Sales of new homes in North Texas reaches six-year high

It has taken six years, but home builders sold more homes in the three months ending Sept. 30 than in any quarter since 2008 at the start of the housing downturn, according to the latest market report from Residential Strategies.

In the quarter, 5,853 home sales were closed, the report said. Builders also started construction on 6,511 homes between July and September, an 11.4 percent increase from the same period a year ago. The figures boosted the annual rate for North Texas 17 percent ahead of last year, to 24,454 new homes in the past 12 months.

Job growth in North Texas continues to fuel the home building market, said Ted Wilson, a principal with Dallas-based Residential Strategies.

“Production builders reported to us that they experienced a solid summer sales period,” Wilson said in the report. “Start activity remains strong as builders maintain healthy sales backlogs and are working to re-establish depleted speculative inventory.”

Builders, though, are concerned about affordability in the coming months, Wilson said. They have had to raise prices to keep up with rising material costs and higher land prices, he said.

In five years, the median price of a new home has increased by $69,000, or 33 percent, to $275,000, the report said.

At the end of September, 10,465 homes were under construction, 471 more than the same time last year. Moreover, finished vacant housing inventory rose slightly in the quarter to 3,169 homes, up 204 from the end of the second quarter.

The supply of vacant developed lots, those ready for home building, ended the quarter at 50,807, enough for a little more than two years of construction, the report said.