Noted for its affluent neighborhoods, excellent public schools and appealing proximity to bustling Fort Worth, Keller is an appealing city of nearly 42,000 residents. Named one of “America’s Top 5 Neighborhoods” by Realtor.com and a consistent presence on CNN/Money magazine’s biennial “Best Places to Live” list, it also boasted a fairly strong Keller real estate market in 2012.
Part of Keller’s housing strength lies in its location as part of the continuously expanding Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex region. Nearby Fort Worth and Irving, Texas, are two of the country’s fastest growing cities, with population increases hovering around 14 percent. The entire Metroplex experienced significant growth in real estate in 2012, nearly reaching peak 2006 standards. With positive numbers throughout most of the year, the region ended 2012 with a boom in quarterly new housing starts of almost 50 percent. The new housing starts are critical since one of the region’s less bright spots is its dwindling inventory of homes for sale.
The 2012 Results
In Keller, in particular, most of 2012′s real estate trends are positive. The city boasted a slightly larger housing inventory than the region, with average of 4.7 months’ supply. Keller’s monthly inventory statistics fluctuate widely, though. The city ended December 2012 with just 2.7 months of real estate supply, a noticeable halving of its December 2011 rate of 5.4 months of inventory. In contrast, the whole Metroplex averaged just 3.7 months of inventory for 2012. The region’s low supply of houses for sale places it firmly in the seller’s market, although if Keller can keep the supply above four percent, its market can offer a balance of benefits to both sellers and buyers. Also very strong is Hidden Lake homes for sale in the golf community of Keller, Texas.
Number of Properties Acquired
Slightly more than 800 single-family properties sold in Keller in 2012, a marked 29 percent increase over the 623 properties sold in 2011. Sales of most other types of properties in Keller increased in 2012, as well, including condos, townhouses, lots and vacant land. The only properties to experience a decline in 2012 sales were rental market. The number of Keller rentals leased in 2012 fell by nine percent to 171 for the year.
Overall, though, the number of sales across all property types escalated in the entire Metroplex area. Across the board, from single family homes to commercial properties and multifamily structures, the number of properties sold in North Texas increased in 2012.
Enjoying the best pre-owned home sales prices in four years, the entire Metroplex offered good news to the country’s real estate industry. Here, home prices grew more quickly than they have in the past seven years. In the fourth quarter alone, home prices in the region accelerated by 7.5 percent. Real estate analyst CoreLogic reported that increases in housing values across the nation brought more than 1.5 million homes “above water.”
That gain was also felt in Keller, although a bit more modestly since Keller already retained more of its housing value throughout the economic downturn than did the rest of the country. The city’s average single-family home sold for $326,556 in 2012, a 2.1 percent increase over 2011′s average price.
Median prices for Keller’s single-family residences rose at a slightly higher 2.8 percent in 2012. The city ended the year with median prices reaching $290,000.
Although not a boon for buyers, Keller’s real estate prices per square foot also increased in 2012. Local homes sold for $101 per square foot in 2011 and jumped to $105 per square foot in 2012.
In spite of these housing price increases, Keller and the Metroplex continue to enjoy highly affordable housing and a slightly lower-than-average cost of living. According to the North Texas Real Estate Information System (NTREIS), Metroplex residents earn 207 percent more than the income needed to qualify for the region’s median priced home. In addition, Keller’s cost of living is marginally better than the U.S. average, making it an attractive locale for residents.
A Sellers’ Market
Properties in Keller sell at prices very close to their original asking prices. Both in 2011 and 2012, Keller sellers received an average of 97 percent of their original asking price. Those results are better than the rest of the region. Tarrant County properties received 92 percent of original asking price in 2011, and the entire Metroplex earned 94 percent of asking price in 2012.
Local real estate sellers also benefit from the sluggish inventory on the market. On average in 2012, Keller properties sold within 77 days of listing. That’s an 18 percent drop in the number of days an average property stayed on the market in 2011 and a better result than the region as whole. In the Metroplex, properties were on the market an average of 87 days in 2012.
Keller’s limited condominium and townhouse market experienced an even bigger drop in the number of days properties were on the market. In 2011, the one property that sold was on the market for 169 days. In 2012, condo and townhouse properties sold within 81 days. Lots and vacant land languished on the market for quite a bit longer at 254 days, a five percent decrease over 2011.
A Mixed Bag of Results
Between January 2012 and December 2012, Tarrant County, home to Keller and a number of other rural and suburban cities, experienced a 39 percent decline in homes facing foreclosure. In fact, foreclosures in the entire Metroplex region have dwindled to their lowest level since before the economic downturn in 2007, according to the Dallas Morning News.
For Keller, even the rate of unoccupied houses present a rosy picture. Keller’s owner-occupied home rates are 17.4 percent higher than the national average, and its number of unoccupied properties is more than 12 percent lower than the U.S. average.
More mixed results appear in the number of new listings in Keller. Single-family homes, lots and vacant land listings marginally increased in 2012, but rentals, condominiums and town homes did not. Speaking to the region’s falling inventory, new listings are critical to accommodating the area’s growing population and fueling prospects for future real estate growth.
On a sunny note, Keller ended the year with a sizable increase in the number of pending sales. With sales pending on 706 single-family homes and 32 lots and vacant land in Keller, the increases over 2011 range from about 30 percent to nearly 300 percent.
Setting the Stage for 2013
Overall, Keller’s 2012 real estate offered a number of positives for those selling and buying single-family homes and vacant property. Its quickly growing region, escalating home prices, improved selling time and decrease in foreclosures and bank-owned properties point to a strong real estate market. The area’s fluctuating real estate supply offers some concern to those in the industry, but Keller generally fares slightly better than the rest of the region on real estate inventory.
By most indicators, Keller’s real estate market ended 2012 with plenty of high notes. Whether those gains, and the gains of previous years, can be sustained throughout 2013 and beyond partly depends upon the region’s continued growth and an increase in housing starts and pre-owned single-family home inventory.