May 01, 2015 — Austin
Texas housing demand remained strong in the first quarter of 2015, with home sales posting unseasonal gains and housing inventory falling to an all-time low, according to the 2015-Q1 Texas Quarterly Housing Report released today by the Texas REALTORS®.
“The first quarter of the year is typically a slow period for homebuying and selling, so we were thrilled to see strong home sales gains statewide in the first part of 2015,” said Scott Kesner, chairman of the Texas REALTORS®. “Market conditions are ripe for another competitive summer selling season in 2015. Texans looking to make a move this summer should begin working with a Texas REALTOR® now to prepare.”
According to the 2015-Q1 Texas Quarterly Housing Report, 57,818 homes were sold in Texas in the first quarter of 2015, a 4.16% increase from the same quarter of 2014. This is a significant change from the first half of last year, when Texas home sales were essentially flat.
Monthly housing inventory continued to drop in the first three months of 2015, falling to a new all-time low of 3.1 months in 2015-Q1. This is a decrease of 8.82% from 2014-Q1 and is less than half the 6.5-month level that the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University cites as a balanced housing market.
Jim Gaines, Ph.D., economist with the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University, explained, “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. Interest rates are still low, but tight lending standards, rising home prices, and slim inventory have created a tough market for first-time homebuyers.”
In 2015-Q1, the median price for Texas homes was $186,500, a 7.8% increase from 2014-Q1, and the average price increased 6.99% to $240,303. This year-over-year increase of 6% to 8% is nearly double Texas’s historical increase of 4.1% annually.
Chairman Kesner concluded, “The demand for Texas real estate is still strong, but our state’s housing market growth will not be sustainable if high homeownership costs, low housing inventory, and unfunded transportation needs are allowed to continue. That’s why state legislators are working on long-term solutions now that will provide much-needed transportation funding and tax relief to Texas homeowners. Texas REALTORS® applaud these efforts.”
Gaines added additional caution: “The impact of falling oil prices has not yet hit Texas real estate, especially in its metro areas. Texas home sales could experience a slowdown in the last half of 2015 and, depending on when and at what level oil prices stabilize, end 2015 at a lower level than previous years.”