Dallas area home prices remained flat month-over-month in March, keeping the region's reputation as a steady, if not improving, economy fully in tact.

Comparing last month's home values to year ago levels, Dallas home values dropped 1% from March of 2011, according to the latest Standard & Poor's Case-Shiller Home Price Indices report. 

Rich Thomas, CEO of MetroTex Association of Realtors in North Texas, says the Case-Shiller report and local real estate price indices are somewhat dissimilar in how they crunch data. 

Based on local numbers available to Thomas, he saw the Dallas area's median home price rise to $168,000 in March, compared to $152,400 a year earlier.

"We are not looking at apples-to-apples comparisons," Thomas said. Either way, he sees the flat-to-increasing home value numbers as indicative of a local economy that keeps pulling in new transplants who are buying North Texas homes and keeping the area from experiencing the headwinds impacting other metro areas. 

In March 2011, the region recorded 3,603 single-family home sales. That number rose to 4,070 sales last month, Thomas said, suggesting an ongoing trend of healthy home buying activity in Dallas-Fort Worth.

"It (activity from new arrivals) has not slowed," said Thomas. "We still have people coming in, relocating for jobs and some corporate relocations."

He added that the North Texas market experienced an uptick in upper-end homes sales in the $500,000-price range over the past few months. "Higher priced homes have been selling more rapidly, which is tending to bring our average price and our median home price up a bit," he said. 

Rick Sharga, executive vice president with Carrington Mortgage Holdings, added that, "Looking at the past few years of the index, it’s apparent that Dallas numbers haven’t swung as wildly up and down as many of the other markets – very likely because home prices during the real estate boom didn’t escalate as crazily in Dallas as in other parts of the country, so they had less far to fall during the subsequent downturn. I think the Case-Shiller index reflects that relative stability."

kpanchuk@housingwire.com