BY CASEY MURPHY
Tyler area home sales spiked 12.8 in May compared to the same time last year.
There were 326 houses sold last month, while 289 units were sold in May 2012, according to the latest figures released Monday by the Greater Tyler Association of Realtors (GTAR). Last month’s sales also were a 12.8 percent increase from the 289 houses sold in April.
“Wow, that’s what I say about the stats in regards to the real estate market in Tyler and the surrounding areas,” Lorri Loggins, Realtor/broker/owner of Cornerstone Brokerage LLC, and president of GTAR, said to the increased home sales.
The rising median home price “is like the cherry on top,” she added.
May’s median home price of $149,650 was an 8.84 percent jump from the $137,500 seen here a year ago; and a 5.39 percent increase from April, when the median price was $142,000.
Laura Adkinson, Realtor with RealEdge Real Estate, said a small climb in interest rates seems to have pushed some “fence sitters” into purchasing homes before any further rate increases.
“It is exciting to see multiple offers on homes again,” she said.
Char Seuffert, Realtor for Coldwell Banker United, Realtors in Lindale, also said, “It is such an exciting time for Smith County real estate.”
“Our numbers over the last 12 months reflect a tremendous growth in sold price, greater number of sales and a shorter marketing time,” she said. “What is even more exciting is we are seeing a trend showing sellers either purchasing their dream home or downsizing, but still remaining in our market area.”
Ms. Seuffert said buyers realize that interest rates are predicted to rise, and there seems to be a sense of urgency to buy now.
Holly Hightower, Realtor for Cornerstone Brokerage LLC, said the Smith County housing market is healthy.
“If you listen to your Realtor and are prepared to sell, the good homes are gone or seeing multiple offers,” she said.
The Tyler area’s home inventory stood at 10.8 months in April, according to the latest figures available from Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University. That is up from March, when it stood at 10.4 months. 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.
The demand for new homes also is increasing as the inventory of new homes sitting vacant becomes depleted, home builders said.
Mark Bosworth, president of Aspenwood Custom Homes and member of the Tyler Area Builders Association (TABA), said that during the housing boom there was an abundance of inventory when it came to new homes. As the economy slowed, new construction stopped, and now builders are running out of homes that are already built and waiting for a contract.
“Housing demand increasing only drives the wheels for new construction,” he said. “At our company, we are starting to see more interest and prospective clients are picking up the phone and making calls.”
Mike Pardue, TABA member and president of Mike Pardue Homes Inc., has had a similar experience.
“Over the last three years, we typically built 10 to 12 homes,” he said. “We’re looking at maybe 15 or more this year. In the last six months, we’ve talked to a number of people who are ready to build.”