Real Estate Remains Hard to Come By, According to MLS

If you’ve been thinking about selling your house but have been unable to pull the trigger, you’re not alone.

“Some sellers are hesitant to put their house on the market because they’re afraid they’ll have no place to go,” real estate agent Paula Scofield said.

A successful seller almost always has to become a buyer, and Dallas is undoubtedly a sellers’ market. MLS statistics released recently by the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University indicate the Park Cities had 3.6 months’ worth of single-family homes in February. That means if no other houses came on the market, it should take 3.6 months for the listed houses to all sell. In Preston Hollow, there were 4.5 months’ worth.

One year earlier, there were 6.2 months’ worth of houses in the Park Cities and 7.8 months’ worth in Preston Hollow. Scofield, who’s based in Ebby Halliday Realtors’ Little White House, said a “healthy” market has an inventory of 6.5 months.

“From what I understand, we’re at a 12-year low,” she said.

Not all real estate transactions are reported to MLS. That may be why Realtor Julie Provenzano said, “I don’t think this even does it justice,” when shown the inventory stats.

“After being a tortured party for so long, sellers are enjoying this newfound leverage, sitting back, puffing cigars, and drinking martinis,” said Provenzano, an agent in Dave Perry-Miller & Associates’ Park Cities office. “I don’t blame them, but there are things to be mindful of so they don’t fly too close to the sun.”

First of all, a buyer’s lender may bring a seller back down to earth by appraising the home for a lower value than the agreed-upon sales price. To get the absolute top dollar, you still want to do the pre-listing work to get your house in the best shape possible.

“If you loved your burgundy and navy, now might be the time to get acquainted with some white paint,” Provenzano said.

Scofield agreed that, even in this sellers’ market, a homeowner would be smart to make sure that his property is move-in ready.

“The young people today don’t want to do anything,” Scofield said. “They want it to be perfect.”

And if it is, you should have a quick sale. That was the experience of Gail Cantor, who sold her townhome near Jesuit in February. The buyer saw her property on Feb. 9, the first day it was listed.

“The whole thing happened in a month, from soup to nuts,” said Cantor, who was surprised at how little time the process took.

“I thought I wasn’t going to move until the summer,” Cantor said Monday, “and now I’m completely out of there.”

Area 25 — Park Cities
Month Sales Average price Median price Price per SF New listings Months of inventory
Feb. 2012 53 $938,135 $700,110 $279 158 6.2
Feb. 2013 36 $860,731 $762,000 $281 101 3.6
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