Before the disruption of COVID-19, the DFW economy saw job growth of 123,600 from February 2019 to February 2020 and soaring consumer and builder confidence in the housing market, alongside tight inventories for new and existing homes. With Q1 2020 data, builders anticipated a much stronger year, hitting sales records.
The immediate disruption of COVID-19 was seen in the final two weeks of March, when shelter-in-place orders were issued. However, RSI data notes that the housing market, although affected with slower traffic, saw high-quality prospects, especially in the entry-level price points ($350K and under). It is also important to note that the data shows builders with a strong online presence were able to adapt quickly to new sales approaches. In 2019, Camden Homes’ allocated marketing spending to social media, allowing for an adapted sales model and a quick recovery in April and record sales in May.
Finally, although there has been speculation in housing price drops, a strong demand and low interest rates suggest that prices will stay consistent with 2020 plans.
Mid-March data, including increased unemployment and GDP growth (loss), suggests a nation-wide recession, with the DFW market not as disrupted as most American local economies. Additionally, the affected industries’ labor force consists of mostly hourly and low-wage workers, further excluding them from the home-buying market.
Out of the most active submarkets in the DFW Metroplex, Camden Homes builds in Kaufman County and its surrounding areas (Mabank, Seagoville), Red Oak, and Waxahachie. These submarkets each saw growth of 30% or more.
Start activity in the DFW Market for houses priced $258K and under saw a YOY Q1 increase of 901 starts; houses priced $259K-$304K saw a YOY Q1 increase of 1,030. Together, these two price sectors experienced the most start activity increase. Furthermore, with tighter mortgage qualification standards due to COVID-19, buyers in the lower-price point sectors, where Camden Homes operates, are driving sales.