September Newsletter- Inventory Falling with the Leaves

 

 

“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.” -Albert Camus

 

 

 

Photo by Irina Iriser from Pexels

The weather is just slightly starting to cool here in North Texas. It is officially the season of fall and the leaves have started to change, ever so slightly. Soon we will be pulling out our sweaters and jackets! Even though I have lived in Texas my entire life, I have never been a fan of the heat. So understandably, I love it when the weather begins to cool down. For us, fall means football games, sweaters, pumpkins, sips of hot chocolates, cool crisp walks or bike rides, and a time to slow down and enjoy the cool crisp air. What does it mean for you?

As we know, this year has been unlike any other that any of us has experienced. The housing market, typically begins to cool off during the fall season, however, it took a pause during the pandemic and then took off the past month. Sale prices are up, year over year, in all counties and inventory has drastically fallen. The pandemic pause created high demand for housing, low inventory and low mortgage rates have all pushed prices upward. Housing starts have not been able to keep up with demand.  Confidence among single-family homebuilders increased to a record high in September. Builders, however, remained concerned about rising costs for materials and delivery delays, especially for lumber.

Our rural markets have also been showing price increases for some of the same reasons. There has been an increase in the demand to move out of the urban and suburban areas to more rural settings since the pandemic. We will share some stats from our more rural counties in this newsletter. Many are adjusting to this more country life. Think ” Home on the Range” like this gem from Gene Autry ( we are located only five miles from his birthplace)

Let’s first take a look at our main four counties:

Median Sales Price

AUGUST 2020

Denton County
$335,000 | +6.3%
Collin County
$370,000 | +8.8%
Dallas County
$280,000 | +12.9%
Tarrant County
$260,175 | +5.3%

Price Per Square Foot

AUGUST 2020

Denton County
$148 | +5.7%
Collin County
$146 | +5.8%
Dallas County
$152 | +11.8%
Tarrant County
$133 | +5.6%

 

Months of Inventory

AUGUST 2020

Denton County
1.6 | -52.9%
Collin County
1.7 | -55.3%
Dallas County
2.3 | -37.8%

Tarrant County
 1.5 | -42.3%
 

Volume

AUGUST 2020

Denton County
1,809 | +9.6%
Collin County
1,881 | +14.6%
Dallas County
2,465 | +4.6%
Tarrant County
2,811 | +3.1%

 

Rural Markets

This month, we are adding some of the numbers for our more rural counties as we have seen significant increases in them as well. It is noted, however, that since the rural markets have fewer numbers of sales, the markets tend to fluctuate more erratically.

Median Sale Price

AUGUST 2020

Cooke County
$246,250 | +17.3%
Grayson County
$205,000 | +11.7%
Wise County
$252,000 | -14.2%
Parker County
$325,000 | +12.9%

 

Months of Inventory

AUGUST 2020

Cooke County
2.9 | -50.0%
Grayson County
2.7 | -42.6%
Wise County
3.1 | -26.2%
Parker County
2.7 | -38.6%

 Volume

AUGUST 2020

Cooke County
74 | +29.8%
Grayson County
245 | +20.1%
Wise County
99 | -14.7%
Parker County
326 | +8.7%


So as you can see from the charts, our rural markets have seen a lot of activity and price appreciation, with the exception of Wise County which had a low number of sales for the past month. As stated previously, the rural markets fluctuate more frequently this could just be a mild fluctuation. Here are the price trend numbers, seasonally adjusted:

AUGUST 2020

Cooke County
$220,000 | +4.8%
Grayson County
$191,967 | +3.8%
Wise County
$250,000 | +2.5%
Parker County
$312,000 | +9.2%

All four counties are showing upward price trends when seasonally adjusted. 

Fall Recipe

Shannon’s Easy Pumpkin Bread Recipe:

1 box white or yellow cake mix 

1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree

1 teaspoon cinnamon (or 1.5 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice)

1-3 eggs (see cake mix directions for amount) Vegetable oil (see cake mix directions for amount)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and grease a loaf pan. Consult your cake mix box to find the number of eggs and oil as directed on the box. Combine cake mix, eggs, and oil in a bowl and mix on medium speed until smooth and well-blended. Add pumpkin and cinnamon. Mix on low until incorporated. Pour mixture into prepared loaf pan. Bake at 375 for 50 minutes. Cool and serve with butter or frost with cream cheese frosting.

Please share with us some of your favorite recipes! We’d love to give them a try!

