As we bid farewell to 2023, the real estate landscape in Fort Worth exhibited notable trends. Home prices in the city concluded the year at $325,495, marking a 4.3 percent decline compared to the previous year. Tarrant County followed suit with a median home price of $337,990, experiencing a 3.4 percent decrease from December 2022.
A similar downward trajectory was observed in inventory levels at the end of 2023. Fort Worth’s inventory stood at 2.3 months, a decrease from November’s 2.7 months, albeit showing a slight year-over-year increase. According to the Texas Real Estate Research Center at Texas A&M University, a balanced market would have 6.5 months of inventory, highlighting the need for more homes to meet ongoing demand.
Mortgage rates played a pivotal role in shaping the market dynamics, maintaining a mid-six percent range for the past three weeks. This stability followed a decline from the late October peak of 7.79 percent for a 30-year fixed-rate loan, as reported by Freddie Mac. The consequent uptick in demand, coupled with decreasing rates, has fostered buyer optimism.
Blake Barry, the 2024 President of the Greater Fort Worth Association of REALTORS®, notes the rising buyer optimism and emphasizes the current opportunity for buyers to secure a home before increased competition arrives with the spring market. Despite the winter typically being a quieter period for the housing market, Fort Worth saw 49 days on the market in December, with Tarrant County at 50 days. Closed sales experienced a 12.6 percent decline, while active listings increased by 1.4 percent year over year in Fort Worth.
Economists foresee a potentially busier spring market, which could lead to rising prices if inventory fails to rebound. The concern is that affordability, boosted by lower mortgage rates, might be compromised if pent-up demand and low inventory trigger bidding wars. Jessica Lautz, deputy chief economist at the National Association of REALTORS®, highlights the critical role of REALTORS® in assisting buyers with negotiations and finding the right home amid challenging market conditions. As we navigate the evolving real estate landscape, staying vigilant to these trends will be crucial for both buyers and sellers alike.