North Texas Home Sales Rebound in April
North Texas home sales rebound in April after declines in the first quarter. More than 9,600 single-family homes were sold by local real estate agents — 5% more than in April 2018. The increase in area home purchases last month followed several months of weakening sales due to affordability issues and upticks in mortgage costs.
April's year-over-year sales gain wasn't enough to make up for weaker homebuying earlier in the year. So far in 2019, North Texas real estate agents have sold 30,567 houses, 1% less than in the first four months of 2018, according to data from the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University and the North Texas Real Estate Information Systems. "The increase in April sales reflects what we are hearing in the market," said Ted Wilson, principal with Dallas-based housing consultant Residential Strategies Inc. "As the mortgage rates started to drop in January and February, we heard better sales numbers." Average interest rates charged on a 30-year home loan spiked in late 2018 to near 5%, causing some homebuyers to pull back from the market. That contributed to lower sales numbers early this year. Since then, mortgage costs have retreated, closer to 4%.
"The downtick we saw in the mortgage rates is probably the most important reason the market has rebound," Wilson said. Dallas-Fort Worth home sales by Realtors were down 2.5% in the first quarter. And median sales prices were only about 1% higher than in the same period of 2018, according to the Texas Realtors trade association.
In April, median home sales prices in the area were up 4% from a year earlier to $265,000. More than 24,000 houses were listed for sale with real estate agents at the end of last month in the more than two dozen North Texas counties included in the survey — 19% more listings than in April 2018. The average time it took to sell a home in the area was 51 days — 16% higher than a year ago. At the end of April, there were 11,523 sales pending but not closed, 2% ahead of 2018. Housing activity in North Texas has cooled in the last year due to years of rising prices that have strained affordability. The D-FW is still one of the country's top markets for employment growth and population gains, which drive housing demand.
"A lot of the improvement we are seeing in the housing market has to do with consumer confidence, which has bounced back," Wilson said. "They are feeling a little better about the economy and the housing market...