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Southlake Style

Real Estate Market on Upswing

May 16, 2012 03:39PM ● By tina

Southlake Reverses the Trend

The first quarter of 2012 is now officially in the history books. With an election year upon us, the country is keeping watch on the performance of the economy and some indicators hint the nation is crawling its way out of the latest long-running financial crisis. Throughout the country we’ve seen upticks in employment statistics, lower interest rates on mortgages, and stabilization in the housing market taking place. Here in Northeast Tarrant County we’ve weathered the stormy real estate market better than some and with the disclaimer that the weather in Texas is notoriously changeable we offer this snapshot “weather report” of our local real estate market.

According to the most recent available date from North Texas Real Estate Information Systems, Inc. (NTREIS), the statistics for Tarrant County show a modest increase in pertinent areas when comparing 2012 figures to the same time period in 2011. NTREIS shows pending sales up 4.8% for January 2012 compared to a year ago and actual closed sales also enjoyed a gradual increase , up 4.5% for January 2012 over the prior year. Local realtor, Tommy Pennington, of Tommy Pennington Realty Group, commented “The real estate market here in our area has fared better than most of the Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex. Our school district helps make Southlake an attractive place to live.”

Area residents certainly seem to agree. The City of Southlake 2011 Citizen Survey asked residents to consider Southlake’s overall quality of life and after the results were analyzed 99% of the respondents shared an extremely favorable opinion of our fair city as a great place to live and raise a family. Roxann Taylor, of Roxann Taylor & Associates, Realtors observed, “With the last 4 years of economic recession many people put their lives on hold. With 2012 buyers and sellers are deciding to move forward.” She continued, “With available inventory and attractive pricing people who want their families to be in Carroll ISD are coming to Southlake to buy so they can enjoy our quality of life.”

Further, the increase in closed sales would indicate that buyers are beginning to feel more confident in purchasing real estate in a volatile economic market. Pennington agreed that the numbers are a good indicator in consumer confidence, saying “The number of closings plus the job growth in the Metroplex seems to be bringing in more relocation clients than we have seen in the last several years which definitely helps our market.

New listings for all of Tarrant County, according to NTREIS, are down 12.9% year to date when compared with the same time frame last year making the current supply of Southlake inventory down as well. As buyer demand increases local Southlake realtors are actively pursuing more listings. “Although I would not call it a sellers market yet, the updated listings that are move-in ready are experiencing fewer days on market and several of our listings have had multiple offers recently,” Pennington offered. An additional factor that will weigh in a buyer’s decision to purchase now is the historically low mortgage interest rates. According to CNNMoney, the mortgage interest rate hit a record low in February with the rate on 30-year fixed mortgages at 3.87%.

The average days on the market for January/February throughout Northeast Tarrant County for the first quarter of 2012 has decreased slightly from last year with an average 111 days on the market. Here again, Southlake is experiencing a more significant decrease in the numbers of days a home is on the market when compared to other Tarrant County areas as evidenced by Pennington’s remark, “Southlake shows to be 102 average days on market for January 2012 with an additional decrease in the average days on market for the recent month of March, down to only 82 days.” This 20 day shorter time frame in the numbers of days homes are on the market bodes well for a continued increase in local real estate activity.

As shown in this month’s “Bang for your Buck Home Improvements,” updating your home is a wise decision in today’s real estate climate. Roxann said, “Do your updates. Investing in an update will payoff in the long run ensuring a seller top dollar for their property.” Pennington advises sellers to de-wallpaper, get rid of the brass bathroom fixtures, and make the fixes that can sell their property more quickly.

Data from the most recent March 2012 MLS Activity Report reflects a 20% increase in the number of sales year to date over the same time period last year. With a total of 77 homes sold in Southlake at an average sales price of $551,565 dollars (a 4% increase over 2011) Southlake continues to reflect a strong real estate market. Roxann Taylor says it well, “Activity begets activity.”

The outlook for Southlake real estate remains optimistic and the prospect for a successful summer season of sales looms brightly on the horizon. Pennington said, “I feel really positive about the Southlake market. From my perspective our market seems to be as strong as I have seen it in the past five years.”