Steady market: New, existing home prices rise in first quarter

By Richard Greene | Published Saturday, June 16, 2018

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Under Construction

UNDER CONSTRUCTION – Malibu Homes has several houses under construction in Decatur. New home prices rose several thousands of dollars in the first quarter of 2018. Messenger photo by Richard Greene

Last year, Mark Southard’s Malibu Homes built 15 homes. Through the first six months of this year, the custom home builder said he’s on pace to double that number.

“There’s a lot of activity,” said Southard, who currently has 15 homes under construction, 14 in the county.

“The demographics are changing. A few years ago, two of the 10 calls were move-ins and the rest were people in the county. Now, seven or eight of the 10 are move-ins, who are keeping their jobs in the Metroplex but trying to get away from the city. It’s the lure of being in a small town.”

Southard is one of several builders active in the county.

With more people looking for homes in the county, the price of new homes over the first quarter of 2018 rose sharply to $305,610, according to data from the Wise County Appraisal District. That was an increase of almost $24,000 from the average new home price of $281,953 in 2017. The average price of a new home on less than five acres in 2013 was $182,583.

Rising Prices

RISING PRICES – Home prices have steadily increased since 2012. Courtesy of Wise County Appraisal District

The average price for all homes in the past five years has gone from $157,078 in 2013 to $246,940 in the first quarter of 2018.

Gina Zuniga of ReMax Preferred Properties said there remains a shortage of inventory.

“If something comes on the market under $200,000, it’s gone quickly,” Zuniga said.

She said when she ran comps per the multiple listing system (MLS) Thursday, there were three homes in the Decatur city limits under $210,000.

In the May real estate report from the Greater Denton/Wise County Association of Realtors, the months of inventory rose slightly from 3.1 months in April to 3.3. The figure represents how long it would take to deplete inventory assuming no new inventory is purchased or put on the market.

It was the third straight month for the inventory to increase after dropping to 2.8 months in March.

The 260 listings are still down 31.2 percent from the 382 in May 2017.

The average price for the 77 homes sold in May was $225,000. It was a drop from $244,450 for the 75 transactions in April. The price was $500 more than the average a year ago.

Of the homes sold last month 33.8 percent fell between $100,000 and $199,999. Homes between $200,000 and $299,999 made up 20.3 percent of sales and between $300,000 and $399,999 was 23 percent.

Homes are staying on the market 44 days and closing in 37 days for a total of 81 days, 11 less than the same month in 2017.

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