The Property Game

You want to buy an affordable house in Dallas? Good luck with that.

You want to buy an affordable house in Dallas? Good luck with that.

10731 Bridge Hollow Court in Dallas
Your chances of finding a premium house like this in Dallas are much higher than scoring a starter home. Photo courtesy of Allie Beth Allman & Associates

If you're a first-time homebuyer in Dallas, we have some not-so-good news to report: Affordable housing is vanishing. It's a national phenomenon, according to real estate website Trulia, as the number of starter homes has dropped 43.6 percent across the country since 2012. But things are especially grim in Dallas.

Trulia took all the available homes on the market in the first quarter of 2016 and split them into three sections based on price: starter homes, trade-up homes, and premium homes. In Dallas, Trulia says a starter home now has a median list price of $98,750, a trade-up can most likely be yours for $199,250, and a premium home costs $476,950.

Locally, the inventory for starter homes is down 70 percent from the first quarter of 2012. That's the 12th worst among the 100 markets studied. Even more troubling, inventory is down 74 percent in the trade-up category — which means Dallas has seen the third most dramatic shrinkage there.

Only 15 percent of all homes listed in Dallas since the beginning of 2016 are classified as starter homes; 20.6 percent qualify as trade-ups. So if you're looking for homes priced at $200,000 or less, you'll likely end up in a bidding war — or you won't find anything at all.

Premium homes, on the other hand, account for more than 60 percent of the available inventory so far this year, with 3,874 available homes, compared to a measly 926 starter homes.

Austin and San Antonio have suffered worse declines than Dallas in starter-home inventory, but prices here have gone up the most — 41.1 percent — in that bracket compared to everywhere else in the state. The median list price in the trade-up category has gone up even more — 47.6 percent — and that is also the highest in Texas.

Sure sounds like a good time to sell, though.