Great Cycle Challenge Completed!

We completed our Great Cycle Challenge. Thanks to all that sponsored us! We reached our goal of $1,000 towards cancer research and 200 miles in September. You can read about our journey here:

In case you missed it, we had a guest blog this month –5 Things You Should Research Before Downsizing During the Pandemic

We will continue to cover the North Texas housing market for you in our monthly newsletter! Please let us know if you have any questions or need appraisal services.

5 Things You Should Research Before Downsizing During the Pandemic

This is a guest post from blogger Mike Longsdon with Elder Freedom. Elder Freedom is an organization of advocates working for the older adults of our community. It is our mission to help locate resources, events, and engagement opportunities to help enrich the lives of seniors. Thank you for providing this important information for older adults.

Even under normal circumstances, downsizing your home can be a complex and stressful transition. With COVID-19 still a public health threat and seniors most at risk, downsizing in the coming weeks and months can be even more complicated. However, finding the perfect home for your golden years doesn’t have to be so challenging. You can keep yourself protected from coronavirus and undue stress by researching these downsizing essentials.

COVID-19 Rules and Precautions

If you’re like most seniors, COVID-19 is at the front of your mind even when it comes to downsizing. That’s because COVID-19 has impacted nearly every aspect of life, including purchasing property. So, if you are looking for a new home for your retirement, know that you can use 3D walkthroughs, video-conference tours, and virtual open houses to stay safe. You should also check in with your state’s current COVID-19 updates before you begin downsizing. Pay special attention to reopening plans, as this can impact your home search and move.

Housing Market Prices and Trends

Real estate in some parts of the country shuddered at the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, but the market is picking up steam in many states. Still, you should check in with your real estate agent or check online to see what current housing trends look like in your particular area. Better yet, you can hire DW Slater Company for reliable and expert home appraisal services.

In terms of housing prices, seniors looking to downsize may be in for a bit of sticker shock when it comes to their new homes. That’s because despite being in a recession, housing prices in the US are not expected to fall as drastically as they did back in 2008. So you may end up paying quite a bit more for a smaller home than you were originally expecting.

Aging in Place Home Modifications

Your new home should be perfect for you now and in the future. So as you begin thinking about what sort of features you would like to have in your new home, also start thinking about what sort of home design features will help you age in place. Keep in mind that you can DIY many updates, but some projects will require a professional. Having your cabinets lowered, floors updated or a stairlift added are all modifications that should be completed by a pro Just be sure to take the necessary precautions to protect yourself from COVID-19 when scheduling projects. This can include asking contractors about their exposure to coronavirus and requesting they wear protective gear, including shoe covers and masks, while they work inside of your home.

Local Cost of Living Statistics

Comfort and stability are key to preserving your quality of life in retirement and this is why you should calculate costs of living for your desired location. Your housing expenses are bound to make up the bulk of your costs of living, but things like groceries and transportation costs should also be considered. Healthcare costs can be a major expense for seniors as well, so make sure you have the right healthcare plan and will be able to afford the care you need in retirement. Most retirees spend an average of $6,700 out of pocket each year for their healthcare costs, but this total can vary according to your insurance or Medicare coverage and your individual needs.

Downsizing and Moving Guides 

Last but certainly not least, you will want to create a plan for downsizing your household. Since things are already so stressful right now, consider using a downsizing guide to help you check each essential task off of your list. For instance, this downsizing guide has some helpful tips for coping with the emotions that often come with decluttering and downsizing your personal possessions. In addition to researching tips for downsizing your home, you should also look for moving guides that include special precautions and considerations for reducing COVID-19 risks.

Downsizing can free up a lot of time, money, and stress for your retirement. So don’t let worries about coronavirus put a damper on your downsizing plans. With a few added precautions, you can keep your move safe and then you can settle into your golden years even sooner!

Photo Credit: Rawpixel

Author: Mike Longsdon with Elder Freedom. Elder Freedom is an organization of advocates working for the older adults of our community. It is our mission to help locate resources, events, and engagement opportunities to help enrich the lives of seniors. You can find more about Elder Freedom at their site: http://elderfreedom.net/

Low Supply, Huge Demand, Prices Climb-August Newsletter

Photo by Dorothy Castillo from Pexels

August has been a blur for us. Historically low-interest rates + Low Inventory + Pent Up Demand = High Activity in the Housing Market. We have been very busy and we are not alone. The DW Slater Company and appraisers have a high demand for their services at this time. We are thankful to our clients for trusting us to continue to provide quality appraisal services in a timely manner.

