February was another scorching month for the North Texas housing market.
And median sales prices were 9 percent higher than a year earlier, according to data from the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University and the North Texas Real Estate Information Systems.
The rise in sales came as a result of more properties hitting the market for sale.
New listings were up 20 percent from a year ago and the total number of houses on the market was 4 percent higher — the first such increase in a couple of years.
“We are finally seeing inventory move up,” said David Brown with housing consultantMetrostudy Inc. “At the very end of last year we began to see more people listing their homes.”
Brown said this doesn’t mean the local housing market is about to shift gears.
“Inventories are still incredibly tight,” he said.
In February there was only a 2.1-month supply of houses listed for sale with real estate agents in North Texas.
A normal market is considered to be a 6-month inventory.
“We would have to see inventory jump 50 percent before we started talking about a shift in supply and demand,” Brown said. “Up until this point inventory hasn’t been growing because we have an incredible pent up demand.”
So far in 2016, North Texas home sales are up 17 percent from the same period last year.
Real estate agents in February sold 6,836 preownedsingle-family homes and 498 condominiums and townhouses.
The median price of homes sold through the real estate agents’ multiple listing service was $208,000.
Brown said the supply of home listings is lowest in the moderate and low-price properties.
“Where we are seeing more supply is $400,000 and up,” he said.
Strong job growth and a steady stream of new residents moving in to North Texas have caused a scarcity of homes, which has grown during the last few years.
In 2015, real estate agents sold a record 96,000 houses in the more than two dozen counties included in the Real Estate Center report.
Real estate agents say that the number of homes hitting the market has started to increase as sellers get ready for the traditional spring and summer selling season.
“Yes, the inventory is up a little bit,” said Mary Frances Burleson, CEO of Dallas-based Ebby Halliday Realtors. “But the market is still very tight.
“A lot of people would like to sell and move but they can’t find anyplace to go,” Burleson said.
Some potential sellers who have hoped to see an uptick in inventory may have decided to list their property this year.
“They are saying it’s not going to change so I might as well make the move now,” Burleson said. “I don’t think we are ever going to have the abundance of home listings we once had.”
The number of houses for sale in North Texas is now less than half of what it was six years ago. And median sales prices have risen by almost 50 percent since February 2010.
“I’ve never seen a market like this,” Burleson said.
Real estate agents and market analysts say that home sales would be much higher if there were more houses available — particularly in affordable price ranges.
“We are probably 40,000 units or so shy of where we should be in listings,” said Ted Wilson with Residential Strategies Inc. “As quickly as houses come on the market they are sold.”
March home sales are also likely to be up significantly.
The number of pending purchases in North Texas — houses under contract but not yet sold — is 41 percent higher than a year ago.