first-quarter home sales. Local real estate agents sold more than 20,000 homes in the area, according to a new report by the Texas Association of Realtors. It was more than a fourth of the total 70,292 Texas homes sold in the first three months of 2018. The Houston area was a close second with 17,652 sales. While D-FW hung onto its lead in Texas sales, the number of home purchases increased from first-quarter 2017 by less than 1 percent. D-FW's housing market shows signs of cooling from several years of rapid increases. D-FW median home sales prices in the first quarter were at an all-time high of just under $260,000, according to the Texas Association of Realtors.