The housing market in North Texas has been very active. The number of houses sold is up double digits from last year in all four counties. Prices have increased in July. This is amid the pandemic. Many are wondering how this can be. With so many job losses due to the pandemic, wouldn’t that cause the prices to go down? The pandemic has caused many to rethink their current situation. Many are anticipating and hoping those jobs come back. We are seeing many that are moving out of the cities to the suburban and more rural areas. Some are moving to different homes to better accommodate work from home space.

There are some headwinds that are troubling. As we see many jobs in jeopardy, such as the airline industry, the retail industry, and many more, this will threaten homeowners ability to pay their mortgages. We will continue to watch the numbers, particularly the number of foreclosures going forward.

Let’s take a look at the numbers:

Median Price Trends

JULY 2020
Denton County
$337,380 | +4.6%
Collin County
$365,000 | +6.2%
Dallas County
$281,250 | +13.4%
Tarrant County
$260,000 | +5.7%

Inventory

JULY 2020
Denton County
1.9 | -45.7%
Collin County
2.0 | -48.7%
Dallas County
2.5 | -32.4%
Tarrant County
1.7 | -34.6%
 

Price per Square Foot

JULY 2020
Denton County
$146 | +3.5%
Collin County
$143 | +2.1%
Dallas County
$150 | +7.9%
Tarrant County
$132 | +3.9%
 

Volume

JULY 2020
Denton County
2,040 | +21.5%
Collin County
2,172 | +23.1%
Dallas County
2,882 | +18.1%
Tarrant County
3,267 | +14.8%

Days on the Market

JULY 2020
Denton County
19 | -24.0%
Collin County
22 | -31.3%
Dallas County
18 | 0.0%
Tarrant County
13 | -7.1%

As you can see, there has been a lot of activity in our markets. The inventories continue to decline, sale volume has increased and marketing times decrease.

Foreclosure Sales:

REO sales reported in the NTREIS MLS in Denton, Collin, Dallas, Tarrant Counties.

At this time were are not seeing an increase in distressed sales. We will continue to watch this trend.

Riding in September

We will be riding in the Great Cycle Challenge this September. Our goal is to ride 200 miles. This ride was originally scheduled for June but was postponed. We are riding in memory of our friend, Greg Harden, that we lost this year to cancer. Please consider sponsoring our ride and helping us to fight cancer. You can also follow along with us on our page. Click here for more information.

We hope that you are doing well. If you have any questions or appraisal needs please feel free to reach out to us at https://www.dwslaterco.com/.

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Summer Heat Amid a Pandemic-July Newsletter

Cows cooling off at a ranch in Wise County

We are now into the very hot months of summer in North Texas with average temperatures of 96 degrees (not factoring in heat indexes in the triple digits). The housing market has been on a pandemic pause but last month has moved upward. As this pandemic is lasting longer than many had hoped or expected, there is now a pent up demand for housing in North Texas.

After spending more time at home, the need for a home office and a desire to be in a less dense area, are making a move to different housing more appealing for many. As a result, the number of sales for the month of June has surged. Supply is down and volume is up. New home starts are up 17.9% from last year as supply is trying to keep up with demand. The more rural markets are also seeing lots of activity. We will share some of the data from the rural counties this month so make sure to scroll down for the interactive charts!

The Texas economy is still struggling but recovering some during the pandemic. According to the latest report from Texas A&M Real Estate Center:

The Texas economy continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. The state’s economy lost 696,200 nonagricultural jobs from June 2019 to June 2020, an annual decline of 5.4 percent, smaller than the nation’s employment decline of 8.6 percent. The nongovernment sector lost 610,300 jobs, an annual decline of 5.6 percent, also lower than the nation’s employment decline of 9.1 percent in the private sector. Texas and U.S. annual job loss rates last month were both smaller than their May rates, making June the second month of economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Added to the mix of factors impacting real estate, mortgage rates are at their lowest in 50 years, with rates dipping below 3 % with a 30 year fixed rate at 2.98%.

These low rates have certainly encouraged many to buy or refinance a home. However, the longer the pandemic and uncertainty exist, the more job losses will impact the purchasing power of many. Recent job losses reported in our area- JC Penney with 1,000 jobs cut and American Airlines is laying off and furloughing 25,000 jobs. Both of these companies are headquartered in North Texas and the impacts of these job losses have yet to be seen.

