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N. Texas home sales up in September; new home starts off

Two separate reports on North Texas housing Tuesday raised hopes for the industry.

North Texas homebuilders continue to aggressively pull back on the number of homes they build and whittle away at selling their inventories, according to the third-quarter figures from Metrostudy, a housing tracking service.

That, in the context of some of the best job growth activity in the country, puts North Texas housing activity on track to start meaningful growth around the middle of 2009, said David Brown, director of Metrostudy’s Dallas-Fort Worth area.

In a second report, North Texas existing home sales in September were up 2 percent over a year ago, breaking a 19-month string of home sales in which activity was lower than the year before, the North Texas Real Estate Information System and Texas A&M University said.

CONSTRUCTION STARTS

Builders have started 22,739 homes in the past 12 months in North Texas, a 35.7 percent drop from the pace in the 12 months that ended in the third quarter of 2007, Metrostudy said in its report.

Builders started construction on 5,551 homes in the third quarter, down 34.5 percent fall from the third quarter of 2007.

The inventory of new, unsold homes on the market is now at 17,602, down 27 percent from a year ago. The pace of selling new homes picked up in the third quarter and was the best quarter for home sales all year.

Builders closed on 7,185 homes in the third quarter. That is 28.4 percent less than a year ago, but 7.8 percent higher than last quarter.

EXISTING HOME SALES

North Texas existing home sales in September were up 2 percent over a year ago, breaking a 19-month string of home sales in which activity was lower than the year before.

There were 6,392 home sales in the 29-county area that spans the area north of Waco to the Oklahoma border, according to figures released Tuesday from the North Texas Real Estate Information System and Texas A&M University.

The volume was the least number of sales since February, but still better than last September.

There are 12 percent fewer sales in the first 9 months of 2008 than during the same period a year ago, according to the figures.

In September, the median home price in North Texas was $147,000. That’s 2 percent less than a year ago.

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