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Victoria housing market experiences low inventory, more sales

By ALLISON MILES
May 1, 2012 at 12:01 a.m.
Updated July 3, 2012 at 2:03 a.m.


A closer look at the Victoria housing market:

Sales

Quarter 1 2011: 155

Quarter 1 2012: 185

Year-over-year change: 19.35%

Median price

Quarter 1 2011: $127,900

Quarter 1 2012: $132,200

Year-over-year change: 3.36%

Average price

Quarter 1 2011: $145,186

Quarter 1 2012: $148,105

Year-over-year change: 2.01%

Monthly inventory

Quarter 1 2011: 6.30

Quarter 1 2012: 3.40

Year-over-year change: -46.03%

Source: Texas Association of Realtors website

Sales are up and inventory is down, but just how is Victoria's housing market? Crossroads professionals say it depends on whether you're the buyer or seller.

Louise Hull Patillo, owner and broker with Cornerstone Properties, said Victoria's market is the hottest she's seen during her 30 years in the industry.

From a buyer's point of view, however, Victoria is in the midst of a housing crisis.

"Inventory is so extremely low, and there are so very few homes to choose from," she explained. "Our biggest need is listings."

A housing report issued Tuesday by the Texas Association of Realtors showed Victoria sat at a 3.4-month inventory for 2012's first quarter. A balanced market is a 6.5-month inventory, according to an association news release.

Greg Spears, owner and broker of Victoria's Greg Spears Realty, agreed selection was a problem for the area. And, while it gives sellers a bit of an upper hand, he said buyers know how the market works.

"A lot of people use the market as an excuse to inaccurately price homes," he said, noting they'll up the price because of demand. "But buyers are smart. They'll continue renting until they find what they want."

Business at Greg Spears Realty is on the upswing, he said, but has fared well the past two years. He attributed the housing demand to low interest rates.

Oil activity is a boon to the market in some ways, Spears said, but most in the industry find themselves renting, due to the short-term nature of the job.

Victoria's increasing market demands follow a statewide trend, according to the Texas Association of Realtors's Quarterly Housing Report.

Texas saw a 12 percent year-over-year increase in single-family home sales during 2012's first quarter, according to the news release, and a 2.7 percent increase in median sales prices for that same timeframe.

Looking ahead, Hull Patillo said she didn't expect Victoria's tight market to find relief in the near future. Even if a new wave of construction came along, it would take time to catch up.

Considering Victoria's ever-increasing rental and hotel prices, she said she also expected home prices to increase, though at a gradual rate, due to appraisal values.

"With all these stats and the way the market is behaving, I don't see how the housing prices can do anything but go up," she said.

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