April a hot month for home sales

Published on Tuesday, 13 May 2014 22:23 - Written by CASEY MURPHY cmurphy@tylerpaper.com

Kevin Humphrey has been building homes in Tyler for 23 years and is as busy now as he was before the economic bust.

“It seems like something just flipped a switch,” he said, adding that the last time business was as brisk for Kevin Humphrey Homes Inc. was in 2007. “Things have really escalated in the last year.”

Last month’s home sales in the Tyler area were the best ever for April, according to the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University.

There were 324 houses sold here last month. The last time an April came close to having that many homes sold was 316 units in 2010 and 318 in 2007.

Last month’s home sales jumped by 12.11 percent, compared to the same time last year, when 289 units were sold. April’s sales also were up 14.89 percent from the 282 houses sold in March.

“I think our economy is stronger than most places in the country,” Humphrey said.

He attributes that to the strong oil and gas and medical industries here, as well as the education system growing by “leaps and bounds” and the growing number of retirees returning to or moving to Tyler.

He said Tyler gaining more retirees and college students creates jobs and brings an influx into the economy, giving everything a boost.

Humphrey believes Tyler’s housing market is one of the earliest to come back up after the economic downturn. A lot of others in the country haven’t yet, he added.

The median home price in April in the Tyler area was $145,000, a slight increase of 2.113 percent over the $142,000 seen here last year. It’s also a 1.4 percent jump from the median home price of $143,000 in March.

Humphrey specializes in building more luxury custom homes priced at $400,000 or more in Smith County and throughout East Texas.

He has eight projects going, compared to eight projects total for 2013, he said.

The home inventory for Tyler was 9.4 months in March, up from nine months in February and January, according to the latest figures available from the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University. April’s figures were not yet 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.