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.

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.

February Newsletter


“Groundhog found fog. New snows and blue toes. Fine and dandy for Valentine candy. Snow spittin’; if you’re not mitten-smitten, you’ll be frostbitten! By jing-y feels spring-y.” ― The Old Farmer’s Almanac 

Here in North Texas, February is typically a mix of cold weather with a few “spring-like” days.  It is a shorter month and it just seems to go by very quickly.  We all enjoy some love for Valentines Day and some get an extra day off for President’s Day.  We hope that you were able to enjoy both.  As far as real estate markets, the word is slow. Not crashing, not breaking but definitely slowing the pace it has been at. The numbers we are giving you are from January as we wait each month until all of the data comes in.   Sale prices are just slightly up or even flat from the same time last year and down from last month.  Marketing times are lengthening and supplies are beginning to increase- moving to a more balanced market.  It is typically slower in the winter months as prices and volume pick up in the spring.  Spring looks to be slower than what we have had in the last 3-5 years.  The market has just let off of the accelerator in DFW.  Here’s a look at the current numbers as well as recent some snapshots of the market. 
MAKE SURE TO HOVER OVER THE GRAPHS AS THEY ARE INTERACTIVE

The median sales price for single family homes for all four counties is down from last month but slightly up when compared to the same time last year.  Here are the YoY stats:


JANUARY 2019
Denton County
$299,990 | +2.0%
Collin County
$314,990 | +1.6%
Dallas County
$215,000 | 0.0%
Tarrant County
$220,000 | +3.3%

The median price per square foot for single family homes in all four counties is up from the same time last year.  Collin, Dallas & Tarrant counties are down from last month and Denton is flat month to month.   Here are the YoY stats: 

JANUARY 2019
Denton County
$136 | +2.3%
Collin County
$135 | +1.5%
Dallas County
$126 | +4.1%
Tarrant County
$119 | +7.2%

The supply of inventory for all four counties is increasing.  All but Collin county increased month to month.  There has been an increase in construction which has helped with the inventory.  The official numbers for building permits is not yet available due to the delays in the government shutdown.  We will share those next month if they are available.  Here are the YoY stats for supply in all four counties: 

JANUARY 2019
Denton County
2.8 | +47.4%
Collin County
3.0 | +36.4%
Dallas County
2.7 | +35.0%
Tarrant County
2.0 | +25.0%

The volume is slowing down.  In all four counties, the number of closed sales was down from the month before and all four counties are posting double-digit declines from the same time last year.  Here are the YoY stats: 

JANUARY 2019
Denton County
686 | -14.7%
Collin County
773 | -12.1%
Dallas County
1,270 | -14.0%
Tarrant County
1,393 | -12.8%

 
Current Market Activity –  We thought we would share a little insight into what is currently occurring in the markets.  This is a 24-hour snapshot of each county.  You can see that all of them have just as many price decreases as listings with Collin and Denton counties showing more decreases than the number of new listings.  This may be even more telling of a slower spring selling season ahead.  


DALLAS COUNTY
TARRANT COUNTY
COLLIN COUNTY
DENTON COUNTY
We hope that you found this helpful. A reminder that these are general market trends and metrics.  These may not apply to your specific property as there are so many different factors that impact the value of individual properties.