The Dallas housing market isn’t dead, but real estate editor, Steve Brown, continues floating more comical real estate industry spin to minimize what’s going on with the Dallas-Fort Worth housing market. Mr. Brown’s latest article about overdone expectations caught my attention. He’s right that the truth is usually not as bad as those screaming fire. The DFW housing market certainly isn’t dead. As I have explained, it is just beginning to deflate.

I’m not sure where Mr. Brown is getting his forecast for a 1 percent decline in home sales next year, but I certainly hope we fare that well. The odds are probably not in our favor, but apparently Mr. Brown is remaining optimistic in spite of the evidence that points in a different direction. I’m not sure if it was blind optimism or just pure laziness that caused him to regurgitate the local press release sales numbers earlier this year when they were obviously not correct.

Apparently corporate owned media doesn’t allow much time for editing or fact-checking, because the real estate desk at the Dallas Morning News apparently needs some help in that department. I’m all for being optimistic, but not at expense of the truth. When Mr. Brown tells us that a 6 month supply of homes in Dallas Fort Worth is “normal”, your alarm bells should go off. Mine certainly did, so I decided to put together a chart with the actual data to test Mr. Brown’s assertion of what constitutes a normal market for inventory.

“Unlike in previous down cycles, there’s still only about a three-month supply of pre-owned homes on the market. That’s half what is considered a “normal” home inventory and half the long-term average for North Texas.” Steve Brown – Dallas Morning News

I’m not sure what Mr. Brown considers normal, but I can tell you as a practicing real estate broker that you certainly DON’T want 6 months of supply in the current market. That reference of “normal” from Mr. Brown is the tired real estate industry baseline that is often floated in the media. Markets are local, and what might be sustainable in one market could cause major problems in another.

The real long-term average for DFW home inventory during the last 15 years certainly doesn’t support Mr. Brown’s claim. I can only assume Mr. Brown has been out to lunch during the last 15 years of Fed market manipulation. The average months of inventory in Dallas Fort Worth going back to 2004 is about 3.6 months. The last time Dallas had 6 months of inventory in a market cycle correction was back in 2010. The global economy had just collapsed a few years earlier and Dallas was pulling out of the recession. Dallas area home prices were still cheap back then, so the spike in inventory didn’t do a lot of damage to local home prices.

Mr. Brown’s definition of normal could be damaging to your wallet in this case. With home prices artificially inflated by Fed policies, a near doubling of available inventory at this stage of the cycle would not be a pleasant experience, at least not for those trying to sell a home. A doubling of home inventory in Dallas Fort Worth at this stage of the cycle would likely indicate that we were knee deep in a recession. If that’s your definition of normal, I wish you the best of luck.