September 17, 2014 Chrisyoung

Demand high for single-family homes

SAN ANTONIO — Homebuyers were busy signing on the dotted line in August.

The number of days for-sale houses sat on the market fell to an average of 60 days, a big decrease from the same month the year before, according to the San Antonio Board of Realtors.

“It’s gotten to be so competitive that things are getting snatched up very quickly,” SABOR President and CEO Angela Shields said. “I think that we’ve been talking about it all along, this being a sellers market.”

The 60-day figure is a 14 percent decrease from August 2013, according to SABOR.

Last month, the median home price reached $183,300, a 4.7 percent increase from the same period last year. A total of 2,468 homes sold, a 2.2 percent increase year-over-year.

Some buyers are coming from south of the border, according to data released at the Texas Association of Realtors conference, held in San Antonio last week.

Texas ranks third in the U.S. for homes purchased by international buyers — an $11 billion infusion from March 2013 to March 2014 — according to the 2014 Texas InternationalHomebuyers Report. The same report shows San Antonio was one of five cities where Mexican homebuyers most often looked for houses on Realtor.com. The other cities were Laredo, El Paso, Houston and San Diego, California.

Months of housing inventory stayed low at 4.5 months, which is consistent with the state average, Shields said.

The low inventory partly stems from a labor shortage, an observation that Mark Dotzour, the chief economist at the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University, made at last week’s conference.

“A lot of the people who worked in construction prior to us going through the recession, they have now come out of that and are starting to work for oil and gas — the Eagle Ford Shale — places like that where they are able to have higher incomes and more stable work,” Shields said.

So far this year, year-over-year housing numbers for San Antonio continue to stay above 2013 figures across the board.

The strong sales reflect increasing consumer confidence, Shields said.

“It kind of got people off that fence, and they’ve decided to go ahead and buy,” she said. “I think that we’ve gotten past that point where people were unsure. They got past that uncertainty and they feel more confident again in their jobs, whatever they had going on — stock markets — they just came back to real estate investment for their homes.

“And so we’ve just seen it month after month.”

There were 3,094 new listings in August. The year-to-date median price rose to $179,800, a 6 percent increase from the same period last year.

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