Fort Worth’s housing market showed some price stabilization and inventory increases in September, a sign that the wild swings in the market have tamped down. 

The median Fort Worth home price was $334,450, which is down 1.6% year over year and inventory climbed again, now reaching 2 ½ months for both Fort Worth and in Tarrant County. But there was a downside to the good news for the market, closed sales were down 8.9% in Fort Worth and 17.4%in Tarrant County, compared to September 2022. 

The issue is mortgage rates.

“There are people out there who need to both upsize and downsize, but they have a 3% interest rate and don’t want to let it go,” said Bart Calahan, 2023 president of the Greater Fort Worth Association of Realtors. “With no real indicator of when the rates will start to go down again, it’s better to find a home you love now and refinance later.”

Mortgage rates rose again at the end of October, according to Freddie Mac, which reported a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 7.57%. 

Efforts are being made by everyone in the housing industry to overcome a new record high in homebuyer pessimism, as 84% of Americans polled in Fannie Mae’s latest National Housing Survey said it was a bad time to buy a home.

“Mortgage rates persistently over 7% appear to be deepening the malaise consumers feel about the home purchase market,” said Doug Duncan, Fannie Mae senior vice president and chief economist, in a news release. “In fact, high mortgage rates surpassed high home prices as the top reason why consumers think it’s a bad time to buy a home, a survey first.”

Days on the market are now at 40 in Fort Worth and 37 in Tarrant County. The silver lining is that current market conditions are leading to pent-up demand, which will likely send a flood of buyers and sellers into the market once mortgage rates start to decrease, said Cliff Freeman, a real estate agent and educator based in Dallas. 

“I think that we’re gonna see headwinds in the real estate market, not just next year, but really for the foreseeable future until the market straightens itself out,” he said. “It’s not a problem like we had in 2008 where we had bad financing, it’s absolutely a shortage of homes.”

The only way out is to build more homes, but most of those homes being built are now costlier, he said. 

“We’ve got to find a way to build more affordable homes, starter homes,” he said. 

Some organizations are trying to make homes more affordable, particularly for entry-level buyers. 

Freddie Mac has DPA One to help mortgage lenders quickly find and match borrowers to down payment assistance programs nationwide.

Real estate marketplace Zillow has launched a new program to help people who want to buy homes but are being squeezed out of the market by a surge in interest rates.

Zillow Home Loans is offering mortgages with a 1% down payment option for eligible homebuyers looking to own property in Arizona, and will contribute an additional 2% at closing, the company announced in August. The company said it plans to expand the program to other markets.

“Those programs will help, but with the number of people moving here, we’re still going to be facing some big issues in the future,” said Freeman. “We need more homes.” 

September 2023 Fort Worth statistics at-a-glance

  • 864 – Homes sold in September 2023, 8.9%less than September 2022
  • $334,450 – Median price in September 2023, 1.6%less than September 2022
  • 2.5 – Monthly housing inventory in September 2023, 0.3 months more than September 2022
  • 40 – Average number of days homes spent on the market in September 2023, 8 days more than September 2022
  • 31 – Average number of days to close in September 2023

The Basic Witch Project 

Velvet Taco is offering something special for Halloween: The Basic Witch, a limited time taco that combines all the flavors of the season. 

The Basic Witch from Velvet Taco. (Courtesy | Velvet Taco)

The Basic Witch has a crispy pumpkin pie filling, a flaky pie crust, a cajeta (Mexican caramel) drizzle, marshmallow topping, sweet candied pepitas, garnished with a cinnamon jalapeno gummy worm, all wrapped within a tie-dye waffle tortilla. The Basic Witch will only be available until Oct. 31 at participating Velvet Taco locations. 

Jack in the Box has also gone the taco route for Halloween, offering the Angry Monster Taco, returning for the third year in a row. The Angry Monster Tacos are spicier than the fast food retailer’s regular tacos and come in a red taco shell. Master marketers that they are, the Jack in the Box folks released a short horror film, “Feeding Time,” to promote the Halloween offerings. 

Do you have something for the Bob on Business column? Email Bob Francis at bob.francis@fortworthreport.org.Bob Francis is business editor for the Fort Worth Report. Contact him at bob.francis@fortworthreport.org. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.

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Robert Francis is a Fort Worth native and journalist who has extensive experience covering business and technology locally, nationally and internationally. He is also a former president of the local Society...