Dallas-area home prices are inching up in face of pandemic

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The COVID-19 pandemic has caused home sales to fall this year in more than two-thirds of Dallas-area neighborhoods.

But home prices are still ahead in most of the area's residential districts.

Home sales were lower during the first half of 2020 in all but a dozen of the almost 50 residential areas that The Dallas Morning News tracks each quarter.

The biggest year-over-year percentage sales declines were in neighborhoods in Coppell, Euless and Grand Prairie, where home purchases were off 25% or more from the first half of 2019, according to data from the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University.

Almost 20 areas had double-digit percentage drops in home purchases year over year as the coronavirus slowed housing activity in March, April and May. A rebound in June sales wasn't enough to make up for those earlier declines.

"The second half of this year is going to be critical as to where we are going," said James Gaines, chief economist with the Real Estate Center. "We are anticipating that the housing market will rebound and do OK. It might be an economic leader for recovery for the overall economy."

So far, home prices in North Texas have outperformed expectations of a decline earlier this year due to the pandemic. Median home sales prices in the area were 3% higher at midyear compared with the first half of 2019. And some Dallas-area neighborhoods saw even larger gains.

Sales prices in the first half of 2020 were 11% higher in Northwest Dallas and were up 10% in Oak Cliff.

Less than a dozen Dallas-area neighborhoods have seen price declines, including Oak Lawn and the Park Cities (-12% year-over-year), Celina (-5%) and Irving (-3%).

Real estate agents and housing economists say a shortage of homes on the market is keeping prices high.

"We are facing an acute inventory shortage, especially at the lower price points," said Lawrence Yun, chief economist with the National Association of Realtors. "Homes are moving very swiftly. You list a home, and the buyers are eagerly grabbing those properties."

So far in 2020, the average time to sell a house was less than 50 days in about half of Dallas-area neighborhoods.

And total home sales listings in the area were down by more than a quarter from this time last year.

"We are just not getting the properties, and agents are out there trying to get more listings," said Terry Tremaine, president of the MetroTex Association of Realtors and an agent with Century 21 Mike Bowman Inc. "People are concerted about the pandemic and people coming into their homes, even though we take precautions."

Tremaine said the strongest buyer demand is for properties priced near $250,000.

"If the home is in good condition, we have a lot of investors out there and first-time homebuyers," she said. "You are seeing multiple offers."

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Home prices Housing market Purchase Housing inventory Coronavirus Texas
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