There were 322 units sold last month, up from 278 in July 2011, according to figures released Monday by the Greater Tyler Association of Realtors.
That’s the most dramatic increase in Tyler for the month of July since there were 352 homes sold in 2005 — a 28 percent increase compared to 275 units in 2004, Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University reports show.
The increase in Tyler area house sales is the biggest since February’s 24.3 percent jump from the same time in 2011. However, there were only 225 houses sold here in February, up from 181 units the year before.
Last month’s sales also were a 6.62 percent hike from the 302 homes sold in June.
Officials with the Greater Tyler Association of Realtors believe the July statistics continue to indicate a strengthening real estate market.
While existing home sales increased, pending home sales were also on the rise for the fifth consecutive month.
“I’ve encouraged all of the buyers I’m currently working with to seriously consider pulling the trigger on their home purchases,” Danielle Buffington, of RE/MAX Tyler, said in a prepared statement. “There is a good selection of homes, still at more than reasonable prices and the interest rates are phenomenal,”
Home prices in the area also escalated from the same time last year.
The median home price in July was $149,950. That’s a 7.26 percent jump from last year’s median price of $139,800, but only a 0.604 percent edge over the month before.
According to Freddie Mac, the rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage was 3.55 percent, which is down from its record low in June of 3.68 percent.
Record keeping began in 1971.
Ms. Buffington said the combination of factors will not stay this way forever.
Joe Carlyle, of Carlyle Homes, believes the increase in home sales is indicative of the state and East Texas.
“Texas wasn’t hit quite as hard and is recovering more quickly,” said Carlyle, who is a member of the Tyler Area Builders Association. “We are fortunate to have a diverse economy here in East Texas.”
Carlyle said his custom home business is seeing many people who have been holding onto their cash and waiting to build until they felt the time was right.
“I have half a dozen now that had intentions of building and are now making those decisions about what to build, where to build and when to build,” he said. “Some were ready a few years ago, but only now feel comfortable enough to proceed. That’s what we’re seeing.”
Brent Conaway, of Conaway Homes, said his company’s numbers are also in line, showing they are on track to meet a 20 percent increase in growth for the year.
“We are definitely excited to see everything turning around,” Conaway said. “We are having a lot more prospects walk in the door who are genuinely interested in our homes. We are also seeing more of those prospects become customers.”
Conaway said the Tyler area is much better than it was 18 months ago, and he anticipates it will be even better a year from now.
The housing inventory increased by about 1 percent but remains down from last year by nearly 6 percent, local Realtors reported.
The Tyler area’s home inventory stood at 12.3 months in June, up from 12 months in May and 11.9 months in April, according to the latest figures from the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University.
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.