Move over Collin and Denton Counties; Kaufman County has arrived!
The city of Kaufman's slogan — "We're Growing Places" — rings true, according to newly released population estimates that show its county booming. Kaufman County is growing faster than any other county in the nation, according to one-year estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau. "We're seeing tremendous growth in all of the counties surrounding Dallas," Lloyd Potter, director of the Texas Demographic Center said. "These counties are largely growing because there's economic opportunity, meaning that we're growing jobs in Texas." While newly released census data showed positive growth across North Texas, Kaufman County, saw an 18% population boost between 2019 and 2021, the most of seven Dallas-Forth Worth area counties. Not only has the county grown by over 21,000 residents in those two years according to Census estimates, but it has also seen its diversity soar. From 2016-2021, Kaufman's population grew from 118,350 residents to 140,145. These estimates don't reflect the tremendous growth from 2022. The 800-square-mile county is seeing more than 30,000 new homes being built or in early development stages in its six biggest cities. Calculating for 4 people per household, the county is preparing for a population increase of about 120,000 more people in the next 18 months.
The North Texas housing market is downshifting quickly, with Dallas-Fort Worth being the only U.S. market to see a decrease in home sale prices last month, according to a report released today. DFW home prices are down 1.9% year over year in July, according to the latest Re/Max National Housing Report.
And what a difference a month makes. Last month, DFW led the U.S. for home price increases, with June prices up 29.3% over the previous year. In hard numbers, home sales prices in DFW fell to $413,900 in July from $422,000 in July 2021. Homes in DFW spend an average of 23 days on the market before selling.
Higher interest rates and inflation, as well as record home prices, triggered a sharp drop in demand for housing, said Todd Luong, a realtor with Re/Max DFW Associates: "Here at our Re/Max office in Dallas-Fort Worth, our listings are currently getting on average 2.7 showings per week," Luong said. "Last year, at this same time, our listings were earning on average 5.9 showings per week. That is a huge drop in buyer demand compared to the previous year. Record home prices and higher mortgage rates have forced many potential buyers out of the market, especially first-time homebuyers."
While the latest trends may disappoint some sellers, buyers now have more choices and better opportunities for good deals, Luong said. Luong said that the DFW housing market has been challenged with low inventory for years and reached an all-time low earlier this year, with only a two-week supply. Now, however, inventory is increasing. "Although buyers have more choices now, it is still not a balanced market as we only have about a two-month housing supply," Luong said. "In a normal market, you have about a five to six-month supply of housing."
A new report from Zillow also found falling home values, although the numbers didn't match Re/Max's precisely because of different study methods and different geographic definitions of DFW as a metro area, among other reasons. According to Zillow's findings, the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area's typical home value is $396,904, down 1.1% since June, the first month of decline. Values are up 55.4% since July 2019.
Zillow also reported that the mortgage payment on a typical home in DFW is $2,633 a month, including taxes and insurance. That's up 77.4% compared to July 2019.
According to Zillow, inventory in DFW has risen 10.2% since June, and the share of listings with a price cut in July was 22%, compared to 15.6% in June. Nationwide, after two years of unprecedented growth, home values fell for the first time since 2012 as competition for houses eased, according to Zillow's July market report.
The slowdown is being driven by decreased competition among buyers. Zillow's analysis says that affordability pressures have pushed many to the sidelines, and buyers are waiting in the wings to resume their search if and when prices relax a bit. Skylar Olsen, Zillow's chief economist, called the flattening of home values "a badly needed rebalancing. This slowdown is about discouraged buyers pulling back after the affordability shock from higher rates," Olsen said. "As prices soften, many will renew their interest, and we will continue our progress back to 'normal.'"
Luong said he sees positive signs in the market. The interest rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage dropped below 5% after peaking in June. More than 290,000 new jobs were added in Dallas-Fort Worth last year, so North Texas has one of the strongest labor markets in the country. "Reasonably priced homes that are in good condition and move-in ready are still selling very fast," he said. "However, the bidding wars have subsided considerably across the board."
Dallas-Fort Worth saw the largest spike in home sales prices in the nation, according to a new study, with home prices up 39.5% over last year. The jump brought the current median home sales price in DFW to $362,782 in April, according to the latest Re/Max National Housing Report.
