Sharp Decline in Affordable Housing Stock Squeezing Current, Future Home Buyers

Over the last decade, the percentage of new home sales in Dallas-Fort Worth below $200,000 fell sharply from 65 percent in 2006 to 7 percent in 2017, according to the research consulting firm Metrostudy Inc.

"In the $200,000 and below range on the new home side, there is virtually no product. On the resale side there is diminishing supply. If a house goes on the market it gets snapped up," said Metrostudy's DFW regional director, Paige Shipp.

The decline is squeezing North Texas home buyers.

Rachael Rice was looking for a home near Allen or Plano. Her family had to sacrifice being closer to relatives in order to find an affordable and decently sized home in Wylie.

"We're really fortunate," she said. "We don't have a white picket-fence, but we're close."

Rice has her slice of the American dream, but she's worried about her 1-year-old daughter, Gwen, and whether home ownership will be beyond her reach in the coming decades.

"She's going to have to get a great job, make a lot of money. She's going to have to be in the top — I don't even know what — percentage to try to find a house that's affordable," Rice said. "I can't even imagine what it's going to be like in the next five years, not even 10. $200,000 is looking like a pipe dream."

An increase in land value and the cost of materials and labor are driving the prices up, Shipp said, yet the market is still hot.

Some builders have seen this trend coming. Some have broken ground on entire communities of affordable to moderately priced homes.

"The only answer for it really is trying to deliver an affordable product, which means going further out, smaller homes, less amenities, things like that," Shipp said. "I would describe home building as kind of the Exxon Valdez, where you can see the iceberg, but you can't quite shift it quick enough, so it's going to take some time to get there."

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