By 2013, Fort Worth, Texas, was over its real estate slump and astounded spectators with the steady growth of its housing market. In May 2015, Realtor.com described Fort Worth as the hottest market in the country, but some analysts fear that the market is cooling off due to the energy industry slowing down in Texas. North Texas, home of Fort Worth, is still growing strong, but a lack of labor and climbing building costs is leading to fewer homes and thus higher home costs.

Market Insights

The post-2012 years were good for the Fort Worth area. Jobs had picked up, foreign billionaires were paying cash for properties and Texas was the premier homebuilding site in the nation. Construction was drilling at a steady pace, and demand for single-family homes was high. As recent as May 2016, homes in Fort Worth were in high demand. In fact, sales were brisker than ever. The problem was that the Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) market had almost 15% fewer homes for sale in 2016 than it had the year before, according to Zillow.

There are several reasons for this drop. Oil prices had dipped to 12-year lows throughout Texas in January 2016. Some people lost their jobs. North Texas seemed to be doing well, but James Gaines, chief economist with the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University, predicted that the Dallas-Fort Worth/North Texas region would be feeling some of the pinch. Jobs in the region were becoming scarcer, and the price of property lots, building material and labor costs were far more expensive than they had been several years ago. In 2015, Gaines reported that the average price of an existing home in mid-2015 was around $240,000, while the average price of a new home was around $340,000. He also said that homebuilders were finding it difficult to build anything under $200,000.

Costs led to fewer homes. The inventory was so low that buyers competed over property through multiple offers, sometimes bidding well above the asking price. At the same time, fewer homes led to rising home costs. Fort Worth home prices rose 9.5% year-over-year (YOY) in the fourth quarter of 2015, according to the Texas Quarterly Housing Report.

As of 2016, Dallas-Fort Worth was still one of the top five homebuilding markets in the nation, but home affordability threatens to become an issue for the area, especially since home prices are starting to outpace average wages in that region.

Property and Transfer Taxes

Fort Worth belongs to one of 12 U.S. states that has shrugged off property transfer taxes. It compensates with increasing its property tax. Texas varies its property taxes based on region and calculates its taxes by multiplying the assessed value of the property with each one thousandth of an inch. In May 2016, homeowners in Fort Worth paid an average tax rate of 2.85%.

Most Expensive Neighborhoods

Fort Worth has some highly desirable neighborhoods, but few can afford to live in them. Quaint Westlake tops the list with its annual household income of $526,590. The median home value in Westlake Village, in May 2016, was $930,800, according to Zillow. Westover Hills, Highland Park, Volk Estates-Windsor Place, LakeSide on Preston and Willow Bend come close. To get some idea of Westlake's elitism, consider that geographer Stephen Higley ranked Westlake as the 12th richest district in the nation in his 2010 Higley 1000.

Top Real Estate Websites

Alexander Chandler Realty promotes itself as the number one MLS-ranked Fort Worth brokerage, also ranked third by the Greater Fort Worth Association of Realtors. The site, ranked first on Zillow for total sales, provides a clear, comprehensive listing of property for buying, selling and renting in all Fort Worth areas and suburbs. The Greater Fort Worth Association of Realtors lists current status of home sales in the Fort Worth area and provides information for buyers and sellers. DFWHomes.net covers property in in Dallas Fort Worth, presents foreclosures and provides relevant information.

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