Illustration by Jessica Turner.

COMPETITIVE doesn’t quite describe it.

Over the past year, Dallas’ residential real estate market has been unprecedented.

Dallas currently has a seller’s market, says Mason Whitehead, the branch manager of Churchill Mortgage. That means it would take less than three months for all available homes in the area to be sold.

“What we’ve seen nationwide, but especially in Texas with the migration to Texas, is a huge housing boom like we’ve never seen before,” he says.

Housing market conditions are in part the result of a decreasing supply of homes in recent years.

One factor driving the demand for homes is an influx of people from other states, such as California and New York, who are looking for lower taxes and more space, says Whitehead, who’s been at Churchill for 11 years.

But that’s not the only reason.

“People know they can sell their house. That’s not an issue,” he says. “But where do you go? You’ve got a lot of pent-up hesitation because, I know I can sell, but where do I buy?”

Graphic by HiGeorge.

The data back him up. In January, the number of homes for sale in Dallas was 164 fewer than in January 2019 and 206 fewer than in January 2020.

Values are spread even more for February, with total new home listings at 1,112, compared to 1,644 in February 2019 and 1,699 in February 2020.

In Preston Hollow, new home listings over the past few months have been on the decline. In the 75230 ZIP code, 80 fewer homes were listed in January 2021 than in August 2020.

At the same time, the median home sale price for properties in Dallas has been increasing. At $315,322, January’s value is about $33,000 higher than this time last year and $49,000 higher than in January 2019.

Potential buyers, especially those looking at homes listed for about $400,000, are scrambling to present competitive offers.

“Not just writing letters, you’re not just going above market on the price. You’re doing anything you can to make your offer more attractive to the seller,” Whitehead says.

Though median home sale prices have been trending up in recent years, there have been a couple of dips. The first happened in October 2019, when the tornado struck Dallas. It caused values to drop in Preston Hollow, Whitehead says, because it destroyed many large trees that attract buyers.

The second setback was the onset of COVID-19. Home sales in Dallas dropped to 1,118 in April from nearly 1,300 in March.

“And then it came back with a roar,” he says. Home sales in the city soared to more than 1,900 in July.
Whitehead says people who loved their homes before the pandemic continued to appreciate them for months on end, when many switched to remote work and stayed home.

But those who didn’t love their homes experienced a different situation.

“If there’s something about your house you didn’t like, it really drove you nuts,” he says. “And I gotta say, I was one of those people. It drove me nuts.”

Whitehead acknowledges he doesn’t have a crystal ball, but a year after the pandemic started, he doesn’t see the real estate market slowing down unless there’s a spike in interest rates or another economic issue that makes people “nervous.”

He says buyers are attracted by a strong, diverse economy that can stand up to disasters.

“And Texas has historically weathered the storm better,” he says.

BY THE NUMBERS

1,887: New home listings in Dallas in June 2020

178: Homes sold in the 75230 ZIP code last August

$507,500: Increase of median home price in the 75225 ZIP code since June


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