New home starts on the rise in North Texas

Posted Friday, Apr. 05, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Home builders started construction on the most homes in five years during the first quarter, as job and population growth continued to fuel a housing rebound in North Texas, according to two market reports released Thursday.

Home starts reached 4,312 in the first three months of the year, up 35 percent from the same period of 2012, said Dallas-based MetroStudy.

"It is likely home builders will start over 20,000 homes in 2013," said David Brown, MetroStudy's Dallas-Fort Worth regional director. "Starts in 2013, however, will still be 60 percent below the peak activity level in 2006."

A low supply of new and existing homes for sale, as well as a growing job market, is creating demand for the faster building pace and an increase in home prices, Brown said.

Ted Wilson, principal with Dallas-based Residential Strategies, said the strengthening economy and low mortgage rates also make new homes compelling to potential buyers.

"With the extremely tight inventory of existing home listings, consumers increasingly are gravitating to the new home market," Wilson said.

This week, CoreLogic said that Fort Worth-Arlington home prices, excluding distressed sales, increased 8.8 percent in February from last year. On a monthly basis, home prices increased 2.5 percent in February from January.

MetroStudy said there were 3,182 finished vacant homes in Dallas-Fort Worth at the end of March, less than half the inventory at the end of 2008, the last year that builders started 20,000 homes.

North of Dallas, Frisco and McKinney showed the largest increase in starts in the region over the last year. But the recovery has also spread to other areas in the last six months including Grand Prairie, Crowley, Burleson and southwest Tarrant County, MetroStudy said.

At the end of the quarter, MetroStudy said, the inventory of lots fell to 50,721, the lowest level in five years.

Sandra Baker, 817-390-7727

Twitter: @SandraBakerFWST

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