By Jason Allen

FORT WORTH (CBS 11 NEWS) – A surge in home buying has dropped available homes in some counties to their lowest level in more than 20 years. Prices are now surging as homes that couldn’t garner a single offer in the fall, are now drawing several.

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Sales for single family homes in North Texas topped the billion dollar mark in February, according to research from the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M.

The median price of $155,000 is the highest ever for the month of February. The number of active listings fell to just under 22,000, down 20-percent, and a number not see in some counties going back more than 20 years.

The sudden buying surge combined with tight supply has caused a competition for attractive homes. Dallas realtor Barbara Van Poole said just last weekend, five different buyers made offers on homes, only to discover that others buyers had done the same thing. It wasn’t limited to just one hot zip code either Van Poole said. The homes were in Allen, Frisco, far north Dallas, Southlake and McKinney.

“It’s kind of the perfect storm,” she said. “Prices are starting back up. Sellers are wanting back in the market. Buyers, it’s time to get off the fence.”

Southlake realtor Susie Fitzgerald said she noticed the trend begin in January. She sold nine homes that month, about 50-percent more than normal.

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Last weekend, she had multiple offers on a home in Hurst that owners pulled off the market back in September, for lack of activity. Another in Grapevine, ended up selling for nearly 10-percent more than what owners were asking for.

The supply crunch could ease, according to Bill Head at the MetroTex Association of Realtors, as owners who have considered selling in the past, decide to get in on a growing market.

“The selling season is getting started and hopefully you’ll see a lot more sellers get on board and that’ll help the inventory and increase the buyer options,” he said.

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