August 01, 2011 — Austin
According to the most recent Texas Quarterly Housing Report, the effects of last year’s federal homebuyer tax credits continued to linger for the Texas real estate market in the second quarter of 2011.
As described in the report, the volume of single family home sales was 58,795, 12% less than the same quarter of the prior year during which sales volumes were bolstered by expiring homebuyer tax credits.
Dwight Hale, chairman of the Texas REALTORS®, commented on the results, “Though statewide sales volume was down compared to 2010, when the tax credits were having the biggest impact on our market, we’re right on pace with the second quarter of 2009. In addition, Texas has dominated national headlines for economic strength, which makes it clear the recovery continues in our state.”
Jim Gaines, Ph.D., an economist with the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University, also commented on the results, “Given the impact of last year’s tax credits, I’m not surprised to see fewer sales this quarter compared to last year. If anything, I’m surprised to see that sales volumes didn’t lag further behind 2010.”
Real estate prices during the second quarter of 2011 indicate strength in the Texas market. The median price was $150,400, one percent higher than the same quarter of 2010. The average price in 2011-Q2 was $201,288, 4.6% higher than 2010-Q2.
Gaines explained, “The increase in the average price of Texas homes indicates more activity among higher priced homes. Buyers of higher priced homes have been less impacted by tightened mortgage lending standards and real estate has been an attractive investment vehicle due to instability in other investments, such as securities.”
He continued, “It’s also important to note that Texas’s price stability is in sharp contrast to many other parts of the country that have seen steep drop-offs in both median and average price.”
Another important market indicator is the inventory of homes available for sale compared with the demand to buy homes. Measured in months, Texas had 8.1 months of inventory in the second quarter of 2011 compared to 7.2 months in Q2-2010. That’s 12.5% longer – or just less than 30 days of additional inventory – compared to the same time period last year.
As Gaines explained, several factors contribute to this change. “Based on how this figure is calculated, estimates of demand for real estate have been impacted by last year’s tax credits. In addition, additional inventory is entering some markets as banks resume foreclosure proceedings previously delayed by investigations into robo-signing. In general, our inventory is only slightly beyond what we consider to be a balanced market.”
Gaines also commented on overall trends in the report, “More than in past quarters, we see a lot of variability among the 47 Texas markets included in this report. In general, markets that saw the greatest increases in sales volume when the tax credit was available are the same markets now seeing the greatest decreases after its expiration. As always, it’s important for buyers to evaluate their own local market and even their own submarket – down to the neighborhood level, in many cases – to make informed buying and selling decisions.”
The Texas Quarterly Housing Report is issued four times per year by the Texas REALTORS® with multiple listing service data compiled and analyzed by the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University.