Dallas Morning News- Steve Brown
The rebound in the North Texas housing market continued in April with a double-digit percentage rise in pre-owned home sales.
Local real estate agents sold more than 6,400 single-family homes last month, 11 percent more than in April 2011, according to numbers released Tuesday from the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University and North Texas Real Estate Information Systems Inc.
And median home sales prices were up 9 percent from a year earlier.
It was the 10th month in a row that home sales were higher than in the same period of the previous year.
The biggest increases in sales this year have come for homes priced at more than $150,000. Those sales increases have caused overall median prices to move higher than a year ago.
“Some of the change in median price may be explained by the mix of what sold,” said David Brown, a housing analyst with Metrostudy Inc. “I believe we are beginning to see price appreciation reappear in the market.”
First-time and moderate-income buyers are sometimes still having a tough time buying homes.
“With the challenges for mortgage qualification at the entry-level price points, activity remains sluggish to down” for lower-price home sales, said Ted Wilson of housing analyst Residential Strategies.
“Conversely, housing activity at the higher price points has been higher as households with good credit and job security want to take advantage of the low mortgage rates,” Wilson said.
A tighter inventory of homes listed for sale in 2012 is also causing prices to rise.
In April, there were 24 percent fewer single-family homes for sale in real estate agents’ multiple listing services. And there was only a 5.5-month supply of houses on the market, according to the latest housing market data.
Real estate agents are reporting multiple offers for homes in some neighborhoods with a short supply of houses.
“It just may be that we are rebounding faster than I thought,” said Dr. James Gaines, an economist with the Real Estate Center. “I had an upscale agent tell me that they are getting multiple offers for homes priced more than $1 million as long as the listing price isn’t just out in left field.
“I still think if we can be up somewhere between 3 percent to 5 percent [in price] for the whole year, we’ll be doing very well,” Gaines said. “Obviously, if the pace of sales keeps increasing and we keep the supply of properties offered for sale down, the prices are inevitably going to go up.”
So far in 2012, pre-owned house sales are running 14 percent ahead of where they were at this time last year.
And median home sales prices through the first four months were 6 percent ahead of the same period in 2011.