Real Estate Ups and Downs

First-time Texas homebuyers bear the brunt of record low inventory

First-time Texas homebuyers bear the brunt of record low inventory

Exterior of 1500 Stoneham Place in Richardson
Home prices were up in Dallas for the first quarter of the year, but there isn't much on the market to buy. Photo courtesy of Ebby Halliday/Shoot 2 Sell

Good news if you're planning to sell your home, not so good if you're looking to buy: According to the Texas Quarterly Housing Report, even though median home prices were up statewide in the first quarter of 2015, housing inventory hit an all-time low.

In Dallas specifically, home sales in 1Q2015 were up 1.82 percent over the same period last year, and the median price increased nearly 12 percent — from $192,600 to $215,700. Available homes for sale, though, have dropped 18 percent, to just 1.8 months of inventory.

In Fort Worth, sales were up 4.43 percent, median price was up 13.62 percent and inventory plummeted 25 percent from first quarter of 2014, to 2.1 months. Collin County had very little change in home sales, but there isn't that much there to buy: Inventory dropped more than 13 percent, down to only 1.3 months of inventory.

Across Texas, the 1Q2015 numbers look like this: Sales were up a little more than 4 percent; the median price went up nearly 8 percent; and inventory was down almost 9 percent, to 3.1 months, a new record low.

“The first quarter of the year is typically a slow period for home buying and selling, so we were thrilled to see strong home sales gains statewide in the first part of 2015,” says Scott Kesner, chairman of the Texas Association of Realtors, in a release. 

The news isn't entirely rosy if you're a first-time homebuyer, because low inventory and high prices can spell trouble down the road.

“Homes are being built as quickly as possible, yet most are not in the price range where inventory is needed most – the entry-level market,” says Jim Gaines, Ph.D., economist with the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University. “Interest rates are still low, but tight lending standards, rising home prices and slim inventory have created a tough market for first-time homebuyers.”

You can read the first-quarter report in its entirety at the Texas Association of Realtors website.