Oct 2, 2009

Dallas Home Prices Firm in Latest Case Shiller Study Decline of 1.6% is Smallest in Almost Two Years

Dallas home prices fell by the smallest percentage in almost two years in the latest housing market snapshot.

DFW prices were down only 1.6 percent in July from a year earlier in the closely watched S&P/Case-Shiller home price index.

And local home prices were up from June to July, the fifth consecutive month of increases. The July figure is also the highest point in the home price index since last September.

The small annual decline in North Texas home prices is a big improvement from earlier in the year, when the Case-Shiller index showed that prices were falling by more than 5% from 2008.

The just-released data is more proof that home price declines bottomed in North Texas in early 2009.

"The rate of annual decline in home price values continues to decelerate, and we now seem to be witnessing some sustained monthly increases across many markets," Standard & Poor's David Blitzer said Tuesday in the report. "These figures continue to support an indication of stabilization in national real estate values."

Analysts are keeping an eye on how the housing market reacts later this year when a popular federal home buying tax credit expires.

Nationwide home prices in July were still 13.3 percent below where they were a year earlier. But the index has been higher for three consecutive months, a strong indication that home prices have bottomed out.

US home prices are still almost 30 percent below their peak in mid-2006.

In the DFW area, July home prices were about 4 percent less than they were at the top of the market here in June 2007.  The Case-Shiller numbers add to growing evidence that the worst of the North Texas home price shakeout is over.

So far in 2009, the median home sales prices have dropped only about 2 percent in the residential sales industry's Multiple Listing Service.  And the Case-Shiller decline estimate is even less.

"That's really saying prices are flat," said David Brown, who heads housing analyst Metrostudy's Dallas office. "That's a very small number."  This while some areas of the country are still seeing big home price reductions.

In Las Vegas, prices were down 31.4 percent in July from a year earlier, according to Case-Shiller. Values dropped by 28 percent in Phoenix and 24.6 percent in Detroit.

Case-Shiller tracks the prices of typical single-family homes in each metropolitan area. The index does not include condominiums and townhouses. It only covers pre-owned properties – no new construction. The Case-Shiller researchers compare sales of specific properties over time.

Plano Texas, Dallas’ affluent northern suburb, is faring even better, of late.  Analysis prepared by Altos Research which are updated daily, shows trend lines in the Plano housing market with declining inventory and increasing median prices.  Lexington Luxury Builders provides these Plano Housing Market Charts for the convenience of our readers.


Original Article reported by STEVE BROWN | The Dallas Morning News

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