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Fort Hood area housing market favors buyers

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Posted: Sunday, September 15, 2013 4:30 am

The Greater Killeen-Fort Hood area housing market slightly favors buyers, with more than 1,400 homes available to purchase in the last eight months.

“We are just a little bit above a buyer’s market,” said Jose Segarra, a Realtor with Exit Realty and spokesman for the Fort Hood Area Association of Realtors.

The more affordable homes are in a well-balanced market, said Rodney Shine, a member of Shine Team Realty.

“The higher you go in price, the more the power of the buyer starts to swing into play,” Shine said. “The more affordable homes, under $150,000, for those houses, it is a really balanced market. When you move to $150,000, specifically talking about those in the $250,000 range… (owners) are happy to have a buyer, and they are willing to negotiate.”

Shine had three contracts for homes under $150,000 this past week and all of them were full-price offers, he said.

The number of homes sold and residences available on the market per month helps determine whether it is buyer’s or seller’s market, Segarra said.

As of August, there were 1,554 homes available in the Fort Hood market, according to data from the Fort Hood Area Association of Realtors. The number has steadily climbed from December 2012 when there were 1,399 available.

206 sales a month

The Fort Hood area, which encompasses Nolanville to Gatesville to Lampasas, averaged 206 home sales per month between January 2012 and August 2013 with months varying from 150 to 285, the data showed.

When comparing those two numbers, analysts can generate how many months worth of housing inventory is on the market, which is often used to tell buyers, sellers and Realtors how balanced the market is.

“To have a balanced market, we need to have five to six months of inventory,” Segarra said.

There has been an average of 6.9 months of housing inventory in the Greater Fort Hood Area Realtors’ Association coverage area from Jan. 1 to Aug. 31. Last year saw similar numbers.

“What we look at is the days inventory,” Shine said. “If you have six months of inventory or 180 days, you tend to be in equilibrium.”

Having a balanced market is the best place to be because homes are being sold fairly quickly, buyers have options, there is room to negotiate and the market isn’t overinflating itself.

Favoring sellers

Unlike the Fort Hood area, “most of Texas is a seller’s market — Austin, Dallas, Houston,” Segarra said.

From December 2012 to July 2013, there hasn’t been above three months of housing inventory in Austin, according to the Texas A&M Real Estate Center in College Station. In July, 3,496 homes were sold, with 6,721 homes for sale.

The last time Killeen was in a heavily unbalanced market was 2005, Shine said.

“In 2004, I remember we had 2,200 homes in the market, and that number went from 2,200 to about 750 and prices shot up,” Shine said, noting that a large Army division moved to Fort Hood.

“The market was strong and everyone wanted to sell a house. You couldn’t build houses quick enough … and resale homes sold very quickly because that is what was available.”

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