After sharp declines in April and May, home sales in Northern Texas recovered in June. Real estate agents in the region sold 16% more single-family homes than in June 2019.
The increase is after a 25% year-over-year decrease in May and a 17% decrease in April, according to the Texas A&M University Real Estate Center and North Texas Real Estate Information Systems.
Last month's sales of 11,987 hit a record high for June, more than 40% higher than in May.
While the recovery in home sales is good news for a local economy hit by COVID-19, it is unclear how much the increase in home sales in June was caused by sales delayed by the pandemic.
During the curfew in late March and April, many home buyers and sellers put their plans on hold.
Now that the economy has picked up again, real estate agents are saying they see more buyer traffic.
"Despite the recent surge in positive COVID-19 cases, the North Texas population appears to be on the move and looking for homes," said Ted Wilson, principal at Residential Strategies, a Dallas-based real estate analyst. "The surge in sales in June is likely to reflect some buyers who delayed buying decisions earlier this spring."
Almost record-low mortgage rates are attractive to consumers.
"When the 30-year mortgage rate approaches 3%, buyers are clearly offside," said Wilson. "For households that can qualify to buy a home, many use the low money costs to improve their lives. The activity is particularly strong among millennial first-time buyers and homes with prices below $ 300,000."
Outstanding house sales – properties under contract but not yet sold – were 28% higher at the end of last month than in the previous year, indicating that more property purchases are planned.
Average real estate sales prices in Northern Texas rose 3% yoy in June after falling 1% yoy in May.
The number of houses on the market with real estate agents continues to decrease as fewer sellers offer their properties for sale.
At the end of June, there were 36% fewer apartments in the region than in 2019.
In the more than two dozen counties in northern Texas included in the survey, only 17,222 single-family homes with real estate agents were offered for sale.
Real estate agents in North Texas sold 51,229 single-family homes in the first six months of the year – 2% less than in the first half of 2019.
The biggest increases in sales this year have been in property prices between $ 250,000 and $ 500,000. Sales of homes from $ 900,000 decreased in the first six months of 2020.
Texas economist Mark Dotzour said the pandemic hadn't eliminated the desire to buy home, and the June sales increase was a positive indicator.
"There is no corner to turn to – it is just a continuation of the strong demand that started around Labor Day," said Dotzour. "People want to own houses. The lack of supply is only exacerbated by the banks' tight credit appetite. This will push up prices even further. The bottom third of the market is still on fire."
Real estate agents say their business is picking up.
"At Ebby Halliday Companies, our outstanding contracts have increased 20% and listings 21%," said Chris Kelly, CEO of the residential property sales company.
Even with the latest positive novelties on the home front, economists are cautious.
Employment in the DFW region has dropped by more than 200,000 jobs due to the pandemic. And given the rising infection rates in Texas, there are concerns about a possible economic standstill.
A new forecast from CoreLogic warns that property prices in the Dallas region could fall by up to 6% next year.