Housing Market Tilts Toward Sellers

The real-estate market in the Park Cities and Preston Hollow continues to shift toward benefiting the sellers.

With inventory down and prices up, talk of the 2008 slowdown appears to be in the rearview mirror for homeowners who are finding more favorable selling conditions across the board.

“It’s a strong sellers’ market. We’ve seen a big uptick in 2014 and we expect it to continue in 2015,” said Lydia Player, an associate with the Preston Center office of Ebby Halliday Realtors. “It’s taken a little longer to bounce back, but it has bounced back.”

In December, home sales in the Park Cities were down 5 percent from the same time last year, while the median prices jumped by 19 percent, according to statistics from the North Texas Real Estate Information System. For the year, those numbers are even more pronounced, with sales declining by 17 percent but the median price increasing by 16 percent.

Trends are similar in Preston Hollow, where the median price was more than $1 million for almost 700 homes sold in 2014.

That’s a 15 percent jump in price over the prior year — with houses selling for $345 per square foot on average — although the number of total sales in Preston Hollow is down by 12 percent during the past 12 months.

As far as total volume, home sales brought in more than $787.4 million in the Park Cities in 2014 (up 2 percent), compared with $882.4 million in Preston Hollow (down 7 percent).

In December, the number of active listings and months’ worth of inventory declined significantly as sellers pulled their properties off the market for the winter. That’s common for this time of year, Player said, although availability for prospective buyers has been dropping in general.

“We still have low inventory. What’s kept a lot of people from selling is that they’re not sure where they’re going to go because of the lack of inventory,” Player said. “People are still moving to the Dallas area in droves.”

Player said that demand remains high despite a seasonal slowdown during the winter months. Meanwhile, prices are ticking upward as interest rates remain low. Speculative home construction is not keeping up with that demand, and lots are scarce.

“That’s going to really sustain the momentum of this recovery,” said Greg Pape, an agent with the Park Cities office of Virginia Cook Realtors. “You’ve got inventory dissipating, and not anything significant taking its place.”

Pape said he expects those trends to continue into 2015, with the prices still benefiting sellers, especially with regard to higher-end properties.

“Prices continue to go up,” he said, “and the demand continues to be there.”

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