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11/01/2012

Third quarter Texas home sales strong,Realtor report shows

Texas home sales increased 14 percent in the third quarter, marking the fifth consecutive quarter of improved sales and suggesting a turning point in demand and a recovered housing market, according to the Texas Quarterly Housing report released Thursday.

During the quarter, 66,746 single-family homes were sold, which is slightly lower than the 67,611 homes sold in the second quarter. The median price was $161,400, a 6 percent increase from the year-ago quarter, said the report, issued by the Texas Association of Realtors.

"Previously, it was unclear whether the positive momentum of the first half of the year was a temporary surge or a sustainable improvement," said Jim Gaines, a housing economist with the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University, which compiles the report. "These third quarter results clarify that picture, indicating that the housing market has recovered in Texas. Assuming the national economy doesn’t falter in a significant way, I think we’ll see this positive momentum continue in Texas."

Locally, sales figures are also strong.

In Northeast Tarrant County, home sales in the quarter reached 2,268, a 19 percent increase from the second quarter of 2011. The median prices was $181,700, a 6 percent increase from a year ago, the report said.

In Arlington, sales totaled 1,213, a nearly 9 percent increase from the third quarter of 2011. The median price was $136,300, a nearly 6 percent increase.

And in Fort Worth, 2,423 homes were sold for an 8 percent increase. The median price was $121,700, a 5 percent increase.

The statewide "months inventory" figure for the third quarter is also greatly improved, the report said. In the third quarter, the Texas market had 5.5 months of inventory, a nearly 25 percent drop from the year-ago quarter, which showed 7.3 months of homes for sale.

"The listings inventory in Texas has been falling each quarter and the decrease since the same quarter of last year is sizable," Gaines said.

_ Sandra Baker

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