SA housing market on upswing for 2013

Home sales expected to increase another 10-15% in new year


2012 was a good year for home sales, and 2013 looks to be as good or better. 

That was the message at the San Antonio Board of Realtors 2013 Housing Forecast conference Thursday.

"We're going to look back in history and say 2012 was the year the housing market turned the corner from being a headwind against economic growth to a tailwind supporting economic growth in the country," said Dr. Mark Dotzour, chief economist for the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University.

Existing home sales were up 10 percent last year compared to the lackluster year before. Dotzour expects that upswing to continue.

"I think home sales will be up 10 to 15 percent in 2013," he said.

Fewer for sale signs stuck in front yards indicate a shift from a buyer's market to a seller's market.

"Our inventory is the lowest it's been in four years," said  Steven Gragg, SABOR chairman. "What you're going to compete with as a seller is the least it's been in quite a few years."

Prices are on the rise, too. The median price of a home sold in November, the last month for which figures were available, was $160,000.

Rising  purchase prices, coupled with historically low mortgage interest rates, are expected to give people reason to buy.

"When people can borrow a home mortgage at 3.5 or 4 percent, and the house goes up more than that, suddenly that looks like an enticing investment as well as a nice place to go home after work in the evening," Dotzour said.


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