United Commercial Realty
San Antonio Housing Market Sturdy Despite Drop7.26.2007- Jennifer Hiller - San Antonio Express News
Home sales and prices are dipping nationally, but San Antonio remains a lone star in the market, enjoying one of the best years on record.
Although fewer San Antonians are buying homes this year and more homes are on the market, this rainy summer looks pretty bright historically — and downright sunny compared to the national housing market.
The number of existing-home sales in San Antonio dropped 17 percent in June compared to June 2006.
The inventory of existing homes on the market hit 12,190, up 72 percent over last June.
The June sales dip is likely due to tighter mortgage lending standards and the region's endless wet weather, said Travis Kessler, CEO of the San Antonio Board of Realtors.
But the sales picture actually looks good historically.
Sales volume was up 15.7 percent when compared to June 2005 — a month that was considered, at the time, to be part of a banner real estate year. Then 2006 came along and shattered all real estate records.
"The summer of '06 was our peak in the real estate market," Kessler said.
Despite the dip, San Antonio's single-family home prices are climbing. Experts still classify the market as healthy.
The median sales price so far this year is $149,300, up 6.5 percent over the first half of 2006. The median is the point at which half the homes sell for more and half for less.
Much like the closely related existing-home market, San Antonio's new-home sales have dipped this year, too, falling from an all-time high in 2006.
First-quarter housing starts dropped 25.5 percent, according to Metrostudy, a housing research firm.
But if local builders start the nearly 16,000 homes Metrostudy expects this year, 2007 would be the third-best year on record, after 2005 and 2006.
"We've all been spoiled," said Michael Moore of Ironstone Development, first vice president of the Greater San Antonio Builders Association. "It's not like they stole Christmas. It's like we got 15 presents instead of 20."
The rest of the country, though, might feel like it's had an encounter with the Grinch.
Sales of new homes in the U.S. tumbled in June by the largest amount in five months, provoking worries on Wall Street about just how much a prolonged housing slump could harm the overall economy.
The Commerce Department reported Thursday that U.S. sales of new single-family homes dropped by 6.6 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 834,000 units. The decline was more than triple what was expected and the largest percentage drop since sales fell 12.7 percent in January.
The National Association of Realtors reported Wednesday that sales of existing homes fell for a fourth consecutive month, dropping by 3.8 percent in June to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.75 million units.
It's the slowest sales pace since November 2002, and about twice what had been expected.
The median price of an existing home edged up nationally to $230,100, or 0.3 percent more than a year ago, the first price gain in 11 months. Analysts, however, said they look for prices to fall further because of the high level of unsold homes.
Countrywide Financial, one of the nation's largest mortgage lenders, has reported a sharp drop in second-quarter profits, saying rising default rates were spreading from subprime to more conventional mortgages.