Home sales slump in March

Published on Tuesday, 15 April 2014 23:44 - Written by Casey Murphy, cmurphy@tylerpaper.com

Even though home sales in the Tyler area slumped by 5.37 percent in March compared to the same time a year ago, Kerry Hamblett still predicts a strong year in the local housing market.

Hamblett, owner of Hamblett Construction Management LLC and president of the Tyler Area Builders Association, said he was surprised that home sales last month were down from last year.

“It really surprises me,” he said. “We’re busier than we were last year.”

There were 282 houses sold last month, compared to 298 in March 2013, according to the latest figures released by the Greater Tyler Association of Realtors.

Last month was a 15.58 jump from February, when 244 homes sold here.

Although the numbers might not reflect it, the feeling Hamblett is getting in the field is that things are picking up, he said.

He said he has such a good feeling about Smith County’s housing market that he is building three spec houses right now.

“I think it’s going to be a good year,” he said.

Hamblett believes the decrease in sales and the median home price might be a blip on the radar.

The median home price in March was $143,000, a slight decline of 0.262 percent from $143,375 during the same time last year, and a 1.68 percent decrease from the median price of $145,450 the month before.

Hamblett speculated that maybe more high priced homes sold last March to drive up the median price, making this year’s rate appear lower.

He said as far as new home construction goes, home prices are going up because the cost of lots, as well as labor and materials, are all higher than they were a year or two ago.

The home inventory for Tyler was nine months in February and January, up from 8.7 months in December, according to the latest figures available from the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University. March’s figures were not immediately available.

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.