Texas Economy Stays Strong in 2020

DFW: Single-unit residential housing sales increased 3.1% in November to 7,361 transactions. YTD sales totaled 94,731 closed listings, with a volume of $2.37 billion. Average sales price rose 1.5% to $322,283 and the average price/SF rose from $135.72 to $139.25. Median price rose 5.26% to $270,000 and median price/SF rose from $127.23 to $131.47. Active listings were 24,014. Sales price were 95.61% of original list price and 96.40% YTD. Sales of townhomes were up 5.03% to 209 transactions for YTD sales of 2,516 closed listings. Average sales price was down to $277,355 with average price/SF down from $151.24 to $149.66. Median price rose 5.06% to $270,000 and median price/SF rose from $143.77 to $146.06. Sale prices were 95.80% of original list price. Condo sale volume increased 9.91% to 255 transactions and YTD sales of 3,110 closed listings. Dollar volume rose from $64.2 million to $70.14 million. Average sales price was down to $275,040 with average price/SF from $198.00 to $188.54. Median price rose 2.99% to $207,000 with median price/SF up from $176.59 to $178.19. Active listings were 1,345 and sale prices were 93.87% of original list.

DFW: A new report from the Dallas Fed offers signs that the Texas economy remains strong in 2020. Texas service sector activity grew at a faster pace in December, with retail sales quickening and revenue growth picking up. Perceptions of business conditions are signs to improve, and a majority of service firms expect stronger revenues compared to 2019. Private service companies provide 70% of the state economy and employ about 8 million people. Another report shows factory output in Texas has resumed growing after contracting in November for the first time in more than three years.  

DFW: California had the most inbound moves of any state in Atlas Van Lines’ annual migration study. And the state also had the biggest total of out-of-state moves, with more people leaving the state. Texas was second for total Atlas moves in 2019, registering its highest percentage of inbound moves in the U.S. since 1915. More than 55% of the company’s Texas business was from movers to Texas, 6,300 inbound moves. Next states in moves were Florida and Washington State. A recent report shows almost 700,000 people left California in 2018, and more than 86,000 of those came to Texas, according to Yardi Systems. In 2018, Texas was second among popular states for movers with almost 564,000 newcomers.  

D.C.: New government data shows privately-owned housing starts rose 3.2% in November to 1.37 million. Building permits in November hit 1.48 million, the highest rate since 2007. Single-family starts were at a rate of 938,000 in November, the highest level since January.  

D.C.: Just before Christmas, the U.S. House cleared an appropriations measure that renewed the write-off for mortgage insurance premiums as well as the tax break on forgiven mortgage debt. Both measures ran out in 2017 and have been renewed for 2018 and 2019 through 2020. Five federal financial regulators have given cautionary approval to use of alternative credit data that lenders can use for decisions, hoping to expand access to credit at more favorable prices and terms. Lenders can use automation to perform a cash flow analysis to evaluate a borrower’s capacity to meet payment obligations. Income requirements for housing can vary from a median price home in Boston ($104,000), to $38,000 in Pittsburgh, to $229,000 in San Jose, and $124,000 in Los Angeles. Requirements will take into account mortgage principal and interest plus property taxes and homeowners insurance. The latest version of the Uniform Residential Loan Application (URLA) will be mandatory November 2020, but lenders can start using the applications for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in September.   

D.C.: 2020 is a leap year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar, the 2020th year of the Common Era of Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 20th year of the 3rd millennium, the 20th year of the 21st century and the 1st year of the 2020s decade.   Happy New Year!

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