Todd Luong, a real estate agent with RE/MAX DFW Associates, called the increase "astonishing." Breaking it down in some of the popular suburbs north of DFW shows Frisco increased 36.6% over one year ago, McKinney rose 34.2%, and Little Elm climbed 33.9% over one year ago, Luong said. Luong said that population and job growth are pushing home prices higher across North Texas. "Corporate relocations have been the primary driver for all this," he said in an email. "During these past 10 years, office space in Dallas-Fort Worth has increased by over 55 million square feet, and only New York City has had more office space growth. "During the same 10 years, industrial space in Dallas-Fort Worth grew by 230 million square feet. All this growth means more jobs, and more jobs mean more people are moving here."
The high price growth affects longtime homeowners and current and recent home buyers and sellers, Luong noted. He said that appraisal districts have increased 2022 market values significantly across North Texas. On average, he said that home appraisals across Dallas County are up 25% compared to previous years. "I have never had so many people asking me for help with protesting their property taxes than this year," Luong said. "I hope there can be property tax relief for homeowners in the future. Otherwise, some people may not be able to afford to live in their current neighborhood anymore. I have clients who have already expressed this concern."
Recent housing-market data has shown the massive effect the surge in rates has had on home buyers. "The pandemic boom in home sales is over, and activity is back at pre-pandemic levels," Mizuho Securities U.S. economist Alex Pelle and chief U.S. economist Steven Ricchiuto wrote in a research note. It's clear that the affordability challenges posed by rising rates and higher prices has cooled demand among home buyers. Nevertheless, home listings remain few and far between. That means that home prices likely will continue to grow — albeit at a slower pace — since even with a reduced pool of buyers there aren't enough properties to grow around, analysts say.
Most economists anticipate that the housing market is balancing out, meaning that bidding wars and contingencies could soon become a thing of the past.
Quickly rising mortgage rates, high home prices and a persistent inventory shortage aren't enough to sideline Dallas-Fort Worth house shoppers, judging by new data on the number of showings per listing. DFW remains solidly in double-digit territory and among the nation's leaders in the number of showings per home, according to an index by Showing Time, a home touring technology and data firm. The ratio of showings to listings of DFW homes in March was 16.1. That's the same as it was in March 2021 and down an almost most meaningless 2% from February. DFW's showings ratio is well above the U.S rate of 9.3 showings per home. Nationwide, the number of markets seeing double-digit showings per listing jumped 46% in the past two months as buyer demand continues to outpace slightly rising inventory, according to the Showing Index. In hard numbers, that's 83 markets with double-digit showings in January of this year, 109 in February and 121 markets in March of this year. The ShowingTime Showing Index is compiled using data from more than 6 million home showings scheduled across the country each month on listings using ShowingTime products and services. It tracks the average number of appointments received on active listings during the month.
The popular spring home-buying season is just ramping up. But one analyst is warning that it could be a bust. Ian Shepherdson, chief economist and founder of research consulting firm Pantheon Macroeconomics, is predicting a dramatic fall in the pace of home sales this year. In a research note, he projected that existing-home sales will drop roughly 25% from the annual pace of 6.02 million set in February to a rate of 4.5 million by the end of summer.
"The housing market is in the early stages of a substantial downshift in activity, which will trigger a steep decline in the rate of increase of home prices, starting perhaps as soon as the spring," Shepherdson wrote in a research note distributed Sunday. There has been a drop in mortgage demand which typically predicts a downturn in home sales, since most buyers rely on financing to make sure a large purchase. Issues around affordability are likely to blame for the decline.
The ripple effects of a shift in existing-home sales would be far-reaching, Shepherdson said, arguing that the pace of rent increases would eventually slow and perhaps even reverse. It also would spread to new-home sales, which he expects will likewise fall. A decrease in new-home sales would represent a downward drag on GDP, since that would implicate less demand for services tied to home-building and less spending on items like building materials and appliances.
The bad news for any Americans who persist in trying to buy a home under these conditions is that it's less clear how this situation will ultimately impact the availability of homes for sale. Part of why home prices have surged is that there is a significant lack of inventory in the housing market, which has fueled competition for what few homes are listed for sale. A drop in demand would seemingly lead to a boost in the inventory of homes for sale.
As home prices soar, housing affordability is sinking to the lowest levels since 2008 and first-time buyers - who haven't benefited from rising home values and are also coping with rising rents - are being squeezed out.
First-time buyers accounted for 27% of existing home sales in January, according to the National Association of Realtors, near 2014 levels. With mortgage rates above 4%, around the highest in about three years, and expected to rise further, buyers on tight budgets may struggle even more to find homes they can afford.
