The year 2011 was not as spectacular as local real estate experts had hoped. The only good sign that really came out of it was that home prices flattened out instead of falling as they had the previous four years. AT the beginning of 2011, hopes had been high that a real estate recovery was underway. The reality was a bit of a shock. As 2012 approached, many real estate experts were hesitant to predict a bright year due to the let down of 2011. But, 2012 has proven to be one where bright nuggets of hope have emerged in the real estate market.
The first signs of a good real estate year actually came at the end of 2011. In November 2011, pending home sales were up 7.9% over the previous month. And when compared to November 2010, it was up 5.9%. While modest, these gains were a spark of hope that real estate agents and experts were looking for.
Housing starts lead the way into the first half of 2012. Building new homes is something people want to do in Dallas-Fort Worth. Over 14,000 housing starts in the first quarter showed a promising start for the year. Most of these were starts in townhouses and condominiums, but single family homes were in the mix as well. Sales by builders were also on the rise during the first quarter. This meant that housing starts should also rise during the second quarter. Sales of existing new homes were down as the inventory of new homes on the market also fell.
Purchases of existing homes are also up in the first half of 2012. By May, the number of existing home sales was up over 3000 units from the same time period the year before. This was true in all counties in the Dallas metro region. The amount of existing home inventory steadily goes down as the glut of the past few years either goes off the market due to sales or owner withdrawal.
So, what does the second half of 2012 look like? With mortgage rates as low as they have ever been the sales of existing and new homes should continue to grow through the end of the year and beyond. While no real estate expert will say the rest of the year will have spectacular growth, most agents are cautiously optimistic that the growth seen in the first part of the year will spill over into the second part of the year. Steady growth will provide a good basis for 2013.
Indicators show that 2012 may be the start of an upward curve in the residential real estate market. The commercial real estate market is also rebounding. That is a good sign that the economy in Dallas/Fort Worth is starting to turn around. With both in hand, it is possible to see signs that the recession driven problems may be alleviating. That is good news for anyone who is looking for the right time to buy or build a new home. With low interest rates remaining, it is time to make your move.