Fewer people bought existing homes in North Texas last month, but the ones that did buy paid a little more than what they would have a year ago, according to the latest monthly housing market report from Texas A&M University.
North Texas existing home sales were down 1 percent in January, to 4,682 homes, according to the report released Monday by A&M’s Real Estate Center.
It was the first monthly year-over-year decline for home sales since mid-2011 and real estate agents blamed low supply of homes for sale. The North Texas region was also hard-hit last month by ice storms and bitterly cold temperatures that may have kept some buyers at homes.
“The consensus in our office is that it is lack of inventory more than any other one thing, even moreso than the weather,” said Jaci Coan, a broker/owner of Re/Max Trinity in Fort Worth. “Every house for sale has multiple offers and multiple buyers. That’s what it has been.”
Lisa Elkins, an agent with Century 21 Judge Fite Co., said the bad weather last month did make it difficult to get out and show homes. But when a home did hit the multiple listing service, she said, “we were all showing it. We have such a great market.”
She’s advising clients that if a particular house they’ve seen meets five of the six features that make up their dream home, “make an offer. It’s because of inventory.”
Last month, the median sale price rose 10 percent to $165,000, the report shows. And the number of homes listed for sale in January fell to 19,090 homes, down 13 percent from January of 2012.
The slightly slower start to the year may have been a little startling because it comes on the heels of a strong home-selling market in Texas in 2013, a market that has been gaining steam for the past two years and the best year since the housing slump started about 2007.
Demand for homes this year should not diminish much, analysts say.
In a recent report, Jim Gaines, a Real Estate Center economist said, “Demand for Texas homes in 2014 should continue, but it’s possible that a shortage of inventory could inhibit sales volumes. The steady price increases we’ve seen recently should help alleviate that, enticing more sellers into the market, but buyers should continue to expect to compete for desirable properties.”
The year ended strong in Tarrant County. In the fourth quarter, 1,141 homes were sold in Arlington, 12.8 percent ahead of prior year, according to the recent Texas Quarterly Housing Report of the Texas Association of Realtors. The median price rose nearly 14 percent to $145,600 and, at the end of the year, Arlington only had a two-month supply of inventory, down 33 percent from a year ago.
In Fort Worth, 2,513 homes were sold in the fourth quarter, a 16.1 percent increase. The median price was $135,000, up 12.8 percent, and Fort Worth had slightly more than a three-month supply of homes, down 25.5 percent from a year ago.
And in Northeast Tarrant County, 1,954 homes were sold in the fourth quarter, up 8.3 percent increase from the 2012 quarter and the median price climbed 9.3 percent to $187,900.
In January, Watauga saw the heaviest sales gain, rising 106 percent from the same month a year ago. And central west and southwest Fort Worth saw the largest percentage gain in the median sales price, up 74 percent to $263,500, the Real Estate Center report shows.
The Real Estate Center compiles data from multiple listing services.