Residential real estate professionals in Dallas-Fort Worth say they expect the region’s historically resilient housing market to recover fairly soon after any drop-offs due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In February, sales of existing homes in Texas notched their eighth month of growth. Home showings across the state have tapered off in the wake of coronavirus concerns and restrictions. As of March 29, home showings in Texas were down 55 percent compared with their 2020 peak and with the same time in 2019, according to ShowingTime.com.
“The economic and public health response to the novel coronavirus will drastically affect housing market activity in coming months,” James Gaines, chief economist at Texas A&M University’s Real Estate Center, says in a March 20 release.
Nonetheless, history shows DFW can weather the storm.
Bill Head, a spokesman for the MetroTex Association of Realtors, offers a pretty upbeat outlook for the DFW housing market.
“We still have low interest rates, and DFW has proven to be a resilient market in the past,” Head says. “I do think that investment in real estate is a very safe option right now, and the market can withstand this new reality and will stay quite healthy.”
Head says it’s still too early to tell how the coronavirus pandemic will affect home sales in Dallas-Fort Worth. That’s because buyers haven’t closed on most of the homes that have gone under contract since the onset of COVID-19, he says.
Even in light of the coronavirus pandemic, Dallas-Fort Worth has plenty going for it. Here are a few examples:
- A ranking published March 11 by mortgage website HSH.com ranked the Dallas area third and the Fort Worth area fourth on a list of U.S. regions whose housing markets had recovered the most since the Great Recession.
- A study recently published by The Zebra, an Austin-based insurance marketplace, ranked Dallas-Fort Worth third for the best home values among major U.S. metro areas.
- As the pace of the coronavirus crisis was picking up in February, labor analysis firm ThinkWhy ranked DFW as the third hottest market for the most in-demand occupations in the U.S., behind Seattle and Philadelphia.
Taylor Walcik, a broker associate at Presley + Matthews, points out that DFW buyers are still hunting for homes. But they’ve largely shifted their searches to video tours and other online tools, in large part because in-person showings are temporarily prohibited in some parts of the area.
Terry Tremaine, an agent at Century 21 Mike Bowman, says some agents are scheduling FaceTime appointments with sellers.
For some potential buyers, interest in the home market has waned. A March survey of 2,900 North American visitors to the website of home marketplace Point2 Homes found that 35 percent had stopped actively searching for a home until the coronavirus pandemic subsides.
“I think once we are in the clear and things return to normal, the buyers that would have purchased during the quarantine will still be in the market,” Walcik says. “I think we will see a surge in activity, and we will be playing catch-up and trying to get these buyers under contract for the remainder of 2020.”
Even before the coronavirus pandemic, a slim home inventory in DFW was complicating home searches. And in the short term, that problem will be aggravated because, according to Tremaine, some sellers have pulled their homes off the market during the pandemic.
Bill Jordan, a broker at Longhorn Real Estate, notes that the chief concern of prospective buyers over the next few months will be the mortgage market, which he fears will see some disruption. Thirty-one percent of those surveyed by Points2 Home said their No. 1 worry was not being financially stable enough to afford a home.
Despite coronavirus-related setbacks, residential real estate professionals are optimistic about the long-term prospects for the DFW home market.
“I think the market will remain a good investment and the market will be fine, given these unfortunate circumstances,” Tremaine says.