Tyler area home sales up almost 10 percent

TYLER (TYLER MORNING TELEGRAPH) - Tyler area home sales soared last month by 9.96 percent compared to the same time a year ago.

There were 298 houses sold in March, while 271 units were sold the year before, according to figures released Thursday by the Greater Tyler Association of Realtors.

Last month's sales were a 31.28 percent leap from the 227 homes sold in February.

Lorri Loggins, broker-owner of Cornerstone Brokerage LLC and 2013 president of the Greater Tyler Association of Realtors, attributed the increase in home sales to consumer confidence.

"People are carrying on with life," she said. "With interest rates at historical lows, buyers are able to purchase more, hence the median price increases. Tyler is a great place to live."

The median home price in March was $143,375, a 5.42 percent increase from the $136,000 median home price seen here the same time a year ago, but a 1.12 percent decrease from the $145,000 cost the month before.

"I am asked all the time, not only from consumers but Realtors, about the Tyler real estate market," Ms. Loggins said. "We are busy; properties are going under contract. Sellers are listing, and buyers are feeling the urgency to make an offer instead of waiting if they find a property they love."

Karma Crisp, Realtor/co-owner of Crisp Realty Group in Tyler, said she is seeing buyers coming from all parts of the country to the Tyler and East Texas area.

"My business has grown from last year; all of our agents have gotten much busier in the last month," she said. "I can see it picking up greatly over the next year."

Ms. Crisp believes many people who have been sitting on the fence have been hearing how real estate is getting better, so they are now getting their homes on the market. Home showings in the more-than-$500,000 price range have picked up as well, she said.

"We are looking forward to what looks like a fabulous real estate year," Ms. Crisp said.

The Tyler area's home inventory stood at 10.4 months in March, according to GTAR. That is up from the 10 months seen in February and January,

Home inventory is how long, based on the past year's sales rate, it would take to clear out existing inventory, with no more homes introduced into the market.

Zach Burks, Realtor with RE/MAX Professionals in Tyler, said inventory levels vary greatly depending on location and price point.

"For instance, higher price points in locations outside of the city are taking longer to move into a seller's market," he said. "However, we are seeing inventory closer to our market's median price and in the city limits at record lows."

The average days on the market for a home in the Tyler area, as of March, was 114 days. That's up 9.62 percent from the 104 days reported for March 2012.

Homes sales numbers also mirror local trends in the home building industry.

"These numbers show the greater Tyler area is doing quite well this year with increased sales and increased home values," said Mike Pardue, owner of Mike Pardue Homes Inc. and member of the Tyler Area Builders Association. "These numbers also reflect what our experience has been so far this year in that we have seen increased interest in building custom homes and have seen more builders starting spec homes in the area."


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