It was the sixth month in a row that home sales in the area were up by double-digit percentages from a year earlier.
For the first half of 2012, the number of homes sold by real estate agents through their multiple listing service is up 14 percent from the same period last year, according to the latest numbers from the Real Estate Center at Texas AandM University and North Texas Real Estate Information Systems.
“We are having a better sales season than we have had in the last few years,” said James Gaines, an economist with the Real Estate Center. “People are a little more confident about buying a house.
“And it’s registering with them that interest rates won’t stay this low forever.”
Last month, real estate agents sold 7,796 houses in North Texas, the largest one-month total for the area in about four years.
Local home sales prices also spiked.
The median price of homes sold by Realtors was $167,500. That’s up 12 percent from a year earlier to a record high for monthly MLS sales in North Texas.
But housing analysts warn that the median price number gains overstate the home market recovery. Median prices reflect both the value and composition of home sales.
“There is a tide rising, but I still believe this big increase is more a function of a lot of higher-priced homes sold,” Gaines said. “And the number of foreclosures coming to the market is down.”
Sales of previously foreclosed homes at discounts drag down overall prices.
Ted Wilson, a housing analyst with Dallas’ Residential Strategies Inc., also believes the 12 percent median increase in June prices has mostly to do with large numbers of expensive homes changing hands.
“The people that are trading houses are those with the stronger credit scores, and they tend to buy the more expensive houses,” Wilson said. “That’s what is ticking up the prices.
“The sales activity at the lower price points has not been as robust.”
Sale prices in the moderately priced Cedar Hill market, which has suffered high volumes of foreclosures, dropped another 4 percent in June from a year ago.
But in the exclusive neighborhoods of Westlake and Trophy Club northeast of Fort Worth, median home sales prices last month were up almost 50 percent from a year ago.
Even with these disparities, Wilson said, there is no doubt that North Texas’ housing market has turned the corner in terms of both prices and sales.
“This strong spring sales period has some legs to it,” Wilson said. “I think it’s going to continue through the rest of this year.”
The inventory of homes for sale in the more than two dozen North Texas counties included in the monthly survey was down more than 20 percent in June.
And the average time it takes to sell a house last month fell to 68 days, down 20 percent from a year ago.
There’s about a five-month supply of homes on the market in North Texas.
“Normally, when it’s in the range of five months or less its indicative of a strong seller’s market, but I think that’s misleading,” Gaines said.
“The market is definitely improved. But to say it is a strong market or robust market is premature,” he said. “We are still maybe a couple of years from being able to say we have a solid, sustainable market.”
June’s strong pre-owned home sales numbers are in line with gains made in the new-home market.
During the second quarter, starts for single-family homes in the Dallas-Fort Worth area rose 22 percent from a year earlier. And new home sales were up 15 percent this spring from 2011 levels, according to data from Metrostudy Inc.
Dallas-Fort Worth home resales
June pre-owned home sales and prices, with change from a year ago:
Average days on market
Listed for sale
SOURCES: Real Estate Center at Texas AandM University; North Texas Real Estate Information Systems
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