Date Archives: April 2020

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Common House Noises - RE/MAX DFW Associates

Creaks, groans, bangs, clanks—houses make all kinds of weird noises. Most of them aren't anything to worry about, but some could indicate a serious problem. Our real estate agents have just about heard them all, and we're here to offers some advice on how to identify and fix some common house sounds.

  • Whining Windows
    Chances are you've heard the ghostly sound of wind whistling through a drafty window. It can be downright unsettling if you don't know what it is, but once you've identified the source, leaky windows are usually an easy fix. In most cases, all it takes is a bit of caulk or weather stripping to seal air leaks around old windows, though if you live in an old house with a lot of drafty windows, you might want to think about replacing them to improve energy efficiency.

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Key highlights from this report:

  • The U.S. is likely in a recession, and it will likely get worse.
  • This could cause home prices to drop in some U.S. cities.
  • Historically, Texas housing markets have been less likely to crash.
  • Affordability and strong demand could shield Texas real estate markets in 2020 – 2021, as in the past.

Housing Market Crash Unlikely in Texas

The current health and economic crisis has a lot of Texans wondering: Will the Texas housing market crash later in 2020? Will home prices drop in cities all across the state?

While it's too early to know the full extent of our economic turmoil, Texans can take comfort from looking at historical trends. The state's housing market has fared well during past recessions. And with the current supply-and-demand situation in most Texas cities, the real estate market could "survive" the current downturn as well.

With that being said, we do expect home values in most Texas housing markets to rise more slowly — or even dip — during the second half of 2020. But a full-scale "crash" seems unlikely for the Lone Star State.

The chart below shows the house price index for Texas, going all the way back to the 1980s. The gray vertical bars represent economic recessions. The largest of the gray bars, over on the right, indicates the Great Recession of 2008 to 2009.

A few points will jump out at you, when viewing this chart:

  • Home prices in Texas have risen through four of the last five recessions.
  • During the Great Recession, home values in Texas leveled off a bit but did not drop.
  • From 2012 to 2019, home prices in the state rose sharply, largely due to population growth and increased demand.

Real Estate Considered 'Essential' in the State

Many states in the U.S. have issued some form of stay-at-home or shelter-in-place order, to help slow the spread of the coronavirus. Texas is one of those states.

This past week, Governor Greg Abbot said that the order "requires all Texans to stay at home except to provide essential services or do essential things like going to the grocery store."

Real estate is considered an "essential" business in the state, and can therefore be practiced as long as social distancing is maintained.

Texas REALTORS®, the state's Realtor association, recently issued the following advice to its members: "While real estate is an essential activity statewide, keep health and safety top of mind when conducting business."

Rising Unemployment Will Reduce Buyer Demand

Despite its "essential" designation, the real estate market in Texas will undoubtedly slow down over the coming months as the coronavirus pandemic continues to disrupt the economy and job market.

Jobless claims in Texas soared recently, as they have in other states. According to data provided by the Labor Department, initial unemployment claims in the state rose by more than 600% from February to March 2020. That's largely the result of business closures, layoffs and furloughs stemming from the coronavirus outbreak.

So even though people are "allowed" to buy homes in Texas, many would-be buyers will have to postpone or cancel their plans for financial reasons. This will likely cause a housing market slowdown across Texas.

But if history is any indication, the effects of such a slowdown could be less severe in Texas compared to many other states. With a strong economy, relatively cheap land, and a growing population, the Texas housing market could rebound quickly from whatever downturn it experiences.

Rob Kaplan, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, recently told The Dallas Morning News:

"Based on our models, our judgment is obviously a severe contraction in the second quarter, probably some negative GDP at the start of the third quarter and then a rebound."

He was referring to the state as a whole.

Some Local Markets Are More Vulnerable than Others

While Texas housing markets have fared well during past recessions, the sharp rise of home values could make some cities more vulnerable to a downturn in 2020. The Austin metro area falls into this category.

Over the past few years, most cities across Texas have experienced steady home-price gains. This is most evident within the major cities of Austin, Dallas and Houston.

Here are the home-price trends for the state's three biggest cities, based on data provided by Zillow.

