Dallas home prices rise among few U.S. gains
Industry experts say foreclosures a concern
11:15 AM CDT on Thursday, August 30, 2007
By STEVE BROWN / The Dallas Morning News
Dallas is one of the few cities in the nation where home prices are still rising slightly, according to a national housing survey released Tuesday.
While U.S. home prices fell 3.2 percent in the second quarter, Standard & Poor's quarterly housing index reports that the Dallas metropolitan area was one of only five markets in the country with price gains.
Of the 20 cities it surveys, only Dallas , Seattle , Portland , Ore. , Atlanta and Charlotte , N.C. , had annual gains in home prices in the second quarter.
But it's hard to say whether the 1.6 percent gain in Dallas home prices is sustainable, industry experts say.
Dr. James Gaines of Texas A&M University 's Real Estate Center said "In a lot of places in Dallas , home prices are still going up by double digits.” In other neighborhoods, they are actually falling. But across the board, the gainers outweigh the losers," he said.
As mortgage lenders tighten loan requirements, a significant number of potential homebuyers have been locked out of the market. That could hurt the volume of sales in North Texas in the months ahead.
"It may take awhile to sort out" what's happening in the mortgage market, Dr. William Brueggeman, director of SMU's real estate department said. "There is going to be a little pain and suffering here, but nothing like we are seeing in other markets."
Fewer subprime woes
Dr. Gaines says that even with the soaring foreclosure rates, there have been fewer subprime mortgage problems here.
"The mortgage shakeout is affecting other parts of the country a lot more than it is Texas ," he said. "We didn't have anywhere near the level or magnitude" of subprime loans that other markets did.
But that doesn't mean that Dallas-Fort Worth homeowners aren't going to be hammered with a steady diet of bad news about the U.S. housing market. Those negative reports weigh on consumer psychology.