The newest Texas Quarterly Housing Report from the Texas Association of Realtors (TAR) continued the good economic news for the state, reporting another jump in sales that suggests the state’s market may be returning to normal, pre-boom volumes.
“The market is starting to look like it did before the real estate boom and bust. Sales this quarter are comparable to levels in 2002 and 2003, indicating the market is returning to a more normal sales pace,” said Jim Gaines, an economist with the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University.
For the third quarter (July through September 2011), single-family home sales in Texas were 58,019, an 18 percent increase over the same quarter in 2010. Dwight Hale, the chairman of TAR, said that even though high sales were expected, the data is nonetheless welcome.
“We expected a significant jump in sales this quarter because, this time last year, sales were artificially low due to the homebuyer tax credit that pushed demand into the second quarter,” Hale said. “Overall, we are thrilled by the performance of the market this quarter and believe these results illustrate the strength of Texas’ housing economy.”
Data was a bit more mixed with prices and inventory. Though sales were up, median price remained flat at $151,800, and average price was actually down by 1 percent to $197,833.
Inventory, though, showed promise, with Texas’ 7.4 months of inventory down by 0.6 from last year. The decrease, Gaines said, suggest less distressed properties.
“Listings were down in part due to fewer distressed properties on the market as Texas’ foreclosure rates declined in recent months,” Gaines explained. “While Texas does not have the backlog of foreclosures seen in many other states, we do still have some pending. As these distressed properties hit the market, we will probably see a fluctuation in inventory in the coming months.”