Let’s look at the numbers for our main four counties:

Median Sales Price

Denton County
$325,000 | +1.2%
Collin County
$360,000 | +1.6%
Dallas County
$270,000 | +1.5%
Tarrant County
$255,000 | +2.0%

Median Price Per Square Foot

Denton County
$144 | +2.9%
Collin County
$144 | +4.3%
Dallas County
$147 | +2.8%
Tarrant County
$131 | +4.0%

Days on Market

Denton County
20 | -20.0%
Collin County
25 | -10.7%
Dallas County
20 | +25.0%
Tarrant County
14 | +7.7%

Months of Supply

Denton County
2.0 | -42.9%
Collin County
2.2 | -45.0%
Dallas County
2.5 | -30.6%
Tarrant County
1.7 | -34.6%

Volume

Denton County
1,772 | +17.9%
Collin County
1,864 | +8.8%
Dallas County
2,436 | +7.9%
Tarrant County
2,847 | +6.0%

Rural Markets

Now, let’s take a look at some of our less dense and rural market areas. We have included Cooke, Grayson, Wise, and Parker Counties. These, of course, are not all of the more rural counties around the DFW market but they are some of the counties we most often serve.

Median Sales Price

Cooke County
$248,200 | +10.9%
Grayson County
$195,298 | -5.4%
Wise County
$273,900 | +9.6%
Parker County
$341,000 | +11.8%

Months of Supply

Cooke County
3.4 | -42.4%
Grayson County
3.2 | -30.4%
Wise County
3.1 | -26.2%
Parker County
3.0 | -25.0%

Volume

Cooke County
42 | +7.7%
Grayson County
244 | +34.1%
Wise County
113 | +18.9%
Parker County
313 | +19.5%
 
 

These markets are seeing double-digit growth in the number of sales, as well as a large dip in the supply and an increase in the median sales price. This uptick in activity in the more rural markets has been attributed to the uncertainty in the more densely populated areas. Some are really just wanting to get away from it all and are looking to the rural areas for the respite.

Life Goes On

Although we are in the midst of a pandemic, which has cause much disruption in the world, we are reminded that life still goes on. People are still buying houses, getting married and having babies. We are proud to announce the birth of our fourth grandson! He was born this month and is doing well.

“In three words I can sum up everything I learned about life: Life Goes On”

Robert Frost

As always, if you have any questions about real estate appraising or need services, please do not hesitate to contact us. Stay safe and well!

Interesting Real Estate Related Reads & Recommendations

Two Kinds of Bedrooms and Bathrooms– Cleveland Appraisal Blog

Five Ways To Identify An Increasing Real Estate Market– Birmingham Appraisal Blog

Best Home Equity Loans of 2020 – Money

Listen Closely to the Housing Narrative– Jonathan Miller, Housing Notes

5 Excel Resources and How-To Guides for Appraisers McKissock Blog

Wisdom of Crowds and 108 Year Old House– Scott Cullen, Working RE

5 Lessons Learned About Giving and Business– Michael Perry, Appraisal Buzz

June Newsletter-Summer Time is Here while Supply & Volume Show Big Declines in Housing Market

Turner Falls, Oklahoma

Today is the official first day of summer. Can you believe it? Spring just really meshed into summer since all of the stay home orders. Nothing this year is normal as we are still in the midst of this pandemic. We hope that you are able to find a safe place to stay cool and enjoy your summer time.

We recently took our kids to visit Turner Falls in Oklahoma which is the cover picture. It is a waterfall from a natural spring in the Arbuckle Mountains. We love the area and were able to spread out , social distance, hike, swim and enjoy the beautiful geologic formations.

The housing markets have so far not seen big declines in prices during the pandemic but the supply and volume show drastic decline during the pandemic. Both the supply and inventory have double-digit declines YoY but prices have remained relatively flat. So why haven’t prices declined? As we discussed last month, the supply and demand both decreased in tandem. Typically if the demand decreased but supply remained the same, a lowering in price would occur. During this pandemic, the supply has also decreased, keeping the supply/demand ratio similar to prior to the pandemic.

Predictions during this time are difficult. Texas is currently experiencing a “double whammy” as low oil price and a pandemic are impacting the economy. Texas has been reopening but as we have, covid19 cases have been climbing. This threatens a strong economic recovery, which would then impact the housing market.

Mortgage rates remain at record lows.

