Tyler home sales set May record

Published on Tuesday, 17 June 2014 22:54 - Written by Casey Murphy, cmurphy@tylerpaper.com

Tyler area home sales were the highest they have ever been for May, climbing by 19.02 percent over the same time last year.

There were 388 houses sold here last month, compared to 326 in May 2013, according to the latest figures released by the Greater Tyler Association of Realtors.

Last month’s sales also were a 19.75 percent increase from the month before.

The last time area home sales topped 300 in May was when 345 units sold in 2008, according to the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University.

Jason Gregory, of Gregory Realty, is president of the Greater Tyler Association of Realtors and said all of Tyler and Smith County is seeing more residential sales.

“It’s been a great year,” he said. “We’ve been super busy, and every broker I’ve talked to has been busy.”

Homes in the $135,000 to $200,000 range that are located around or south of Loop 323 are “flying off the shelves,” he said, adding that there are a lot of first-time home buyers and those upgrading to larger homes right now.

The median home price last month was $150,000, a slight increase of 0.234 percent from the $149,650 seen here in May 2013. It’s also a 3.45 percent increase from $145,000 the month before.

Gregory said he listed a home in the Cambridge area on Thursday and had a full-price offer on Friday. He attributed the high home sales to low interest rates and people securing better loans. “People are just spending money and buying homes the right way,” he said.

Gregory said inventory is low right now.

The home inventory for Tyler was 9.2 months in May, down from 9.5 months in April and 9.4 months in March. The home inventory in May 2013 was 10.7 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.

Homebuilder Scott Greene, of Boulevard Homes, said he is seeing more people in the market ready to build new homes or remodel old ones.

“2014 I think will be a record-setting, banner year,” Greene said, adding that he doesn’t expect it to slow down next year.

Boulevard Homes specializes in move-up level, single-family homes in the $250,000 to $500,000 range.

“Last year was pretty good but this year has actually been a little overwhelming,” he said. Greene projects that if business keeps going like it has been, they won’t have the manpower to keep up with the demand.

Gregory said May tends to be a hot month for home sales because kids are getting out of school and people want to settle into their new homes before starting vacation.

He said all of the commercial construction going on in Tyler — including on University Boulevard, Old Jacksonville Highway and South Broadway Avenue — is bringing in new jobs and more people moving in to the city.

Gregory said real estate is typically good the year before an election year and slows during election year because people don’t know what change is coming.

“I hope ’15 is as good as ’14,” he said.

Gregory also has residential rental properties and is seeing just as much rental activity as home buying, he said, adding that he has only an 8 percent vacancy in his local residential rental properties.

Greene also does rental community development and said his properties are at 100 percent capacity.