Welcome to my March insights about real estate in Fort Worth. Each month, I write a post about the current status of the market here in Fort Worth (my hometown) and highlight some news articles that I find interesting. March madness (not the basketball tournament) has begun this year with haste. Buyers are coming back to the market after hibernating for the winter. We are seeing properties, at least the ones priced correctly and look good, moving very quickly. I do believe the death of the local real estate market has been greatly exaggerated.
Before we get into the news, I did want to mention one change to these monthly reports. We are now running the numbers on the properties located within the Fort Worth city limits. Before this month, I had established a market area that I had covered well in the last four years. After dwelling on it, I decided my readers would be better served to just speak about Fort Worth in general. In this way, you get a broad sense of the market conditions of the 15th largest city in the United States. It also aligns better with my other Fort Worth Market updates, which I generate about specific price ranges.
Our first news story this month comes from CultureMap Fort Worth. Fort Worth is a seller’s market (to the surprise of no one). A recent report from Points 2 home, Canadian news site, indicates Fort Worth had the 10th largest appreciation in the country from 2013 to 2018. Our prices grew by 52%! Our average price went from $148K to $225K. We are number one in Texas with all the other metro areas trailing us. Dallas had a measly 24% increase in the same time frame. Not bad for the city of cowboys and culture!
I want every reader who hates getting their house ready to sell to raise their hands. I am sure many of you have your hand up. HGTV makes the rehab process look fun and interesting. The truth is far from that rosy picture (at least for most of us). With this in mind, we have a new company in town that will do the rehab for you and won’t make you pay until after you sell your house. Maryland based Curbio is branching out into the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
The best news—the homeowner doesn’t have to pay a dime for the renovations until the house sells. The company’s “renovate now, pay when you sell” policy allows their clients to defer payments and give their home optimum potential.
I have never used the company, but I love the concept. I know many sellers who would have loved this option. I know the sellers that rehab their homes tend to sell their homes more quickly and for more money. Curbio has numbers confirming my own experience. If you have been thinking about selling, but hated the idea of rehab, this might be the perfect solution for you.
My last news piece of the month deals with an idea I had that was going to make me rich. One of my clients asked if there was a way to quickly get quotes from all the Ibuyer companies. As a reminder, these are the large corporations that are now buying homes directly from sellers versus selling the properties for the seller. With my client, I had to tell him that I didn’t know of a federated search tool that would do for home sellers what Kayak does for travelers. I had grand dreams of creating such a tool and putting it to market. As with all good ideas, someone thought of it at the same time. Zavvie is launching a new app that lets you fill out one form to get quotes from Zillow, Redfin, Opendoor, etc. I haven’t used it, but I am sure it would save a seller a ton of time. I really need to find a way to get me good ideas to market more quickly.
Now, let’s get to the numbers!
February Months Supply
After two straight February reports of 1.7 months inventory, we saw a 24% increase in the inventory number. At 2.1 months, we are still in a strong seller’s market in Fort Worth (above 6 months is considered a buyers market).
What this means for sellers: Sellers can still expect some interest in their properties in Fort Worth. However, the mad rush of buyers to see their home might be a thing of the past. If sellers want many buyers and many offers, there are two pieces of advice they need to follow for the overall strategy. First, you can’t overprice your house. It will sit on the market drawing little interest. Second, you should put your property in the best light by keeping it clean and presentable in a way that shows off all the things you love about your home. If it shows well in person (and in photos), you will get interest in your property.
What this means for buyers: Buyers can be more peaky in their offers. If the property doesn’t check off enough items on your want list, you can wait for the next property to come on the market. Unlike the previous few years, you don’t have to settle for one that happens to be for sale at the time you go house hunting. You should explain to your buyer’s agent your dream home so they can look for it. Don’t settle!
Average February Days on Market
The number of days a house stays on the market grew to 56 days from February 2018 to February 2019. This 33% increase in the days it takes to sell a home is far greater than the increase from 2017 to 2018 when we only saw a 5% increase in this statistic. In 2017, it took 40 day on average for a home to be sold.
What this means for sellers: Sellers can expect homes to stay on the market longer than in the recent past, which means sellers need to be diligent in their upkeep of their home. Showings will go on longer so it is vital you keep up your good practices. Sellers should make a point to clean up any clutter and make everything sparkle for each visitor. If you begin to feel frustrated with showings, make a point to do something fun while buyers are looking at your house. Trick your mind into relating showings to a fun time out with the family.
What this means for buyers: This statistic goes even further to reinforce the idea that buyers can be more peaky with their selections than in previous years. It should be noted, however, that February is early in the Spring season and it could turn back to a mad rush as more buyers come on the market. Be ready to move on a house that really speaks to you and work with your agent to get in an offer quickly. It sometimes is the first offer that gets the seller’s attention, not the best one.
Average February Sales Price
When it comes to the average sales price, the city of Fort Worth saw a 7.6% increase over the year. It should be noted that the average sales price actually dropped in February 2018 by 1.6% so in two years we have seen a 6% appreciation in average sales prices.
What this means for sellers: Sellers should rejoice that appreciation is still taking place at this time in Fort Worth. Some areas have seen less appreciation or no appreciation at all. With the recent revelation that mortgage rates are not going up as expected, we anticipate buyers will be back so demand might push homes prices even higher. However, sellers should be cautious about overpricing their homes. Not a good idea!
What this means for buyers: Buyers can still expect to see prices increase this year so it might be better to move quickly in the Spring season than later in the summer. Mortgage lenders should be able to lock in your rates for several weeks. Be sure to take advantage of these low interest rates to get more purchasing powers with your mortgages. Even with prices likely appreciating again this year, the interest rate decline will help make the higher prices more bearable.
For those curious about the word art graphic in the heading, we made it at wordart.com. Great site. I highly recommend it!