Let’s dive in to the numbers:

Median Sales Price

Denton County
$322,000 | -0.3%

Collin County
$345,000 | 0.0%

Dallas County
$250,000 | -3.8%

Tarrant County
$247,000 | -0.2%

Months Supply of Inventory

Denton County
2.4 | -31.4%

Collin County
2.5 | -34.2%

Dallas County
2.8 | -20.0%

Tarrant County
1.9 | -24.0%

Volume

Denton County
1,245 | -24.8%

Collin County
1,266 | -31.1%

Dallas County
1,694 | -36.0%

Tarrant County
1,953 | -31.4%

Median Days on Market

Denton County
24 | +20.0%

Collin County
25 | -3.8%

Dallas County
20 | +5.3%

Tarrant County
16 | +23.1%

New Listings

Denton County
2,071 | -9.0%

Collin County
2,151 | -15.5%

Dallas County
3,340 | -7.9%

Tarrant County
3,210 | -17.9%

As we move forward, we will continue to watch the housing market and economy for North Texas. As we are still in the middle of this pandemic, we do wish you all safety and health. As always, please let us know if you have questions or comments about real estate appraising or need appraisal services.

Happy Father’s Day to all of the dads and those who are like fathers to us. You will never know how important you are. We celebrate you!

Interesting Reads or Listens

Don’t hold your breath for a Covid discount– Sacramento Appraisal Blog

Unintended Consequences of the Coronavirus Pandemic– Birmingham Appraisal Blog

The economy is tanking. So why aren’t home prices dropping?-Curbed

Appraisal Terms That Are Out of This World-Cleveland Appraisal Blog

Hundreds of new homes coming in Royse City northeast of Dallas– Dallas Morning News

Equestrian apparel company Ariat could bring hundreds of jobs to Fort Worth– Dallas Morning News

The Lockdown Has Relegated Housing To Background Noise– Housing Notes

Does My Neighborhood Really Need to be Analyzed? -The Appraiser’s Advocate

May Newsletter- Finding our Way in These Times

North Shore, Oahu, Hawaii

As Dickens penned, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.” The last two months have been times like none of us have ever seen. I was able to visit with my grandmother who is 91 and in a nursing home. While Facetiming, I asked her if she ever experienced anything like this pandemic. She said, “No, not anything can compare”. She was a nurse during WWII and lived through the depression. She has been around but she said nothing can compare. I think that is certainly true.

Times have been hard and these hard times are not over, but there have been some good things to happen as some families have been able to spend more time together and prioritize what is most important. I have seen courageous frontline workers and many appreciating all of those jobs that are essential for supply chains. As I type this newsletter, we just launched astronauts in space with a reusable rocket.

Our apologies for the delay in getting this newsletter out as we are now at the end of the month, but we have been busy and most importantly we had our son’s wedding this month (pic at the end of the newsletter). There were many adjustments and last-minute decisions that had to be made. The wedding went from a large to a very small gathering and then from an outdoor wedding to indoor due to the weather. They have been together 8 years so we agreed with not delaying it! We will have a large celebration later but in the meantime, we are very happy they started their married life together and wish them the best of times!

In regards to the housing market, some have tried to compare it to 2008 or 1980s S& L crisis but a forced shut down during a pandemic of epic proportions is not like any of those things. Many are thinking that the market should be tanking but what many do not understand is when we are looking at a market, we are looking backward. There is usually around 30 days, sometimes more from the time buyers and sellers have a contract and then the sale is actually closed. The numbers shown on the charts below are up to April, so many of these sales began in March. Next month’s numbers will be more telling of what occurred during the shutdown. We can get a glimpse of the future by looking at the pendings and number of listings of which were down.

In many ways, the market appears to have hit a pause button. It seems that the supply and demand both retracted in tandem, meaning that overall prices, as of yet haven’t seen significant declines. As we shared in our January & February newsletters, the market was really heating up before the pandemic. We see prices either slightly up or flat for the month of April. The supply has decreased as many were taken off the market during the shutdown. Sale volume is also down, which is not surprising during the shutdown.

Let’s take a look at the numbers:

Median Sales Price

APRIL 2020
Denton County
$314,000 | -0.3%
Collin County
$347,500 | +2.8%
Dallas County
$260,000 | +4.4%
Tarrant County
$255,992 | +6.7%

Average Price Per Sq. Ft.

