Lagging Fort Worth home prices rebounded in December

Although the holiday season isn’t usually a busy time for home-buying, the median sales price of a home in Fort Worth reversed the decline of previous months to record an uptick in December.

The median price of a home in December was $340,000, an increase of 4.9 percent compared to December 2021. The year ended with an overall median home sales price that was $15,000 higher than the January 2022 median price of $325,000, according to data from the Greater Fort Worth Association of Realtors, the Real Estate Research Center at Texas A&M University and Texas Realtors.

However, the $340,000 year-end median sales price was $27,000 below the median sales price peak in Fort Worth of $367,000, which occurred in May. Median sales prices have been declining since then, dropping to $330,009 in November.

Across Tarrant County and in Parker and Johnson counties, the median sales price in December was about 6 percent higher than in December 2021. Although median sales prices in those areas were higher in year-over-year comparisons during individual months of 2022, median sales price declines were evident since last spring due to rising interest rates.

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Inventory rose from a dismal low of about 1 month to level out at around 2 months in Fort Worth and Tarrant County and slightly above 3 months in Parker and Johnson counties.

Those inventory levels still lag well below the 6.5 months of inventory that the Real Estate Research Center at Texas A&M University considers a balanced market.

But the dynamics in the greater Fort Worth area housing market are shifting in favor of buyers.

“We are already seeing rate buy-downs and seller concessions regaining some popularity, indicating that the market is becoming more favorable for buyers,” Bart Calahan, 2023 president of the Greater Fort Worth Association of Realtors, said in a statement. “If we see inventory increase in 2023, and homes continue to spend more time on the market, first time home buyers and those looking for more affordable options may find some success in their search.”

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Homes in Fort Worth remained on the market an average of 51 days during December, a big jump from the summer, when homes sold in an average of 16 days.

The interest rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage was at 6.13 percent during the week of Jan. 26, 2023, continuing a recent pattern of slight decline. The National Association of Realtors predicted that rates will fall below 6 percent during 2023.

“Homebuyers are waiting for rates to decrease more significantly, and when they do, a strong job market and a large demographic tailwind of millennial renters will provide support to the purchase market,” Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist, said in a statement. “Moreover, if rates continue to decline, borrowers who purchased in the last year will have opportunities to refinance into lower rates.”