North Texas Home Sales Drop 25%
Even the healthier real estate markets are having a sluggish end to the year when it comes to sales. Dallas-Fort Worth home sales were down across the board by about one quarter during the month of November, the sixth straight month of declines in North Texas. So far this year, D/FW sales in North Texas are down by 7 percent from 2009 levels. And don't expect a lot of big sales under the tree this month.
Through the first 11 months of 2010, about 59,000 North Texas houses have been sold by agents, according to data released Tuesday by the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University and North Texas Real Estate Information Systems. Realtors say sellers sigh about decreased traffic at listings.
"I know it's a traditionally slow season for real estate," the owner/seller of a Westlake property told me, "but it would be nice to see some movement.This wait and see is a killer."
Sellers are also noting that it takes longer to sell a home in D/FW -- up 12 percent to 85 days on the market, reminiscent of early 2009.
David Brown, director of Metrostudy Inc.'s Dallas-Fort Worth office, anticipates the average days on the market increasing in early 2011 before it begins to retreat again next spring.
But real estate is always a highly localized story, and sales of high end homes in some areas have actually pushed average sales prices in Dallas Fort Worth up a scad -
one percent in November. This is thanks to a flurry of sales in the more expensive neighborhoods of North Dallas, Park Cities and Westlake. Home sales were up 10 percent in Far North Dallas and up 88 percent in North Dallas in November, compared to a year earlier. Sales fell in moderate and lower priced neighborhoods, by a whopping 54 percent in Lancaster. Experts say this may be due to the higher mortgage standards required of lower income buyers. The median value of a home in D/FW is now $142,000.
Many of those home sales came from foreigners. Robbie Briggs, CEO of the high-end local boutique firm Briggs Freeman , says he had 25 Chinese nationals in town recently looking to buy high end homes. Many Mexican nationals have also purchased homes recently in the exclusive Dallas neighborhood of Park Cities. Briggs Freeman recently franchised with Sotheby's International Realty and will be the areas' exclusive Sotheby's franchise. Briggs says the move was made to attract the growing corporate heads from California and New York, where Sotheby's is well-known, who are shopping Dallas a lot these days. In his view, the housing market has started to recover and Sotheby's wanted a strong representation in the Dallas market.
"Our residential sales volume is up fifty percent so far this year," says Briggs. "You can't just look at real estate dollars, you have to look at the district."
Experts hope there is a spill-over effect. They are telling Dallas area agents to eat their Wheaties for an active spring market, as the economy and job market here continues to improve.
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