By STEVE BROWN / The Dallas Morning News
North Texas home sales roared back in March, ending a three-month string of declines.
And even more encouraging, median home sales prices increased by 6 percent from a year ago.
The upbeat home market data gives more proof that the worst of the local housing market downturn is in the rear-view mirror.
Real estate agents sold 6,036 pre-owned single-family homes in March, according to the latest statistics from the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University and the North Texas Real Estate Information Systems. It was the strongest one-month home sales total since last September.
Both the March and September sales got a boost from federal tax credits aimed at first-time buyers. The current program – which ends this month – also provides a tax credit for some repeat buyers.
The median price of pre-owned homes sold last month was $144,900. That’s the highest price since last summer.
Real estate analysts point out that current home sales are compared to a year-ago period when the housing market was at its lowest point, so some increase is to be expected as the economic tailspin has ended.
The latest North Texas housing report indicates that the housing market surge is likely to continue at least for a while.
Pending pre-owned home sales in North Texas were up 22 percent at the end of March.
So far the uptick in home activity hasn’t prompted more sellers to enter the market. Last month, 36,730 pre-owned single-family homes were up for sale in local real estate agents’ multiple listing services. That’s 6 percent fewer home sales listings than in March 2009.
There is currently a 6.4-month supply of homes on the market in North Texas – close to what is considered a balanced market.
But that doesn’t include some previously foreclosed homes that aren’t being sold through the multiple listing service.
With March’s strong home sales numbers, year-to-date prices are up 3 percent from the first quarter of 2009 and total sales are up a scant 1 percent.
Real estate analysts worry that the home market could still lose steam when federal incentives to purchase houses end on April 30.