Decreasing home prices hit the brakes in December, in what is typically a quiet month for the real estate industry. The median price in Fort Worth ended the year with a slight increase to $340,000–a $15,000 increase in the median price since January 2022, and a 4.9 percent increase year-over-year.
In Tarrant, Parker, and Johnson County, the median price increase was about 6 percent year-over-year. Inventory, which had grown steadily over the course of the year, leveled out at 2 months in Tarrant County and 2.1 months in Fort Worth. The Texas Real Estate Research Center at Texas A&M University cites that 6.5 months of inventory represents a balanced market, which means that inventory is still extremely low despite improvements.
“We are already seeing rate buydowns and seller concessions regaining some popularity, indicating that the market is becoming more favorable for buyers,” said Bart Calahan, 2023 President of the Greater Fort Worth Association of REALTORS®. “If we see inventory increase in 2023, and homes continue to spend more time on the market, first time home buyers and those looking for more affordable options may find some success in their search.”
Homes spent an average of 51 days on the market in December in Fort Worth, a large increase from the summer when homes sold in an average of 16 days. In addition, active listings in Fort Worth were up almost 140 percent from December of 2021. With a less frenzied pace to the homebuying process and more options to consider, buyers have time to negotiate and make well-researched decisions.
Prospective homebuyers that have been closely watching mortgage rates saw the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage decrease to 6.33 percent this week, according to Freddie Mac. The National Association of REALTORS® recently predicted that rates will likely settle below 6 percent and experience less volatility in 2023.
“Homebuyers are waiting for rates to decrease more significantly, and when they do, a strong job market and a large demographic tailwind of Millennial renters will provide support to the purchase market,” said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist. “Moreover, if rates continue to decline, borrowers who purchased in the last year will have opportunities to refinance into lower rates.”