Home sales in the Tyler area skyrocketed in January, jumping 20.8 percent from a year ago.
There were 238 houses sold last month, compared to 197 in January 2013, according to figures released Tuesday by the Greater Tyler Association of Realtors. Last month saw one less home sold than in December.
Jason Gregory, president of the Greater Tyler Association of Realtors, said the housing market in Tyler was good in 2013 and believes January's numbers are a carryover from last year.
He said interest rates remain low and haven't gone up as much as people had expected. People are still buying homes and the average overall debt is going down, especially in Texas.
"People actually have the money to buy stuff," he said. "So they're going out and either they're upgrading from their $100,000 home to a $200,000 home or they've rented for a year or two years, and now they've decided Tyler is where they want to be, so they're buying a home."
There's more than half a billion dollars of commercial construction going on in Tyler right now, said Gregory, of Gregory Realty. Developments will drive more jobs and people moving here, which eventually will contribute to the housing market, he added.
"We're averaging six people a day moving to Tyler so it's an incredible number," Gregory said. "And Tyler, when we're not having this sort of weather outside, is a real fun place to be."
The home inventory in Tyler right now is 9.2 months, up from 8.7 months in December, Gregory said.
Home inventory is how long, based on the past year's sales rate, it would take to clear out existing inventory, with no more homes introduced into the market.
"Typically, after the first of the year, a lot of people try to get their houses on the market for springtime coming up if we can ever get any springtime weather," Gregory said.
The median home price for January was $130,000. That's a 1.56 percent jump from the year before, when the median price was $128,000, but a 9.09 percent decrease from December's $143,000.
Gregory said people are buying homes in the $150,000 to $200,000 range.
He said the average price of a home in Tyler is well below some other cities.
A three-bedroom, two-bathroom average home in Tyler can go for $155,000 while in other parts of the world, the same home might be as much as $225,000, he said.