APRIL 2020
Denton County
$145 | +2.1%
Collin County
$145 | +2.1%
Dallas County
$164 | +0.6%
Tarrant County
$134 | +3.9%

Months Supply of Inventory

APRIL 2020
Denton County
2.4 | -25.0%
Collin County
2.6 | -27.8%
Dallas County
2.7 | -18.2%
Tarrant County
2.0 | -13.0%

Volume

APRIL 2020
Denton County
1,190 | -14.9%
Collin County
1,217 | -19.9%
Dallas County
1,679 | -28.7%
Tarrant County
1,890 | -25.1%

Days on Market

APRIL 2020
Denton County
18 | -21.7%
Collin County
22 | -12.0%
Dallas County
20 | 0.0%
Tarrant County
16 | +6.7%

New Listings

APRIL 2020
Denton County
1,608 | -25.8%
Collin County
1,576 | -34.8%
Dallas County
2,391 | -32.7%
Tarrant County
2,623 | -23.9%

Looking Ahead

Looking ahead , since Texas is now in various stages of reopening, we will see if these trends begin to change. Mortgage interest rates are at all time lows but lending has tightened. If some jobs don’t come back, the economy will be impact and the available pool of buyers will decline and impact the market.

Celebrations & Anniversaries!

This is our 5th year of doing our monthly newsletter. The very first newsletter was sent out 5 years ago this month. We have changed the format a bit but we hope you enjoy it. Please give us feedback, questions or topics you would like us to cover.

We also want to celebrate Shannon Slater for 14 years of working at the DW Slater Company. Shannon joined the company in May 14 years ago making this a husband and wife appraiser team. Shannon thought, if it didn’t work out, she would go back to being a school teacher. After 14 years, we can safely say that it has worked out. Happy Work Anniversary!

Now for that wedding picture we promised! We are so very happy for our son and his new bride. We wish them the best in their future together!

As we look forward to the summer months, we will continue to provide you with monthly updates and information on the housing market. We also love being your appraisal service provider. If you have any questions about real estate appraisals, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We will get through these times. The beach picture we took a year ago in Hawaii. It was a peaceful place and a peaceful time. We will find our way back. This too shall pass. Until then, enjoy a little bit of Styx, The Best of Times.

How Has Covid-19 Impacted Real Estate Market Participants?

We are curious about how others feel about real estate during this pandemic. Does our current situation impact whether you would choose to buy or sell real estate? Please take this poll and let us know your thoughts. Thank you!

You can find poll on our Facebook Page

     https://www.facebook.com/dwslaterco/

Or you can use this Twitter Poll

April Newsletter-From a Distance

Photo by Mike from Pexels
From a distance we are instruments, Marching in a common band
(lyrics from “From a Distance”, Bette Midler)

We pray you are all safe and well during this unprecedented time of dealing with the COVID-19 virus pandemic. Here in Texas, a disaster proclamation was ordered on March 13th. Then on March 19th Governor Greg Abbott issued more executive orders to mitigate the spread of the virus. This order closed restaurants, bars, gyms, massage parlors, schools, and prohibiting visits to nursing home facilities. On March 31st, an executive order implementing essential services and protocols. Several more orders have been issued since and you can review them here. So through mid-March through April, we saw more and more activities ceasing in order to slow the spread of the virus, now as we are coming to the end of April, we are seeing the beginning of the reopening of activities.

How Has This Impacted Real Estate Appraisals?

For appraisers, we are still working and providing appraisal services as identified under essential services. (note this will vary from some states or counties with greater restrictions). There have been many changes to how we can appraise, with an emphasis on allowing appraisals to be performed “from a distance”. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, FHA, VA, and USDA have all made changes and allowances for desktop or exterior only appraisals where the appraiser does not enter your home. There are ways for the homeowner to send pictures and information about the home so that the appraiser doesn’t have to enter the home. We must point out that not all loans will qualify for this type of appraisal and full interior inspections of homes we still be required. We recommend discussing with your lender the possibility of using one of these appraisal alternatives if you have concerns about the appraiser coming into your home.

If you do end up having a full inspection there are things that you and the appraiser can do to safely perform an interior inspection. We recommend:

  1. Try to be vacant from the home at the time of the inspection or go outside when the appraiser is inside.
  2. Have all doors open and lights on. This is so the appraiser doesn’t have to touch anything within the home.
  3. Please inform the appraiser if anyone in the home has been ill.
  4. The appraiser can wear disposable gloves and a mask to help minimize any potential spread of viruses. We also sanitize before and after an inspection.

