Homes in Richardson are taking longer to sell than they did at this time last year, and the number of year-to-date sales is down, data shows.

Realtors say this is indicative of a housing market in which the seller’s advantage is not as strong as it once was.

1. The Richardson market is beginning to balance out

When it comes to the Richardson real estate market, the ball is still firmly in the seller’s court. But the seller’s advantage is not as strong as in previous years, real estate experts say.

The market action index, a tool that measures the health of the market by comparing the current rate of sales to the amount of inventory, registered at 47 out of 100 in late June. Anything above 30 is considered a seller’s market.

“The market is a lot more traditional,” said Rosie Humphrey-Donohue with Ebby Halliday Realtors. “It wasn’t like two years ago when you’d put a house on the market and sales would rush in.”

In June of 2018, the median timeframe for sales was nine days, according to Multiple Listing Service data provided by Humphrey-Donohue. Fast forward to June 2019 and that number is up by 55%, or 14 days.

Because of this, buyers are enjoying a newfound luxury of time, and sellers are having to adjust expectations, Humphrey-Donohue said.

“There’s enough inventory that [buyers] are willing to keep looking,” she said.

The year-to-date number of sales is down by 10.6% compared to last year, data shows. 

Increased supply means sellers face an uphill battle. Still, a renowned school district, a strong job market and central location give Richardson a competitive edge, and the best homes tend to sell quickly.

”Richardson is still hot, hot, hot,” Humphrey-Donohue said.

As the market begins to tilt in the buyer’s favor, Realtors agree the best approach for sellers is appropriate pricing and ensuring pristine condition.

“It is so important to price it right and not be too aggressive,” Humphrey-Donohue said. “If it sits on the market too long, the sharks begin to circle, and people start to question why.”

2. Home prices are increasing, but not as rapidly as before 

Sales prices are up year over year, but Realtors say the 2016-17 surge—when the median sales price climbed by 11%—is beginning to level out. Between April 2018 and April 2019, the median sales price increased by 4%, Chicago Title data shows.

John O’Haugherty, Realtor with Coldwell Banker Residential, said the fizzle could be in part linked to deceleration of major corporate move-ins.

“We’ve had big companies move in, but not any big headline companies that really change the amount of buyers that we have,” he said.

3. Inexpensive homes are going fast

The prevalence of Richardson homes sold for between $151,000-$200,000 is shrinking. Only 2 percent of sales in April fell within that range, according to Chicago Title. That means inexpensive homes are going fast, according to Jana Kading, a Realtor with the Divercity Group of Keller Williams Central.

“What we have seen is that over a certain price point, probably about $275[,000] to $300[,000], things are sitting longer,” she said. “In the lower price points, we are seeing a lot of quick sales and multiple offers.”

In April, homes priced under $200,000 sat on the market for an average of eight days. Upward of that price, homes took between 20 and 39 days to sell on average.

4. Space for new builds is dwindling

Vacant, developable land in Richardson is down to 4%, or about 600 acres,  according to Keith Krum with the city’s development services department. Only 51 acres of that land is zoned residential, he said.

“All of the single-family projects recently approved have been ... from around 2.5 acres to 11 acres in area, with 18-35 homes in the neighborhood,” he said.

As of late June, there was only one tract of vacant residential land available for purchase. That 2-acre lot, located near Waterview Parkway and Renner Road, is listed at $750,000.

5. Residential teardowns are increasing

The lack of vacant land is leading some buyers to tear down homes and construct new ones rather than build on empty lots, Joe Scalaro of Fairview Custom Homes said. The majority of these scrape-and-builds are happening in Richardson Heights, the Reservation and Canyon Creek. City data shows that since 2015 the number of residential teardowns has increased by about 118%, and many of those teardowns eventually result in a rebuild, Senior Building Inspector Jennifer Patrick said.