On the homefront
Real estate radar: New home sales are up 18 percent in Dallas, the highest inTexas
Good news for those who believe owning a home is an essential part of the American Dream. According to a recent housing market report by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, new home sales for 2012 have grown by 18 percent in Dallas, 16 percent in Houston and 13 percent in Austin.
This increased demand has bolstered the construction industry, which has been in recovery since 2011, when new home sales began rebounding. The report notes that foreclosures still threaten to derail the housing market's gains, as many homeowners are still holding onto underwater properties.
These factors all point to an increase in Texas home prices, as the current supply of homes (5.5 months worth at this pace) is below the threshold for steady sales. Dallas is below the state average in home inventory, with only an estimated four-month supply of homes for sale.
According to the report, "All the indicators for Texas suggest that prices are on an upswing."
Rents also are on the rise, as tighter credit requirements and low consumer confidence are pushing many people who would normally buy homes into renting instead. Apartment vacancy rates in Dallas have fallen from 8.2 percent in 2010 to 5.5 percent in 2012. As a result, the average Dallas rent has increased from $830 to $839 in the same time period. This is still less than the average renters pay in Austin ($940) and Houston ($852).
"Apartment rental rates are now high enough in some Texas metro areas to push renters or potential renters into the single-family market," the report states.