The value of all Texas home sales reached $40 billion in 2011, a figure that is directly in line with 2004 sales, the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University said Thursday.

The center's chief economist Dr. Mark Dotzour said the figures show another substantial increase in sales volume is expected this year, allowing the center to declare a housing recovery in Texas.

Dotzour said home inventory levels in Texas are down to six months, compared to 6.5 months or slightly higher during the real estate downturn. As inventory levels decline, prices recover and grow higher. 

In May of 2008, Texas' housing inventory rose to more than 6.5 months and remained there until November of last year, Dotzour said.

Now, it's treading in the six-month level, suggesting the state's real estate market continues to pick up speed.

"This is a clear sign of relative strength in the price of Texas homes," said Dotzour. "Remember that home prices can vary dramatically from city to city. In fact, prices can vary widely in neighborhoods of the same city."

Dotzour noted that some local markets in Texas remain soft, but the overall foundation of the Texas real estate economy points to a housing recovery. Inventory levels in the state peaked at 31,431 in June 2006 and then fell 31% to 21,771 five years later.