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More homes become available on market this year

Profile image for By Steve Brown
By Steve Brown

New home sales listings in the area were up 20 percent in February from a year ago, according to data from local real estate agents. And the total inventory of single-family homes listed for sale with area real estate agents is 4 percent higher than a year ago.

Sure, 4 percent isn’t much.

But this is the first spring in five years that there aren’t fewer houses for sale in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

“It’s encouraging,” said real estate agent Scott Schueler of Keller Williams Realty. “The market has been going at such a fast pace that it’s been uncomfortable for everybody.

“To have even a little more listings to show people is a good thing.”

The D-FW housing market is still incredibly tight by historical standards. In February, there was only a 2.1-month supply of preowned single-family homes for sale in North Texas, according to the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University.

A “normal” housing market has about a six-month supply.

North Texas has about half the months’ supply of available housing as the nationwide average. A tight market got the blame from the National Association of Realtors for anemic home sales nationwide in February.

“Sales took a considerable step back in most of the country last month,” Realtors economist Lawrence Yun said in the latest sales report. “The main issue continues to be a supply and affordability problem. Finding the right property at an affordable price is burdening many potential buyers.”

North Texas bucked national trends last month with a 22 percent increase in year-over-year home buys.

It’s no coincidence the increase in sales mirrored the rise in “for sale” signs around the area.

“I am hearing of more units coming back on market than last year,” said Patty Brooks of Dave Perry-Miller Real Estate. “I could use some listings — I have a slew of buyers.”

Homebuyers might find more to choose from this spring, especially in select neighborhoods.

New home sales listings are up 59 percent this year in Cedar Hill and 35 percent in DeSoto. New listings were 31 percent higher in Mesquite and 40 percent higher in Coppell during the first two months of 2016 than in the same period last year.

Listings are up in the Park Cities, northeast Dallas and Denton County, too, according to North Texas Real Estate Information Systems.

Of course, in a few neighborhoods it’s even harder to find homes for sale this spring than in 2015. New listings are down 15 percent in Dallas’ Oak Cliff, for example.

Real estate agents say there are lots of potential sellers who would like to put their houses on the market but can’t find or afford someplace else to live in the area.

Don’t expect a big change in the dynamics of the North Texas home market in 2016, though there may be a slight easing in pressures.

“We get a report every day of new listings coming in,” said Barry Hoffer of Ebby Halliday Realtors. “It’s the start of the spring market, and if people want to sell, it’s the time of year to do so.

“But in certain neighborhoods, there is still hardly anything for sale.”