The Texas housing market had a "banner year" in 2019, and looks to be heading for another one, a top economist said at a seminar Friday at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. Nine years after the housing market's downturn, housing sales in Texas have returned to their pre-recession peak, said Jim Gaines, chief economist at the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University. "That prior peak was back right before the Great Recession," Gaines said. "It was very artificial. It's pretty easy to have a lot of home sales when anybody who could walk into a bank and fog a mirror got 110 percent financing."
The Real Estate Center is predicting an increase in home sales in Texas of about 6 percent in 2020, which would beat the 4 percent increase in 2019, Gaines said. Home prices statewide are predicted to rise 5 percent to 6 percent in 2020, after increasing about 3 percent in 2019. "We've had an outstanding decade, and the market is still really strong," he said. Population projections for the next 10 years call for the addition of 5.2 million Texans, including 1.6 million in Dallas-Fort Worth, 1.7 million in the Houston metro area, 622,000 in Austin and 563,000 in San Antonio, and the population and job growth are driving the housing market, Gaines said.