Houston-Area Home Sales Rise for a Fourth Straight Month

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Houston temperatures finally cooled a bit in September, but home sales remained hot. Sales of single-family homes climbed nearly 17 percent when compared to one year earlier and accounted for the fourth consecutive month of increased sales volume. The prices of those homes achieved all-time highs for a September in Houston. In addition, months inventory fell to the lowest level since May 2010 while pending sales rose and active listings declined. All are considered signs of a healthy and balanced housing market as the fall season gets underway.

According to the latest monthly data prepared by the Houston Association of REALTORS® (HAR), September sales of single-family homes rose 16.9 percent versus one year earlier. This increase followed home sales gains recorded in January, June, July and August of this year. All segments of the housing market, from the sub-$80,000 to the $500,000 and above, experienced positive sales in September. On a year-to-date basis, sales were up 3.2 percent.

“The combination of increased closed and pending sales, fewer active listings and strong pricing suggests that we are entering the fall home buying season on strong footing,” said Carlos P. Bujosa, HAR chairman and VP at Transwestern. “HAR’s September report shows rebalanced supply and demand throughout the Houston housing market with diminishing traces of the distortions caused by last year’s federal home buyer tax credit.”

The average price of a single-family home ticked up 0.4 percent from September 2010 to $213,334, the highest level for a September in Houston. The September single-family home median price—the figure at which half of the homes sold for more and half sold for less—also reached a September high for the market, rising 1.6 percent to $157,500.

Foreclosure property sales reported in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) increased 2.4 percent year-over-year in September. Foreclosures comprised 19.4 percent of all property sales, which is consistent with the levels it has maintained each month since May when it was more than 22 percent. The median price of foreclosures in September was flat at $81,900.

September sales of all property types in Houston totaled 5,469, up 15.9 percent compared to September 2010. Total dollar volume for properties sold during the month jumped 16.0 percent to $1.1 billion versus $962 million one year earlier.

The month of September brought Houston’s overall housing market positive results when all sales categories are compared to September of 2010. Sales volume gains showed more normal, seasonal trending after several months in which the data was skewed by the 2010 tax credit that caused a dramatic drop in home sales following its expiration. Total property sales and total dollar volume rose on a year-over-year basis. Both average and median prices climbed to historic levels for a September in Houston.

Month-end pending sales for September totaled 3,120. That is up 3.2 percent from last year and suggests the likelihood of another positive month of sales when the October figures are tallied. The number of available properties, or active listings, at the end of September declined 11.5 percent from September 2010 to 47,812. The inventory of single-family homes was reduced to 6.8 months, its lowest level since May 2010, compared to 7.7 months one year earlier. That means it would take 6.8 months to sell all the single-family homes on the market based on sales activity over the past year. The figure is significantly better than the national inventory of single-family homes of 8.5 months reported by the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR). These indicators all reflect a balanced real estate marketplace for Houston.

The number of available properties, or active listings, at the end of August declined 11.5 percent from August 2010 to 48,752. The inventory of single-family homes was reduced to 7.1 months compared to 7.8 months one year earlier. That means it would take 7.1 months to sell all the single-family homes on the market based on sales activity over the past year. The figure is significantly better than the national inventory of single-family homes of 9.4 months reported by the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR).

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