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Regional Spotlight—The Texas real estate market gained positive momentum in the first quarter of 2012, according to the 2012-Q1 edition of the Texas Quarterly Housing Report issued recently by the Texas Association of REALTORS®. The volume of single-family home sales in Texas was 12 percent higher than the same quarter of 2011 and the median price increased by almost three percent over the same time frame.

“The watchword for Texas real estate in 2011 was ‘consistency,’ in both sales volume and price. That allowed us to emerge from last year with stable sales volumes and strong property values,” says Joe Stewart, chairman of the Texas Association of REALTORS®. “Now, in 2012’s first-quarter results, we see a strong increase in sales volume and a meaningful increase in the median price. That indicates positive momentum for the year ahead.”

For the period of January through March 2012, the volume of single-family home sales in Texas was 45,502, 12 percent more than the same quarter in 2011. The median price for Texas homes during the quarter was $147,100, 2.7 percent more than 2011-Q1.

Jim Gaines, Ph.D., an economist with the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University, expanded on the report: “We believe several factors are driving the strong performance of the first quarter, including continued job growth in Texas and some increased access to credit for home buyers. Most of all, we’re starting to see a shift in Texans’ attitudes toward real estate. Essentially, buyers and sellers have higher expectations for the market, so they’re beginning to take action and we’re starting to see the impacts.”

Looking ahead, the “months inventory” calculation can provide insight into future demand for homes and that figure decreased from 7.6 months in 2011-Q1 to 6.0 months in the first quarter of this year. “Months inventory” is an indicator of the balance between demand for homes and supply in the market and the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University cites 6.5 months of inventory as a balanced market.

Gaines continues, “In Texas, our inventory of homes for sale has been decreasing for about six months now. That’s due in part to the fact that some homeowners who don’t have to sell have chosen to wait for prices to improve before selling their homes. In addition, the slower processing of foreclosures and fewer distressed properties may reduce the number of listings. However, a decrease of more than 20 percent in the inventory of homes compared to the same quarter last year is significant and may be an indication of price increases in the future.”

Chairman Stewart concludes, “If all the indicators play out as we expect, the Texas real estate market is in for a busy spring and summer.”

For more information, visit www.TexasRealEstate.com.

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