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Surge in home sales makes 2014 one of best years ever for Texas real estate

Surge in sales makes 2014 one of best years ever for Texas real estate

Austin Photo Set: News_steven_home buying need a job to qualify_may 2012_sold house
Austin real estate celebrated a monumental year in sales. Courtesy photo

A surge of single-family home sales in the fourth quarter of 2014 ensured it was one of the best years ever for Texas real estate. According to a new report from the Texas Association of Realtors, home sales statewide in the final stretch of 2014 were up more than 8 percent compared to the same time period in 2013.

That late-year boost — 66,664 total — pushed Texas home sales to their highest levels since 2006, which no one thought possible because of the relatively stagnant growth (zero to 2 percent) in the first three quarters.

 A late-year boost pushed Texas home sales to their highest levels since 2006. 

"A dip in mortgage interest rates below 4 percent in the last half of 2014 created an ideal climate for this year-end surge in home-sales growth," said Jim Gaines, an economist with the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University, in a release. "However, fewer homes on the market and strong demand maintained rising home prices and shrinking months inventory."

In Q4 2014, the median price for Texas homes was $185,900, a 7.76 percent increase from the last quarter of 2013; the average price increased 6.99 percent to $240,976. However, housing inventory fell to an all-time low of 3.3 months — a decrease of 8.33 percent from one year prior. This was in spite of the fact that the second half of 2014 saw an end to the double-digit quarterly drops in inventory that have occurred since summer 2011.

That inventory figure is nearly half the 6.5 months that the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University cites as a market balanced between supply and demand.

In Austin, home sales increased 7.5 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014 to 7,105 single-family home sales. The median median price grew 9.76 percent — to $242,700 — during the same time frame, and our average home price grew 7.51 percent to $307,648. 

Percentage-wise, South Padre Island saw the biggest increase in home sales in the fourth quarter of 2014: 41.86 percent. The city with the greatest boost in average home price was Palestine, at 34.6 percent. The area with the biggest percentage drop in inventory for 4Q2014 was Brazos County, at 35.55 percent.