Collin, Denton, Ellis and Kaufman counties
As home costs soar across the state, four counties in Dallas-Fort Worth saw especially significant growth over the last year. The median sale price for single-family homes increased nearly 27% in Collin, Denton, Ellis and Kaufman counties in February compared with a year prior, according to the latest numbers from the MetroTex Association of Realtors. Collin County holds the highest median sale price at $475,000. Tarrant County led in sales, with 1,812 homes changing hands. The sale price for local single-family homes sold by real estate agents across North Texas reached a record median of $365,000 in February, up 21% from a year earlier, according to the latest data from the Texas Real Estate Research Center at Texas A&M University and North Texas Real Estate Information Systems. It shot up $15,000 from January to February, a 4% increase.
"Everyone is hoping for a spring inventory influx, but it's unlikely it will be nearly enough to balance this market," Marissa Benat, president of the Collin County Association of Realtors, said in a statement. "We are getting buyers ready to make competitive offers so they can get moved into their home sooner than later."
Inventory is not keeping up with the high demand, and building permits are down as builders face supply chain and labor challenges.
Building permits fell sharply in January in Celina, Frisco, Prosper and Little Elm — some of the hottest markets in North Texas and the nation for new home construction last year. Celina, the top residential construction market in North Texas last year, dropped 51% in the number of homebuilding permits issued in January compared to the same month last year. Frisco's building permits fell 48% year over year in January. Prosper dropped 44% in homebuilding permits issued in January. The January permit plunge was similar in Little Elm which fell 56%. Homebuilding permits also fell in McKinney, which posted a 22% year-over-year decline in January.
The downturn in some of North Texas' hottest homebuilding markets isn't a sign of diminished demand as much as it is a reflection of higher construction costs. The costs of construction nationwide are the highest seen in 50 years with contractors and homebuilders feeling the effects. Homebuilding costs jumped by 17.5% year-over-year from 2020 to 2021, the largest spike in this data from year to year since 1970, recent data from the U.S. Census shows. Homebuilders in North Texas last year were hit by an unprecedented swell of housing demand that prompted the industry to boost its production pace, said Ted Wilson, principal with Dallas-based housing analyst Residential Strategies Inc. But a shortage of labor and materials has driven up costs and stretched out average building timelines, according to Residential Strategies' most recent quarterly market update.
Homebuyers looking to move to Dallas from other regions last year, especially from California and the west coast, were willing to pay 10.6% more than locals, new research finds. People looking to move to Dallas are willing to pay an average maximum budget of $701,760, while locals are willing to pay up to an average of $634,465, according to a recent report from Redfin. The company compiled the average maximum list price filters for homes in the saved home searches of its users. The analysis includes cities with at least 3,000 home searchers from inside the metro and 3,000 from outside the metro last year.
North Texas suburbs Plano and Frisco are prime examples of out of state transfreees willing to pay more. Plano's average maximum for migrants was $695,729 and the average maximum was locals was $646,383 for a difference of 7.6% more. Frisco had an average maximum for migrants of $784,688 and the average maximum for locals was $802,154 for a difference of 2.2% less.
States without income taxes such as Texas and Tennessee are seeing many transplants from California who see that as a deal, said Redfin. "People moving from the West Coast will pay way over asking price without batting an eye," Geyer said. "It's really hard for locals to compete right now, and it can be devastating for first-time buyers who aren't able to offset high prices by selling a home before they buy a new one." The number one out of state buyer into Dallas-Fort Worth is from the Los Angeles suburbs.
Rising rents are expected to be a driving force in inflation this year
Average rents rose 14 percent last year nationwide with cities like Austin, New York and Miami notching increases of as much as 40 percent, according to real estate firm Redfin. The DFW Metroplex increased 29 percent. And Americans expect rents will continue to rise — by about 10 percent this year — according to a report released this month by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. "Rents really shot up in the second half of 2021," said Daryl Fairweather, chief economist at Redfin. "The pandemic was kind of a pause on the economy and now that things are reopening, inflation is picking up, rents are going up and people are realizing they don't have as much disposable income as they might have thought they had." Higher rent prices are also expected to be a key driver of inflation in coming months. The share of first-time home buyers has dropped to its lowest level in eight years, according to the National Association of Realtors. The group estimates that nearly 1 million renters were priced out of the housing market last year because of rising real estate prices and increased competition from wealthier, all-cash buyers.