  • Austin: The capital city's median home price rose by 4.7% over the past year or so, one of the largest gains of any Texas city. The median price point rose from around $230,000 in 2012 to nearly $400,000 as of February 2020.
  • Dallas: The median home value in Dallas rose 2.3% over the past year. The median climbed from $120,000 in early 2012 to $220,000 in early 2020.
  • Houston: The median home value in Dallas rose by around 2.6% over the past year. The median price climbed from $118,000 in early 2012, to $190,000 in early 2020.

As you can see, prices have risen higher and faster in Austin, Texas than they have in Dallas or Houston. That's partly the result of population growth. Austin has long been a popular destination for job seekers and house hunters alike. The city's population grew by a whopping 20% from 2010 to 2018.

Overall, however, the Texas real estate market could see a repeat of past recessions when home prices either leveled off or continue climbing. A housing market crash — or even a major decline in home values — seems unlikely at this point.

  • HBI, April 5, 2020

Northeast, Florida markets fare the worst


Texas biggest markets – including Dallas-Ft Worth – are among the metro areas least likely to see a major housing market shakeout from the pandemic.   Housing markets that will be most negatively affected by the COVID-19 infections and resulting in economic recession are mostly in the Northeast and Florida, according to a new report by analysts at Attom Data Solutions.   Researchers looked at almost 500 home markets across the country and rated them based on foreclosures, homeowner equity, wages and other factors.  "Texas has ten of the 50 least vulnerable counties from among the 483 included in the report," Attom Data analysts said.  "The 10 counties in Texas include three in the Dallas area (Dallas, Collin and Tarrant).

  • Dallas Morning News, April 6, 2020

The minute that people are legally allowed to take a physical tour, the market is going to boom. It's like when the new iPhone comes out. We want and expect lines out the door, just no tents, please.   People will be lined up at the doors of those homes they have obsessed over for months.  In the meantime, real estate professionals are utilizing virtual tours to keep buyers excited, and it is working, and relationships are getting back to the core — the heart.  We are entering what is usually the busiest season of real estate, that usually lasts through the end of the summer. I am confident that the busy season will last through the fall, and possibly through the winter.  Momentum is building, so there is no need to fear putting your home on the market.  Now is our chance to build and maintain confidence in the real estate market, because as soon as our world begins to shift back into normalcy, the market will be at its height.

  • Fox Business, April 5, 2020

DecreaseNorth Texas home sellers are retreating in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Asking prices for homes listed for sale in Dallas-Fort Worth fell 3% in March from a year ago — a sign of what might be to come in the next month or two.  The median D-FW list price with was $342,545.  Total area listings were down 10% from March 2019.

"Our inventory and listing data can provide some early insight into how housing markets may be impacted by COVID-19, but the situation and reactions to it are still rapidly evolving," chief economist Danielle Hale said in the new report. "The U.S. housing market had a good start to the year.

"Despite still-limited homes for sale, buyers were buying and builders were building," she said. "The pandemic and virus-fighting measures appear to be disrupting that initial momentum as both buyers and sellers adopt a more cautious posture."

Real estate agents have reported a sharp decline in homebuyer traffic, have canceled open houses and are doing more business online to cope with the coronavirus epidemic.   The decline in home buying activity caused by the pandemic is coming at the time of year the housing market typically takes off.  The full impact of the COVID-19 infections, resulting layoffs and expected economic recession likely won't be known for several months.

"April and May are going to be the telling months," said Dr. James Gaines, chief economist with the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University. "The first half of March ,we were still gearing up for all the shelter in place."


  • Dallas Morning News, April 6, 2020

Scenic Drives - DFW - RE/MAX DFW Associates

The wide-open spaces of Texas are too tempting not to explore on four wheels. Whether you're a native Texan or a visitor hoping to move into one of our Fort Worth homes for sale, you'll discover new treasures hiding around every corner. From charming towns to unspoiled landscapes with virtually no one else around for miles, our real estate agents encourage you to take one of these scenic drives around the DFW to uncover everything The Lonestar State has to offer.

  • Lonesome Highway
    Have you ever wanted to get away from it all? Then the Lonesome Highway is the ideal route for you. Great for cruising alone in your car or atop a motorcycle, this lonely stretch of road will take you from the DFW up to the foot of the Guadalupe Mountains. After traveling west on Highway 285, you'll head south on Highway 180. Crank up the tunes and put the windows down; on the Lonesome Highway, you won't pass much more than the occasional tumbleweed and endless Texan views.

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