North Texas existing home sales declined by 4 percent in March

Existing home sales in North Texas registered the first noticeable dip in nearly three years in March as sales continued to indicate a slowdown in the housing market, according to data from the Texas A&M Real Estate Center.

Last month, 7,116 homes were sold in the 29-county region, down 4 percent from March 2013. Sales were down on a monthly year-over-year basis for the first time since mid-2011 in January, but they rose slightly in February.

For the first three months of 2014, sales were down 2 percent, the report says.

Despite the dip, buyers are still paying more for their homes. The median price in March was $180,000, 8 percent ahead of a year ago. For the first three months, the median price was $174,000, up 9 percent from the first quarter of 2013, the report shows.

Pending sales were also down 1 percent in March and down 3 percent for the first quarter, the report said. Fewer people were listing their houses, too, as new listings fell 3 percent in March and are down 4 percent for the year.

In response to low inventories, builders have stepped up construction of new homes, with starts increasing by 59 percent from the first quarter of 2013, Residential Strategies said last week.

Sales were down in several Northeast Tarrant cities including Bedford, Hurst, Grapevine, Southlake, Keller, North Richland Hills and Richland Hills, as well as in far north Fort Worth and Roanoke.

The Real Estate Center compiles its numbers from the Realtor-fed multiple listing service databases.