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Texas Families Looking To Downsize In Hot Real Estate Market

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NORTH TEXAS (CBS 11 NEWS) – Looking to downsize, the Sunderlands put their Southlake home on the market expecting to have time to find a smaller place. But, just hours into the open house, the plan changed… quickly.

“We got somebody who basically said, ‘I’m buying the house,’” says Margaret Sunderland. “And the next day we had the offer in hand!”

It was all great news, except for that fact that the family hadn’t started their own new home search. “It was like, there’s not much out there… what are we going to do?”

Roxann Taylor, a veteran Southlake realtor, says the scenario has become the norm: families looking to tap into robust home equity and downsize during the hot real estate market. The trend, she says, is also helping to fuel “the new bubble.”

“There’s a very small percentage of people that are moving up,” says Taylor, “but a lot of people are moving down. They don’t want to overspend, they don’t want to get caught again… and so they want to make their lives a little bit easier. They don’t want so much to take care of anymore.”

With pre-owned median home prices in North Texas up roughly 10-percent over a year ago, talk of a ‘bubble’ often triggers worry over when that bubble will burst. But, economist Bernard Weinstein, PhD, at SMU’s Cox School of Business says ‘not yet.’

“I don’t think we’re in a bubble right now, because if you average out over the last seven years, we haven’t seen a lot of home price inflation.” Weinstein also points out that while year-to-year home prices are up, current values are roughly 6-percent higher than per-recession values.

Still, he says, the aging of the baby boomers and emptynesters will continue to fuel the demand created by downsizing. As such, competition will likely remain stiff for smaller, lower price point homes. He reminds potential buyers to remember the recession — and be wary.

“Don’t buy more house than you can afford,” Weinstein advised. “But, you know what? The banks won’t let you buy more house than you can afford.”

Fortunately, the Sunderlands found a smaller place and Margaret — an interior designer — had it unpacked and looking like home in just 10 days! Proving once again that in today’s tight market, “you’ve got to be quick to act,” says Sunderland, “it’s really, really, moving and shaking.”