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02/01/2013

Texas, Tarrant County existing home sales end 2012 on a strong note, report says

Existing home sales across Tarrant County were healthy in the fourth quarter of 2012, according to the latest Texas Quarterly Housing Report.

The report, published by the Texas Association of Realtors, said demand for homes, declining inventories and improving consumer confidence contributed to a strong quarter statewide.

"Texas Realtors saw a marketed increase in the pace of home sales as 2012 came to a close," said Shad Bogany, association chairman.

Between October and December, 56,488 single-family homes were sold in Texas, a 19.8 percent increase from the year-ago quarter. The median price was $159,200, a 7.4 percent increase.

In Arlington, 983 homes were sold, for a 14.5 percent increase from the year-ago quarter, but below the 1,225 homes sold in the third quarter. The median home price was $127,700, a 1.1 percent increase from the year ago quarter.

In Fort Worth, 2,103 homes were sold in the quarter for a 12.9 percent increase, but below the better performing second quarter of 2012 when 2,529 homes were sold. The median sales price in the quarter was $119,200, an 8.9 percent increase from the year-ago quarter.

In Northeast Tarrant County, 1,758 homes were sold, a 19.1 percent increase from the fourth quarter of 2011, but also below the better performing second quarter of 2012 when 2,364 homes were sold. The median price in the fourth quarter was $171,400, a 1 percent increase.

"This positive performance is evidence of a true rebound in Texas real estate that reaches broadly around the state," said Jim Gaines, an economist with the Texas A&M University Real Estate Center. "We’re moving briskly down the road to recovery, thanks to positive economic activity in Texas and improvements in the attitudes homeowners have about the market."

Inventory decreased in the quarter for the sixth consecutive quarterly decline, the report said. The market featured 4.6 months of inventory at the end of last year, which is 1.8 months less than the same quarter of the prior year, the report said.

_ Sandra Baker

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