The Houston Real Estate Market Ends 2012 With a Bang

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Sales of homes throughout the greater Houston area never let up in 2012, driven by a combination of strong local jobs numbers and historically low interest rates. December marked the 19th straight month that sales were in the black, and it was another month in which housing inventory shrunk and prices rose. In fact, both median and average home prices achieved historic highs as the year came to a close.

According to the latest monthly data prepared by the Houston Association of REALTORS® (HAR), December single-family home sales increased 11.4 percent versus December 2011. Contracts closed on 5,039 homes, driving inventory down to 3.7 months, the lowest level since December 1999.

All housing segments saw gains in December except for the low end of the market—those homes priced at $80,000 and below. Homes priced from $500,000 and above registered the highest sales volume and accounted for another hike in prices.

“2012 was a phenomenal year for the Houston housing market, thanks to the addition of more than 85,000 new jobs locally as well as continued low interest rates,” said HAR Chairman Danny Frank with Prudential Anderson Properties. “Market conditions have created excellentopportunities to sell a home in many parts of town, with some sellers receiving multiple offers. With less than four months of inventory on the market and continued demand, we could see further pressure on pricing until inventory levels pick up.”

The single-family home average price jumped 11.3 percent year-over-year to $243,797 while the median price—the figure at which half of the homes sold for more and half sold for less—rose 7.8 percent to $172,500. Both figures represent historic highs for Houston.

Sales of foreclosure properties continue to diminish, falling 24.0 percent compared to December 2011, according to the HAR Multiple Listing Service (MLS). Foreclosures currently make up 14.2 percent of all property sales reported through the MLS, half the share they comprised at the beginning of 2012. The median price of December foreclosures edged up 2.1 percent to $84,200.

December sales of all property types in Houston totaled 6,055, a 12.5 percent increase over the same month last year. Total dollar volume for properties sold in December soared 25.9 percent to $1.4 billion versus $1.1 billion a year earlier

2012 Annual Market Comparison

he Houston housing market concluded calendar year 2012 with strong gains in sales volume and pricing versus 2011. The heaviest one-month sales volume of the year was recorded in August, with 6,447 closings. By contrast, the lightest one-month sales volume of the year took place in January, with 3,039 closings. October marked the greatest year-over-year percentage sales increase, with a 30.3 percent gain over October 2011.

Single-family home sales rose 16.1 percent for the year and sales of all property types experienced a comparable increase of 16.3 percent. On a year-to-date basis, the average price climbed 5.4 percent to $225,330 while the median price increased 6.1 percent to $164,500. Total dollar volume for full-year 2012 jumped 23.3 percent to $16 billion compared to full-year 2011.

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