D-FW home prices top national median for first time in Realtors’ survey

The Dallas-Fort Worth area had one of the biggest home price increases in the country in the first quarter.

D-FW median home sale prices were 12.6 percent higher than in 2016, according to the National Association of Realtors quarterly home price survey.

The Washington-based trade group looks at 178 U.S. metropolitan areas for its quarterly comparison of housing costs. Nationwide, median home prices were up 6.9 percent from a year ago to $232,100.

The D-FW area for the first time surpassed the rest of the nation with a $236,500 median home sales price.

“We’ve seen it coming — I think higher prices are here to stay,” said Ted Wilson, with Dallas-based housing analyst Residential Strategies Inc. “There are more and more people chasing fewer and fewer lower-priced properties.”

Wilson said that D-FW median home prices have risen by almost $100,000 in the last six years because of a shortage of properties and huge population gains in the area.

“We are getting big-city prices,” he said.

Texas economist Mark Dotzour said he’s been “seeing this coming since 2009.”

“The question now is just how high homes in Dallas can go before people can no longer afford the payment and the taxes,” Dotzour said. 

The Realtors association said that first-quarter home prices were higher in 85 percent of the U.S. markets it tracks.

“Several metro areas with the healthiest job gains in recent years continue to see a large upswing in buyer demand but lack the commensurate ramp-up in new home construction,” Realtors chief economist Lawrence Yun said in the report. “This is why many of these areas — in particular several parts of the South and West — are seeing unhealthy price appreciation that far exceeds incomes.”

The D-FW area was among the more than two dozen U.S. markets that saw year-over-year double-digit price gains.

To show how tight the market is in North Texas, currently there are only three properties listed for sale at the median price in Realtor.com. And two of those are already under contract.

Nationwide, the largest first-quarter annual price increases were in Cumberland, W.Va. (21.4 percent), Vero Beach, Fla. (18.2 percent) and Ocala, Fla. (17.2 percent).

About two dozen markets had declines in prices, with the worst decreases in Elmira, N.Y. (-14.5 percent) and Binghamton, N.Y. (-14 percent).

Among the major Texas cities, D-FW had the greatest gains. Prices were up 6.9 percent in Houston, 6.2 percent in Austin and 3.6 percent in San Antonio.

As long as job growth and migration to North Texas remains strong, housing analysts don’t foresee a moderation in the rate of home price appreciation in the D-FW area.

“High demand is poised to continue heading into the summer as long as job gains continue,” Yun said. “However, many metro areas need to see a significant rise in new and existing inventory to meet this demand and cool down price growth.”


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