Happy February 2016! This is my first monthly column in 2016 on the state of the real estate in Fort Worth and the surrounding areas. As we begin the new year, the market in Dallas-Fort Worth has not slowed down. I know from my own experience of looking at homes in the Alliance Corridor, most homes that show well and are priced right, go under contract in less than a week. Real estate industry watchers, like Zillow, have consistently put Dallas-Fort Worth into the top ten for real estate markets. Texas, on the whole has seen some record breaking numbers, especially last year, when we sold more homes than we ever have.
Texas real estate professionals sold 70,150 homes in the fourth quarter of 2015, which brought the state’s total homes sold for the year up 4.1 percent to 309,090 single-family residential homes. This is the first time in history Texas’ annual home sales topped 300,000, according to the industry group.
It should come of no surprise then to learn that the main reason we are seeing such a surge in real estate numbers is the great job market we have in the area. We were three in the nation with an additional 98,900 jobs added to our payrolls in 2015 with only New York and Los Angeles doing better. It is no wonder that real estate in Fort Worth is booming. People are relocating here for the jobs and need housing. With a large buyer base and a shortage of inventory, there has never been a better time for you to sell your home.
I do real estate all over Texas, but focus my efforts on the area you see below. If you know anyone who wants to buy a home, sell a home or invest in real estate, please do not hesitate to share this article with them.
January Inventory of Homes
This measure shows us how many homes are on the market at any one time. Most industry experts will tell you that you need at least six months of inventory for the market to be healthy and balanced. Just a reminder, this statistic shows you how many months it would take to sell out of the current inventory. Right now, in the Alliance Corridor, we are seeing a 2.4 month inventory of homes. Believe it or not, that is the first time I have seen that figure above two months since last October. In looking at the past three years, we have never had more than a 3 months supply in this area and it decreased an additional 11% from January 2015. When I write that this is a great time to sell your home, I really mean it. Inventory is so low right now that most buyers rush to get to view the home almost immediately upon it getting listed. For buyers, you need to know that you cannot sit around waiting. Since most homes in this area move so quickly, it would be best to go see it the day it comes on the market with an offer that evening to ensure that you get consideration. You also don’t need to playing games with offers that don’t match the sales price (unless the sales price is far over market value or condition does not warrant the sales price). If you like the house, put in the sales price, or even higher than asking price. Otherwise, you are looking at your offers losing out to stronger offers and it can get very frustrating very fast for you.
January Median Days on Market
How long does it take a house to sell today? For the Alliance Corridor, it takes less than a month. We are not seeing the heart stopping pace we saw last summer, but this January’s number of 27 days is 34% quicker than it was this time last year. I can attest to this phenom because my busy season started up the week before Christmas and has not let up at all. Many buyers are veterans at the home search process already and know that the earlier you start the process, the less competition you will face while the cold months keep more casual shoppers away. Buyers are moving on properties now and not waiting until March like in past years. With this in mind, buyers need to be aware of the all mighty multi offer situation, where a seller sets a bid deadline(date and time) to get a final and best offer to the listing agent. These situations can be filled with stress and excitement as buyers will work with their agents to determine the most attractive offer to put on the table. Many of these offers will come in with higher than asking price. To sweeten the deal even further, many bids will reduce the seller’s out-of-pocket expense to nearly zero by having the buyers pay for things like the title policy, survey and HOA documents. Some buyers will increase the amount of the earnest funds deposited, which can become the seller’s in some cases where the buyer defaults on the contract. Some are even offering more option money for shortened option periods so the seller can sell their home more quickly. Listing agents are learning from all these multi-offer deals as well. One trick that seems to be catching fire is that the listing agent will advise the seller to set up a bid deadline at the initial listing of the home. For example, the property goes on the market Friday and the buyer’s agents are told final and best offers are due by Monday at 7 pm, even before there is one offer on the house. As you can imagine, most sellers are very happy to do this as it creates automatic demand for their home.
January Median Sales Price
This is the number everyone wants to know so I leave it to the last. I am tricky in that way as I want you to read this column all way to the bitter end. Texas as a whole saw an increase of 9% in sales price in 2015. In the Alliance Corridor, the numbers in January are reflective of this increase with a median price of $195,000, an 8.3% increase from January 2015 when homes were selling at a median price of $180,000. Honestly, I keep expecting the escalated numbers to slow down and start to level off, but it has not happened yet. it will be interesting to see if this trend is consistent through 2016 with the drop in the Oil and Gas Industry starting to hit other parts of the economy. Right now, however, if you are seller waiting to sell your house for top profit, now is a great time to do it. Buyer should expect to pay more to get the house they might have afforded even this time last year. Buyers will need to either readjust their expectations or wait until prices begin to drop back down before purchasing, but it could be years before we see that happen. Either way, let’s chat about how I can help you with your real estate needs.