Affordable Listings Still Cause Feeding Frenzy

[pullquote-left]Sellers can capitalize on market trend[/pullquote-left]

Sellers still had the upper hand in the single-family housing market during the first quarter of the year, and that trend might not change anytime soon.

Available inventory is down and prices are higher in the Park Cities and Preston Hollow, especially among luxury properties, according to statistics from the North Texas Real Estate Information System.

“Inventory is still really low, and that’s driving a lot of prices,” said Blair Hudson, an agent with Allie Beth Allman and Associates. “There’s just nothing to buy. That’s why you can hold out for your price. This is still very much a sellers’ market.”

In the Park Cities, for example, the median price for homes sold jumped to $1.28 million in March, an increase of more than $300,000 from December. That’s a rise of $263 per square foot to $351 in a three-month span. And Park Cities properties sold in March were on the market for an average of just 49 days, compared to 66 days in December.

The trends aren’t quite as pronounced in Preston Hollow, where the median price for closed sales declined slightly during the first quarter of the year. Still, a house sold in March was on the market for 11 fewer days on average than one sold in December.

“People still perceive value,” said Elly Sachs Holder, an agent with Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty. “It’s all still dependent on price. When you price right, it goes. If you try for too much, I think the buyer notices.”

Holder said that holds true for both high-end properties, where inventory is significantly higher, and among more modest homes that are more popular with first-time buyers. Still, it could actually be advantageous to underprice a home at first to draw interest.

“The market corrects you right away,” she said. “If it’s underpriced it goes quickly. Everybody wants a deal right now.”

Besides the houses themselves, Holder also has noticed ongoing demand for vacant lots, especially in the Park Cities, where land is always scarce.

“Everyone wants to find that piece of land so they can build exactly what they want,” Holder said. “Inventory is not popping up, and people are waiting for something new to come along.”

Some of the market numbers might be seasonally influenced. Yet Hudson said she expects current trends to continue into the spring and summer months.

“There’s an expectation that rates will climb, but they will climb gradually,” Hudson said. “This is not the bubble getting ready to burst.”

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