Houston Community News >> Houston Real Estate Market

10/18/2006 HOUSTON - Property sales reach new year-over-year record for 32nd consecutive month. Houston real estate market is hot. Maybe, maybe not.

In what may seem like a repeat of last month, which seemed like a repeat of the month before that, greater Houston housing sales in September showed continued strength in the face of reports of sagging sales elsewhere in the country. Price appreciation and increased sales are combining to ensure that Houston will see new annual records across the board before the end of the year.

Total property sales in Houston for the month totaled 7,163, which was a 17.8% increase over September 2005. Properties sold during the month reached a total of nearly $1.4 billion, a 23.7% increase compared to last year’s more than $1.1 billion in September sales.

Additionally, the median home price for a single-family home reached a monthly record for September of $150,000, and the average single-family home price fell back below the $200,000 mark at $199,752, still increases from last year of 3.1% and 4.5% respectively.

"We have once again, written the book on sustaining growth by modest gain,” said Lorraine Abercrombie, HAR (Houston Associate of Realtors) chair and marketing director for Greenwood King Properties. “While national real estate news is not very good, we are enjoying steady growth and in many cases, breaking previous records. We will watch with cautiously optimistic eyes as we approach the traditionally slower holiday season, but for now, we are pleased with the numbers.”

September Monthly Market Comparison

All listing categories combined, Houston’s overall housing/real estate market in September saw increases in most categories, including total property sales, average sales price, median sales price, and overall total dollar volume on a year-over-year basis.

The number of available homes (active listings) at the end of September was 46,500 properties, which was an increase of 6.2% versus last September and the third month with a year-over-year increase, after ten consecutive previous declines. The figure was an increase of 299 properties from last month, which is an increase of nearly 3,000 homes in the last three months and shows new listings are keeping up with increased sales activity.

Month-end pending sales – those listings expected to close within the next 30 days – reached 4,694, which was up 29.5% from last year, and signals a very strong October for sales. The month’s inventory of single-family homes for September came in at 5.5 months. This statistic signals more of a seller’s market and also shows that demand is more than keeping up with the available supply of homes, as displayed by September reporting the twenty-third consecutive decline in year-over-year months inventory figures.

Single-family Homes Update

The overall median price of single-family homes of $150,000 was a record for the month of September and an increase of 3.1% compared to the prior year. The average sales price for single-family homes was $199,752 during September, which was up 4.5% versus the same period last year. The median is a typical market price where half of the homes sold for more and half sold for less than that figure.

Houston’s current median price of $150,000, while a monthly record for the Houston real estate market, is 33.5% less than the national median price, which reached $225,700 in August, according to statistics released by the National Association of Realtors. The data continues to show the tremendous value and lower cost of living afforded to Houstonians.

Additionally, total sales for single-family homes in Houston continued its streak of year-over-year increases, marking 32 consecutive months that sales have been higher than the same month of the previous year. For September 2006, single-family home sales increased by 19.3% to 5,954, up from last year’s 4,990.

HAR is now also reporting existing home statistics for the single-family home segment of the real estate market. For the month of September 2006, existing single-family home sales totaled 5,000, which was a 17.9% increase from September 2005. The median sales price for existing homes in the Houston area was $143,400, an increase of 2.5% compared to the same period last year. The average sales price for the month of $189,181 was an increase of 4.3% from last year’s level.

Townhouse/Condo Update

The overall median price in the townhouse/condo segment in Houston was up 13.2% for September, with the median sales price for the month being $124,530. The average sales price for which a townhouse or condo sold in the greater Houston area was $156,434 in September 2006, which was a 10.9% increase from the same month last year.

Additionally, the number of townhouses and condos that sold in September increased compared to last year’s sales, with 638 units being sold last month, versus 543 properties in September 2005, or a 17.5% increase in year-over-year sales.

Houston Real Estate Milestones in September

• Reached the highest average sales price for single-family homes for September.
• Marked the highest median sales price for single-family homes for September.
• Marked the highest dollar volume of sales for September.
• Recorded the highest number of single-family homes ever sold in September.

(contributed by RISmedia)