Texas Foreclosures Slowed in 2009, but May Rise This Year

by on States

The pace of Texas foreclosures slowed in 2009, but may rise this year because of unemployment, according to the first issue of the Texas Quarterly Housing Report published by the Texas A&M University Real Estate Center.

The foreclosure rate ranking of Texas dropped from 24th in 2008 to 29th in 2009, indicating that Texas has been holding up well during the housing meltdown. Its foreclosure rate also rose only slightly to 1.06 percent from 1.04 percent in 2008.

The foreclosure filing total of 100,045 in 2009 also marked only a four-percent rise from the 96,157 foreclosures posted in 2008.

According to Real Estate Center economist Jim Gaines, Texas did not experience the onslaught of bank foreclosure homes that happened in other states because not many borrowers in the state were enticed into subprime lending.

Cheap homes for sale were also not able to drag down the median home sales price in Texas. It even increased by 2.4 percent from the $140,100 median in the last quarter of 2008 to $143,400 in the fourth quarter last year. The increase in prices was significant as home prices nationwide were substantially down.

In the last quarter last year, more than 53,000 pre-owned single-family houses were sold, marking a 16-percent jump from total sales in the fourth quarter of 2008.

Bill Jones, head of the Texas Association of Realtors, said his group is encouraged that home sales prices and volumes in 2009 held up despite Texas foreclosures.

In a ranking of the 203 largest metro areas based on foreclosure rates in 2009, all large cities in Texas were in the lower half of the chart, except two. The highest-ranked in Texas – the Dallas area – was 94th, with a rate of 1.5 percent. Brownsville was 95th, also with a 1.5 percent rate, but with a much lower number of filings.

San Antonio, Houston and Austin were 109th, 111th, and 117th, respectively, with a rate of 1.31 percent, 1.3 percent and 1.25 percent, also respectively. The lowest-ranked large Texas city was College Station, which posted a 0.19-percent foreclosure rate and only 167 filings for the entire year of 2009. It ranked 197th.

Nevertheless, analysts expect a higher number of Texas foreclosures this year because of the rising jobless rate. In December, the Texas unemployment rate rose to 8.3 percent from 8 percent in November. It was still lower however than the nationwide jobless rate of 10 percent in November and December.

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