Dallas home prices up 6.9 percent, edging ahead of U.S. increase

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Dallas-area home prices are up 6.9 percent in the latest nationwide comparison – slightly ahead of the countrywide average.

Home prices around the nation in January were 6.2 percent higher than a year earlier in the just-released Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller Home Price Index.

Year-over-year Dallas-area price increases were unchanged from December when the gains were the smallest in five years.

North Texas home price growth has been slowed in recent months after double-digit increases early last year.

Seattle – with a 12.9 percent increase – Las Vegas (11.1 percent) and San Francisco (10.2 percent) had the largest annual home price rises among the 20 cities Case-Shiller tracks each month.

"The home price surge continues," Standard & Poor’s David M. Blitzer said in the report. "While price gains vary from city to city, there are few, if any, really weak spots.

"Two factors supporting price increases are the low inventory of homes for sale and the low vacancy rate among owner-occupied housing."

Dallas-area home prices have risen almost 65 percent in the Case-Shiller index since the worst of the recession in early 2009.

The percentage increases in Dallas-area prices have steadily moderated during the last year, but housing costs in the area remain at record levels.

And while the inventory of homes for sale in North Texas has risen from a year ago, there’s still only about a 2-month supply of properties on the market.

As long as the supply of homes on the market remains low, prices will continue to rise, agents and analysts say.

"We expect home price growth to potentially continue to accelerate this year when looking at year-over-year comparisons due to low inventory levels," Ruben Gonzalez, chief economist with Austin-based sale firm Keller Williams said. "If mortgage rates continue to rise, they could slow growth later in the year; however, right now we see inventory constraints as the predominant factor influencing prices."

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