Appraisers and lenders are doing their best to navigate these temporary changes during this pandemic. There is a lot of information regarding the changes and requirements. Here are a few resources that we recommend that have all of the information at one site:

  1. McKissock –Coronavirus and Appraising: A Resource Guide to the Crisis
  2. Appraisal Institute- Coronavirus Update
  3. Wallitt Solutions- COVID-19 Novel Coronavirus
  4. Class Valuation- COVID-19 Appraisal Flexibilities Guide

How Has Coronavirus Impacted Our Real Estate Markets?

As it relates to the real estate market in our area, it is still too early to determine the impacts of the pandemic on our markets. Looking at the stats for March, the impact has been minimal but what you have to understand, that the sales that closed in March began in February. The sales that close in April were typically under contract in March. Real estate moves a bit slower so it’s more difficult to see the immediate effects. Real estate agents have moved to online virtual showings, buyers become hesitant during times of economic uncertainty, and lending has become tighter during this time.

We can look at listings and pendings to get a bit of a glance into the future. We will share the current market updates for our main four counties as well as a few additional charts as well to see what is going on in the market. We are seeing a slowing in the number of sales in April which is expected. Let’s dive in:

Interactive Charts

Median Sales Price

MARCH 2020
Denton County
$319,000 | +0.9%
Collin County
$345,000 | +2.8%
Dallas County
$263,000 | +7.3%
Tarrant County
$246,502 | +3.6%
Sale prices for March are still moving up, which shows how strong this market was as the pandemic hit.  All four counties increased YoY. 
 

Pending Sales

MARCH 2020
Denton County
1,324 | -13.2%
Collin County
1,337 | -18.5%
Dallas County
1,899 | -23.7%
Tarrant County
2,153 | -20.0%
Pending sales are down YoY in all four counties, which speaks to the future lowering of sale volume in April.  This certainly makes sense due to the shutting down of businesses and stay at home orders that came into place. 
 

Months Supply

MARCH 2020
Denton County
2.3 | -20.7%
Collin County
2.5 | -26.5%
Dallas County
2.6 | -16.1%
Tarrant County
1.9 | -13.6%
The supply of homes has also decreased in all four counties as buyers have either canceled their listings, temporarily taken them off the market, or decided to wait until the curve has flattened on fighting the coronavirus. 
 

Volume

MARCH 2020
Denton County
1,349 | +3.0%
Collin County
1,393 | +3.9%
Dallas County
2,106 | -0.3%
Tarrant County
2,245 | -7.0%
When it comes to sale volume, Dallas & Tarrant County were both down for March whereas Denton and Collin county have modest increased YoY. 

Days on Market

MARCH 2020
Denton County
26 | -13.3%
Collin County
27 | -27.0%
Dallas County
20 | -9.1%
Tarrant County
18 | -5.3%
The number of days on the market is down in all four counties, which again shows some of the strength of the market heading into April before everything was shut down. Marketing times are still very low and under one month. 

Looking Forward

Looking a little into the future. Here I have compared sale volume for each county for the month of March and what has currently reported as sold in April as of 04/23/2020 for three years. Based on the current raw data that we have so far in April.

Denton County sale volume is down 21.2%

Collin County volume is down 21.7% YoY

Dallas County volume is down 33% YoY

Tarrant County volume is down 29.5% YoY

So , more impacts from the coronavirus will be seen next month and the months to follow. It will be interesting to see the long term impacts of the pandemic as we move forward through the summer months. Please reach out to us with any questions you have. We are here for your appraisal needs.

Stay safe and take care. Stay tuned.

March Newsletter- False Start, Pandemic

Normally, I would have a lovely picture of spring full of discussions of the spring market activity but, as we all know, there is nothing normal going on in our lives right now. We now use the new term “social distancing”, kids are distant learners from home, churches are learning to stream their services online, families are using Zoom or Google Hangouts to connect and many have been laid off as their employers have been forced to close.

When Italy began to have major struggles all of the world leaders began to realize the seriousness of this particular virus. The COVID-19 virus as it is now identified as. The long incubation time of this virus has made it much harder to manage because many are spreading it unknowingly. We are all now trying to do our part to “flatten the curve” to lessen the strain on our medical resources as we limit our distance from others.

This world pandemic has been unprecedented. Many who study real estate markets have been trying to compare the impacts of this pandemic to previous events but there is nothing to compare to this sudden cessation of the economy.

