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The new color for this spring’s housing market map is red, as more and more Dallas-area neighborhoods show declines in purchases from a year ago and lower overall sales prices.
The shift in the North Texas home market started last summer and has continued into 2019.
Almost 70% of residential areas tracked by The Dallas Morning News saw a drop in home sales in the first three months of 2019 compared to the same period a year ago.
And almost a dozen of the areas had declines in median sales prices for the houses sold by local real estate agents.
The biggest year-over-year price declines were in East Dallas, Far North Dallas, Northwest Dallas and Irving — all with prices 8% below where they were a year ago, according to data from the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University and the North Texas Real Estate Information Systems.
Total home sales in the almost four dozen residential areas The News follows each quarter are down about 6% from first quarter 2018 levels. More neighborhoods saw first quarter declines in home purchases than in any year since 2009 — during the worst of the Great Recession.
But housing analysts don’t see a similar housing shakeout in the works for North Texas.
"A crash would involve a loss of jobs, incomes going down and foreclosures," said James Gaines, Real Estate Center chief economist. "We are not doing a 2007, 2008 or 2009 crash again."
Gaines said Dallas-area home sales would be higher if there were more affordable houses on the market. More than 40% of buyers in Texas are renters looking to purchase a home.
"There is some price fatigue," he said. "Buyers are looking at what they are being asked to pay and they are backing off somewhat."
A new report by Trulia says Dallas is one of the U.S. metro areas that is shifting from a sellers’ to a buyers’ home market.
Paige Shipp, regional director of research firm Metrostudy Inc., said there’s less urgency in the local home market and buyers are being more careful.
"Buyers that were paying more than what a house was listed for are now paying closer to market value," Shipp said. "What we were doing before was not sustainable. We would have fallen off a cliff."
Shipp described the existing home-buying environment as a necessary and welcome reprieve.
"The slowdown in appreciation is healthy," she said.