The September 2023 Housing Report for Fort Worth and Tarrant County presents a blend of positive and challenging aspects of the real estate market. While the median home price has seen a 1.6 percent year-over-year decrease, this dip actually signifies a stable pricing environment, offering assurance to both buyers and sellers. Stability in pricing means that the market is not experiencing wild inflation or deflation, making it more predictable for those entering the real estate market.
A significant highlight of this report is the increase in housing inventory. Fort Worth and Tarrant County have seen inventory levels climb to 2.5 months, which is substantial considering that a balanced market typically hovers around 6.5 months of inventory. This surge in available housing options is excellent news for prospective homebuyers who now have a more extensive selection to choose from than they’ve had in years.
The challenge in this market is the decline in closed sales, down by 8.9 percent in Fort Worth and a more substantial 17.4 percent in Tarrant County compared to September 2022. However, beneath this decline lies a silver lining – pent-up demand. The current conditions reveal that homes are spending an average of 40 days on the market in Fort Worth and 37 days in Tarrant County. This highlights the eagerness of both buyers and sellers. Many are waiting for a more favorable moment to enter the market, possibly when mortgage rates start to decrease.
One of the key hurdles that many prospective homebuyers are facing is the steady rise in mortgage rates. For those who have been accustomed to historically low interest rates, there’s a reluctance to let go of their favorable terms. Bart Calahan, 2023 President of the Greater Fort Worth Association of REALTORS®, advises a strategic approach: finding a home you love now and considering a refinance when rates become more favorable. This approach is in line with the recent increase in adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) applications, accounting for 9.2 percent of total mortgage applications. This shift suggests that people are exploring alternative ways to navigate the challenges presented by high mortgage rates.
Additionally, it’s noteworthy that the latest Fannie Mae National Housing Survey indicates that 84 percent of Americans polled believe it’s a bad time to buy a home. However, consumer sentiment can change, and the current conditions are not static. As the market adapts to the higher mortgage rates and if these rates start to decrease in the future, there’s potential for a shift in this sentiment. The top reason for consumers thinking it’s a bad time to buy a home is high mortgage rates, surpassing even high home prices. While this may be the current sentiment, it’s important to remember that market conditions can change, and consumer sentiment can evolve accordingly.
In conclusion, the September 2023 Housing Report for Fort Worth and Tarrant County reveals a housing market with a mix of positive and challenging dynamics. While closed sales have seen a decline and mortgage rates are on the rise, the stability in home prices, the increase in inventory, and the pent-up demand are all positive signs. These indicators showcase a market that remains resilient and adaptable, even in the face of challenging conditions. The key takeaway is that, while the road ahead may be uncertain, the future of Fort Worth’s real estate market looks promising. It might be an opportune time to find a home you love now and be prepared to take advantage of opportunities as the market continues to evolve. Stay tuned for updates as the market unfolds.