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North Texas home sales, housing starts continue to fall off

North Texas existing home sales are down 19.5 percent from last June, according to figures from the North Texas Real Estate Information System. The drop is the 17th month in a row that sales have fallen when compared to the same month the year before.

Meanwhile, a separate report showed North Texas home builders are continuing to respond to a dropoff in consumer demand by cutting home starts and chopping into the inventory they already have on the ground.

EXISTING HOME SALES

There were 7,371 existing home sales in the North Texas area that spans the 29-county area between north of Waco and the Oklahoma border. There were 9,163 homes sold in June 2007, according to NTREIS.

Though the June figure reflects fewer sales than the previous June, it is still the second-highest volume of home sales since last August. Only last month had higher sales.

For the first half of the year, the area has seen 38,453 homes sold. That is 15 percent fewer that the same time a year ago.

The median price of a home in the area remained the same as a year ago at $158,580, according to the figures.

Sellers are waiting 13 percent longer to sell their home, with the average days a home sits on the market up to 77 days from a year ago.

The number of pending sales, or homes that are expected to close in the near future, is down 33 percent from a year ago.

NEW HOME SALES

North Texas home builders are continuing to respond to a dropoff in consumer demand by cutting home starts and chopping into the inventory they already have on the ground.

Homebuilders started 25,802 homes in the second quarter, a 33.6 percent drop from a year ago, according to figures released Tuesday morning from the Dallas office of MetroStudy.

Builders closed 32,252 homes last quarter, or 27.2 percent fewer than the second quarter of 2007, according to MetroStudy.

There are now 19,346 inventory homes in North Texas, or 24.5 percent fewer than a year ago, according to the figures.

The reduction in inventory is a healthy response from builders, said David Brown, director of MetroStudy’s Dallas/Fort Worth office.

That restraint, paired with the strongest job growth in the country, puts the Dallas-Fort Worth area in a better position than most other parts of the country, he said. That dynamic is positioning the area better for not feeling a housing slump as severely and coming out of it quicker, Brown said.

In the meantime, consumer confidence is taking a beating from a bear stock market and the wide effects of $4 gasoline.

“We are creating some pent-up demand in the marketplace,” Brown said. “Once that confidence comes back, the buyers will come back.”

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