As the start of school approaches, home sales tend to slack off, but Debbie Ezzell believes the market will remain strong.
The Tyler area saw home sales creep up ever so slightly in July, by a mere 0.54 percent from the same time a year ago.
There were 371 homes sold last month, compared to 369 in July 2013, according to the latest figures released by the Greater Tyler Association of Realtors (GTAR). Last month’s sales were 12.29 percent decline from the 423 units sold in June.
For the past couple months, home sales in the area have been skyrocketing, breaking records when compared to the same months in past years. Realtors have said they usually see higher sales in the summer and expect it to slack off in the fall.
Ms. Ezzell, broker and owner of RealEdge Real Estate, said home sales tend to slow down as the school year starts, but the slight decrease in sales doesn’t concern her.
“Last year and this year have been tremendous years,” she said, adding that they have been the best two years the local market has seen in the last decade.
Although the market has slowed slightly, there still is a lot of activity in home sales and rental properties, said Ms. Ezzell, a past president of GTAR.
“I think we’re going to have a great August, just as far as the number of sales I’ve seen already,” she said, adding that some of July’s activity could have moved over to August for closings.
Rick Casey, president of Casey Homes and past president of the Tyler Area Builders Association, said the home building market is strong, but prices are starting to increase.
“We’re busier this summer than last summer,” he said. Casey constructs houses in the Guinn Farms subdivision in South Tyler, as well as custom houses throughout the area, with houses being built in New Summerfield, Poynor and Coffee City.
The median home price last month was $150,000 — that’s a 1.32 percent drop from July 2013, when the median price was $152,000 — and a 4.15 percent decrease from the month before.
Mrs. Ezzell said homes in the $150,000 to $250,000 range are primarily what people are buying.
“That’s the most affordable price range for the average American,” she said.
She said she is seeing sellers price their homes accordingly to attract buyers.
Casey also is seeing a lot of homes going for $150,000 to $250,000.
Ms. Ezzell said it is great that the inventory has stayed under 10 months for all of 2014, an improvement over the year before, and the number of days a house stays on the market has remained at less than 100 days for the last two months.
“I’m very pleased with the way things are going in our market,” she said.
The home inventory for the greater Tyler area reported by GTAR was 9.4 months in July, up from 9.3 months in June and 9.2 months in May. The home inventory in July 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.
Mrs. Ezzell said the inventory is being used up, which can sometimes slow down the market because people can’t find the perfect house. They might have to look a little harder because a lot of properties have sold, she added.
“I think we’re holding our own,” she said. “Everything to me still looks good. I feel like the market is still strong. But it is getting to the point where we’re going to have a little bit of a slow down because people are getting their kids in school.”
Casey said last year his company experienced a strong first two quarters and a slower last two quarters, but he is anticipating this year to end up better. He said they have a couple of sales pending, which is a good sign.