Dallas-Fort Worth is No. 2 in New-Home Sales, starts

By STEVE BROWN / The Dallas Morning News
stevebrown@dallasnews.com

http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/classifieds/news/homecenter/realestate/stories/05020DNBUSnewhomes.1b509c95.html

Despite huge cuts in the residential construction business, Dallas-Fort Worth still ranks second in the country in new-home sales and starts.

Only Houston had more new-house construction and sales during the 12-month period ending in March, housing analyst Metrostudy Inc. said Tuesday in a new report.

“I expect the D-FW area and Houston to continue to lead the nation in new-home starts and closings,” said David Brown, who heads Metrostudy’s Dallas office. “Even though activity has fallen off dramatically, the slowdown in Dallas-Fort Worth and other Texas markets is not nearly as severe as other markets around the country.

“Dallas-Fort Worth and Texas have not been as severely affected by the recession as other regions of the country,” he said. “Consequently, consumer confidence is much stronger in our region than any other area in the country.”

Builders have cut the number of home starts in North Texas more than 50 percent in the last year because of the housing sector decline and slumping national economy.

But builders still started more than 17,000 houses in D-FW during the 12 months ending in March, Metrostudy said. At the same time, they sold almost 24,000 houses.

“Homebuilders are still challenged by economic conditions, but there are some positive trends,” Brad Hunter, Metrostudy’s chief economist, said in the report.

Sales are running ahead of construction in every market Metrostudy surveyed, he said.

“We are probably bottoming out in terms of single-family housing starts right now, but that does not mean we will return to the boom levels,” Hunter said.

Dallas-Fort Worth single-family home construction peaked in 2006, when almost 50,000 houses were started.

Builders in North Texas and across the nation have reported an uptick in home sales since federal tax credits that give first-time buyers $8,000 took effect.

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