Heading into 2018, Dallas-area homebuyers have more properties to choose from.
And prices aren’t rising as fast as they have in recent years.
But buyers hunting moderately-priced homes in popular North Texas neighborhoods will still have to scramble to get a deal.
After years of tight home inventories, in 2017 there were about 8 percent more homes on the market in the area than in 2016, according to latest data from the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University and North Texas Real Estate Information Systems.
At the start of the new year, some neighborhoods — including Oak Lawn, Garland, South Dallas, Denton and Kaufman counties — had 25 percent or more homes up for grabs than a year earlier.
The increase in home inventories and expected rises in interest rates should help cool the rate of home price gains in the Dallas-area in 2018, housing analysts say. But home costs will still rise.
"For Dallas, we are projecting sales to be up and prices will still be up — but hopefully not as strong as they have been in the last few years in terms of the rate of the increase," said Dr. James Gaines, chief economist with the Real Estate Center. "It’s still going to be an undersupplied market.
"When you have that, the pressure on prices to go up is still high."
In 2017, home prices rose by an average of 10 percent in the almost four dozen residential districts tracked by The Dallas Morning News every quarter.
The biggest year-over-year jumps in price were in southern Dallas County neighborhoods in Wilmer-Hutchins (40 percent), Southeast Dallas (27 percent), Duncanville (20 percent) and Lancaster (16 percent).
Areas with median home prices under $200,000 had the largest price increases in 2017.
"There is probably going to be a little bit more inventory this year," said Linda Callicutt, president of the MetroTex Association of Realtors. "But in the hot millennial price points, the market is still going to be very very tight."
First-time buyers are hunting homes priced under the North Texas median of $250,000 — now at a record high.
"Price increases have slowed down a little bit," Callicutt said. "But homes are still going to appreciate. The homes priced under $500,000 may go up more."
Last year, North Texas real estate agents sold more than 106,000 preowned single-family homes, up 5 percent from 2016 — and a new record.
Home purchases were higher than in 2016 in more than half of the neighborhoods The News surveyed. The biggest annual home sales gains were in areas including southern Dallas (28 percent), Duncanville (27 percent), Wylie (23 percent) and southeast Dallas (21 percent).
Home sales last year fell in more than a dozen districts, including Cedar Hill, Hurst, Lancaster and Irving — all areas with tight supplies.
Preowned home sales in the Dallas-Fort Worth area are likely to inch higher in 2018, said Gaines with the Real Estate Center.
"Demand is still high because the D-FW area is still adding a lot of jobs," Gaines said. "People are still coming to the area."
He said the Real Estate Center is forecasting a statewide slowdown in the rate of single-family home starts because of rising land and construction costs and labor shortages.
"The builders can’t keep up with demand," Gaines said.
North Texas homebuilders are trying to start more houses priced under $350,000, said Ted Wilson with housing analyst Residential Strategies. "On preowned side, under $250,000 it’s pretty slim pickings. There is less available than there was a year ago.
"As you go up in price — especially $300,000 and up — there is a little bit more inventory."