Balanced Market Brings Opportunities for Buyers, Sellers

While active home listings in Preston Hollow and the Park Cities dipped in the fourth quarter, 2016 brought greater housing inventory overall, creating opportunities for buyers as well as sellers.
New listings may not be likely to go under contract instantly in a wave of multiple offers like they would a few years ago, but home prices remain strong and sellers who have done quality renovations are still rewarded, according to Shell Stegall, senior vice president and broker with Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty, who has spent 25 years in real estate.
“It’s not quite so chaotic now,” she said. “It’s becoming a little more balanced between the power of buyers and sellers.”
Active listings in 2016 averaged 22 percent higher than in 2015, according to data from North Texas Real Estate Information Systems Inc.

With that increase in inventory came more days on market — an average of 13 days more in the Park Cities and four days more in Preston Hollow.
“It feels like days on market is longer to all of us,” Stegall said. “It also feels like pricing is more fragile or sensitive, and I think it’s because there’s a little more inventory available and so buyers will walk away from a house if you overprice.
“If a house comes on the market, and it’s pristine, and it’s fantastic, and it’s priced right it will be gone in two days,” she said. “If it’s not quite priced right or has a quirky floor plan, it will sit a while.”
On the plus side, Stegall expects that to encourage quality renovations.
Jumping into the renovating business and making only cosmetic changes won’t be enough, she said. “I end up locating the higher-end renovators’ work and that’s what [clients] are buying. That’s a shift in the market that I hope we continue to see.”
Median home prices were up in 2016 from the previous year — 7.5 percent in the Park Cities and nearly 3 percent in Preston Hollow — but total sales were down nearly 5 percent in Preston Hollow.
“The difficulty was trying to find the right product for my buyer,” said Anne Bingham, a real estate agent with Dave Perry-Miller who has 31 years of experience.
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Source: North Texas Real Estate Information Systems Inc.
Source: North Texas Real Estate Information Systems Inc.

While her Park Cities buyers tend to be families attracted by the schools, her Preston Hollow buyers tend to be older clients seeking larger lots with three-car garages and media rooms, she said. “It’s a buyer who wants all the bells and whistles. They want rooms for their toys.”
Bingham suggested the presidential election may have contributed to the fourth-quarter decline in housing inventory and the shortage of the products her clients were seeking.
“People were waiting with the election,” she said. “I think they were just holding on.” Bingham said people in her office have been talking about the election and the new president and don’t know what to expect.
“I think we feel like we are going to have a solid market in 2017 if nothing crazy is happening in the world,” she said.
Early indications suggest a fast start.
Bingham was anticipating a quiet period from Jan. 1 through Jan. 10, but clients began calling Jan. 2.
“I’ve been running around previewing houses,” she said.
Stegall has been busy early, too.
“Used to be people would start calling toward the end of February,” she said.

William Taylor

William Taylor, editor of Park Cities People and Preston Hollow People, shares a name and a birthday with his dad and a love for community journalism with his colleagues at People Newspapers. He joined the staff in 2016 after more than 25 years working for daily newspapers in such places as Alexandria, Louisiana; Baton Rouge; McKinney; San Angelo; and Sherman, though not in anywhere near that order. A city manager once told him that “city government is the best government” because of its potential to improve the lives of its residents. William still enjoys covering municipal government and many other topics. Follow him on Twitter @Seminarydropout. He apologizes in advance to the Joneses for any angry Tweets that might slip out about the Dallas Cowboys during the NFL season. You also can reach him at [email protected]. For the latest news, click here to sign up for our newsletter.

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