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Here come the homebuyers again!

North Texas broker says now that home prices and mortgage rates have come off last year's highs, it's becoming an unusually active off-season

DALLAS — You don’t have to be an Einstein to understand the theory of price relativity. You know how when you were paying $2.40 for a gallon of gasoline and then it went up to $2.89 you lost your mind? But when it kept rising to nearly $4 per gallon, that $2.89 price per gallon started looking like an absolute bargain.

Might the same thing happen with houses? Just look at these major metros from the start of 2022 to almost the middle part of the year:

According to the Texas Real Estate Research Center, the median price in DFW went from $360 thousand to $429 thousand. Houston rose from $307 thousand to $351 thousand. Austin roared from $480 thousand to $550 thousand. And San Antonio surged from $300 thousand to $337 thousand. In the second half of the year, prices didn't go all the way back to where they started, but they deflated substantially.

The median home price dropped to $385K in D-FW. Houston prices backed off to $330 thousand. The median home price in Austin receded to $457 thousand. And prices in San Antonio cooled back down to $322 thousand. Mortgage interest rates also rocketed sharply last year but have relaxed in recent weeks.

Here come the buyers!

With those pullbacks in prices and mortgage rates, look out for the buyers. Real estate broker Joe Atkins of Joe Atkins Realty says he’s seeing a surge in interest now. 

“I'm telling you I started seeing things start changing the second week in January…where I was like, whoa! Showing activities bumped up double, if not triple from a month ago," Atkins said.

This is our latest check-in on all the gyrations in the pandemic-era housing market with Atkins. He painted the picture for us in 2020, 2021 and again and again in the wild real estate year of 2022.

Atkins just told us how he just posted a new listing of a home for sale, “And…I mean, we put it in at 9 a.m. this morning and there's seven showings set up for tomorrow!" 

We could think maybe that was just because this was a fresh listing for buyers to consider. But Atkins recently had a pretty stale listing, too: A home for sale that sat there all the way through the holidays. A contract on it recently fell through. And then boom. 

“A week ago I get multiple offers on it and not just multiple—multiple cash offers," Atkins said.

Atkins is hearing similar stories from others, like one agent who just handled a bid for a $400,000 home. 

"She said she lost out and from what she heard it went for $50,000 over (with) multiple offers," he said.

That sounds like the wild run up from early last year. But Atkins says it's definitely not as crazy as last year. 

Of course, these are the observations of just one real estate broker in North Texas, but it gives a snapshot as to what is happening in January and February, which are traditionally quiet times in real estate.

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