Chinese culture asserts that 2012 is the Year of the Dragon – a year to anticipate good fortune and strong power. Some may dismiss these beliefs as myth, but real estate experts seem convinced that Dallas-Fort Worth’s dragon is ready to roar.

According to housing analyst Clear Capital, D-FW home prices will rise 5.8 percent in 2012, outperforming much of the nation and ranking among the top 10 home price gainers.

Because real estate performance largely depends on the job market, Texas is fortunate to have some of the country’s best business climates. Our Metroplex and the three other major Texas markets registered the nation’s strongest employment gains during the past five years, The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics recently reported.

D-FW is also known for its “can do” spirit, which appears to be gaining even more strength. “In Dallas, 65 percent of us said the best days are ahead of us and only 15 percent said the best days are behind us, so that sense of optimism is very real,” commented Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings.

Exactly what type of homebuyer activity is likely in 2012? Robbie Briggs, CEO of Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty, says that farms and ranches are hot commodities, as is the urban market. Many clients either want to spread out across multiple acres or enjoy the convenience of vertical living.

“Ranches are drawing international attention—particularly from Asian countries,” commented Briggs. “People recognize the value of Texas land and lifestyle, and they want to be a part of it.”

Also, today’s luxury buyers are investing in second-home properties at incredibly low prices. In November 2011, sales of homes over $1 million had risen 73 percent over the previous year, and Briggs expects this sector of sales to keep gaining ground.

“Consumer confidence is returning to the marketplace,” said Gene Taylor, Director of Sales at BFSIR. “As the economic conditions continue to improve, buyers will become even more bold.”

On a global scale, Dallas-Fort Worth is ranked among the top U.S. cities favored by foreign real estate investors, who are attracted to its impressive housing inventory and property values. North Texas is being recognized as a prime choice for asset protection and portfolio diversification.

Politics also plays a big part. With the presidential election approaching, most experts predict that interest rates will be held low to help boost real estate activity throughout 2012.

Considering the local market’s current momentum and its anticipated performance ahead, Dallas’ Year of the Dragon looks dynamic, indeed.  Find more real estate information and the latest economic reports at updatedallas.org.