Sales, prices of pre-owned homes in Dallas area rose in first quarter

Posted by Emily Ray-Porter Group on Tuesday, April 10th, 2012 at 9:52am.

The housing market experienced a surge in the first quarter.

Pre-owned home sales were up 16 percent in the first three months of 2012 from the same period last year. And median home resale prices were up a solid 5 percent.

The price bump was even higher in March, with median prices up 11 percent from a year ago, according to numbers released Monday from the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University and North Texas Real Estate Information Systems Inc.

“The encouraging news is that March is the first real month of the selling season,” said Dr. James Gaines, an economist with the real estate center. “You can’t argue with the strength of these numbers.

“And you shouldn’t be surprised for the second quarter to see numbers as similarly good,” he said.

March was the ninth month in a row that pre-owned home sales in North Texas were higher than in the same month the year before.

And the $155,000 price for a median single-family home sold through the real estate agents’ Multiple Listing Service was the best since 2009.

“It may reflect that we are reducing the number of distressed home sales — I hope that’s what it means,” Gaines said. “Our markets appear to be strong enough to absorb whatever comes through.”

The quarter’s biggest increases in pre-owned home sales were for properties priced between $150,000 and $250,000.

Last year, most of the gains were in sales of higher-price houses.

“That means the lenders are beginning to get more realistic in their underwriting and not making it quite as tough to buy a home,” Gaines said.

The rise in March home sales and strong median price numbers are the latest in a string of upbeat housing numbers for North Texas.

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