June Sales Down 20 %

July 8, 2008

Hot summer weather isn’t heating up the North Texas home market.

The Dallas Morning News reports, June sales were down 20 percent from a year ago. And for the first six months of 2008, the number of pre-owned houses sold in the area is off 15 percent from the same period last year.

The good news: Prices are holding up relatively well.

North Texas real estate agents sold 7,371 pre-owned homes last month, the North Texas Real Estate Information System and Texas A&M University’s Real Estate Center reported Monday.

It’s the lowest sales total for June since 2003.

The falloff is "maybe a tad higher than we expected," said Dr. James Gaines of A&M’s Real Estate Center.

"We’ve seen the high-end market decline significantly with the high cost of financing for jumbo mortgages" over $417,000.

Indeed, some of the biggest local home sales declines this year have been for properties priced over $700,000, Realtor statistics show.

In June, the median price of homes sold in North Texas was $158,580 – unchanged from a year ago.

Through the first six months of this year, median prices are down 2 percent from the first half of 2007.

That compares with a more than 6 percent dip in nationwide pre-owned home prices, according to the latest statistics.

But any decline in local prices could be a problem, Dr. Gaines said.

"Some will see the small price decline and decide to postpone any buying decision to see if prices go down further," he said.

And decreasing prices in the local home market "will not bode well for getting out of the foreclosure problems – in fact, it’ll add to the problem," Dr. Gaines said.

While it’s taking longer this summer to sell a home here – 77 days in June – the number of houses for sale continues to decline.

Last month there were 45,125 pre-owned single-family homes on the market in North Texas. That’s down 10 percent from June 2007.

Currently there is just under a seven-month supply of homes for sale in the area.

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