False Start

Our real estate markets had taken off in January and they were continuing that pace through February. The charts provided in this market update are from February as we don’t have all of the numbers in for March. Everything was going great until everything came to an abrupt halt with the sudden need to try to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Have you ever been to a track meet and a running event had a false start? If you recall our newsletter last month, it showed runners bounding out of the starting blocks. With a false start, runners burst out of the blocks at the sound of the starting gun only to come to a quick stop once the gun sounds again signaling a false start. Someone started too early so the race has to restart. This is how I visualize the housing markets in North Texas. The markets were off to a great running start, only to be halted with all momentum ended.

So as we take a look at this market update, we know that all of this was before any impact of the global pandemic was evident.

We will be watching the direct impacts of the Covid19 crisis on our markets so look for that in next month’s newsletter. Let’s now look back to “Pre-Covid19” markets in February for Denton, Collin, Dallas and Tarrant counties. Out of the starting blocks and going strong, we saw prices up, supplies down and volume up.

Median Sales Price Trends

The median sale price trends in all 4 counties are up YoY. See the percentages below. The stats from last month – Denton is down 0.95%; Collin is up 1.66%; Dallas is up 2.5% and Tarrant is up 0.83% from January.

FEBRUARY 2020
Denton County
$310,000 | +1.9%

Collin County
$337,820 | +4.0%

Dallas County
$246,000 | +4.7%

Tarrant County
$242,000 | +5.2%

Volume

The number of sales is up in all four counties with the exception of Tarrrant County which is down a slight 2.2%

FEBRUARY 2020
Denton County
1,084 | +16.7%

Collin County
1,150 | +11.3%

Dallas County
1,756 | +7.9%

Tarrant County
1,833 | -2.2%

Months Supply of Inventory

All four counties have a decrease in supply as the demand for housing at the first of the year has been strong.  All three counties have less than 3 months of supply. 

FEBRUARY 2020
Denton County
2.2 | -24.1%

Collin County
2.4 | -25.0%

Dallas County
2.5 | -16.7%

Tarrant County
1.8 | -14.3%

Days on the Market

The number of days on the market decreased in both the northern suburb counties of Denton and Collin.  The number of days on the market increased for the more urban counties of Dallas and Tarrant YoY, however the number of days on the market is less than Denton and Collin counties. 

FEBRUARY 2020
Denton County
42 | -4.5%

Collin County
46 | -14.8%

Dallas County
32 | +33.3%

Tarrant County
26 | +8.3%

Appraising During the COVID-19 Outbreak

Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the FDIC have provided guidelines and some temporary exceptions to appraisal requirements. In some instances, an exterior inspection can be made rather than a full inspection and in some cases, a desktop appraisal may be suitable. This is a decision that can be made by the lending institution and perhaps with a discussion with the appraiser. Here are links to the recently published guidelines:

Fannie Mae’s Temporary Guidelines

Freddie Mac’s Temporary Guidelines

FDIC FAQs During COVID-19 (Answer #12 & #13 relate to Appraisals)

In most states and counties real estate appraisals for financial institutions fall into the category of “Essential Businesses”. There is some discrepancy in Dallas County vs the city of Dallas as to whether appraisers are considered an Essential Business. We are searching for further clarification on this but in the meantime, we continue to provide services to our clients in a safe manner while following regulations in the counties and cities we service.

Please know that we have been taking precautions during this time to keep ourselves and others safe. If someone in your house is sick please inform the appraiser prior to the inspection. Please turn on all lights, open all doors and gates. Secure your pets. This eliminates the need for us to touch anything. Here is a link to a helpful article on helping an appraiser during an inspection as it relates to COVID-19.

What Homeowners Can Do to Assist The Appraiser During the Coronavirus Pandemic– Birmingham Appraisal Blog

We can all work together during this time to stay safe. We will continue to stay abreast of appraisal guidelines and local, county and state guidelines. As we watch the markets, we will be paying particular interest to listings and pendings as they can give us a little bit of a peek into the future.

As my grandmother often tells me, “this too shall pass”. I believe her. She lived through World War II and the Great Depression. She has been a steady rock in the lives of our family. Now she is in a nursing facility in quarantine, as she is at risk at the age of 91. I miss being able to see her. We pray that this will pass sooner than later and that we all come out stronger on the other side of this. We pray for health and safety for each of you as well. With that, I will leave you with a spring picture- change is coming and we will weather this storm.