DALLAS — Residential real estate prices have reached unprecedented levels in some North Texas counties while forecasters debate whether there is any evidence the market will cool off any time soon.
"We did much better than we ever expected to," Nancy Dickey said. She and her husband Robert can count themselves among the fortunate: they sold their Frisco home this past May to move closer to grandchildren in Kansas City. While they only owned the home for two and a half years, the $440,000 purchase sold in just one weekend for $565,000.
"We had an over, maybe $40,000 over asking [price], before the listing even went live," Robert Dickey said.
But this seller's market certainly has a serious downside, says Bill Jordan, president of the MetroTex Association of Realtors.
"We are rapidly carving the 'little guy' right out of this market," he said.
According to the latest MetroTex survey, the median price of a home in Denton County is now $400,000, up 23.5% over this same time last year.
And in Collin County, the median home price is now $440,000, up 22.8% over last year.
"It's not even what is was five months ago," Jordan said when asked about the pace of the current five-year trend. "That's what's amazing. If we could just put this Ferris wheel on hold for about 18 months we just might could catch up. But the world doesn't work thataway."
Jordan is also a realtor in Kaufman County where the median home price is now $300,000, up 22.5% over this time last year.
As for some potentially good news, in North Texas at least, the chief economist at Redfin sees evidence of the market cooling off — at least a little.
"We're already seeing price drops happen. I think sellers have gotten a little bit over-eager with how much they are listing their homes for," Daryl Fairweather said. "And they don't have that much power...they have a lot more power than they did in previous years. But at a certain point it just reaches a maximum temperature." However, Fairweather, who holds a doctorate in economics, says other Texas housing markets like Austin and Round Rock are likely to keep climbing.
"Prices probably aren't going to come down. But it does seem like some buyers are backing off. And that will make it easier for people who don't want to compete. People who don't want to bid above asking price, or waive an inspection contingency or financing contingency. I think it's going to be easier for them. It's not going to be cheaper but at least it will be easier to get your offer accepted."
Realtor Alisa Winston with Keller Williams, who sold the home for Nancy and Robert Dickey, sees that too.
"I think the increase in prices is going to slow down quite a bit," Winston said, while agreeing that her clients' decision to sell around this past Memorial Day was the right choice.
"That was a perfect time to sell," she said.
"I absolutely have sympathy, I think we both do, for people trying to buy in that market," Robert Dickey said. "Unless, of course, they're coming from California, because they would have sold a piece of wildly overpriced real estate so they probably have a lot of cash to burn."
As for the perfect time to buy? Tens of thousands of North Texans are still searching for that.