Incomes are not keeping pace with housing prices and it’s starting to show in the sales numbers in North Texas. The Dallas Morning News is reporting that Q1 housing starts in the region are down 11 percent from a year ago with overall home sales down 5 percent over the same time period. The cause? Experts say housing prices are just too high and household incomes are just not rising fast enough to keep up. “People are working and have jobs,” said James Gaines, chief economist for the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University. “But home prices are still going up considerably faster than income levels.
The demand for more affordable housing is also evident in the numbers. While housing starts for homes priced above $350,000 are down significantly, they remain steady for homes priced between $250,000 and $350,0000. So why aren’t builders increasing starts in the lower price points? Many report that they can find land cheap enough to deliver the lower price points buyers need.
To put things in perspective, housing prices in the North Texas housing market are 50 percent higher than they were in 2009.