The Houston Real Estate Market Charges into 2013 at Full-Throttle

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Housing inventory in Houston now matches levels last seen 13 years ago, as January home sales maintained the aggressive pace established in 2012. January marked the 20th consecutive month of positive home sales, with average and median prices reaching the highest levels for a January in Houston.

According to the latest monthly data prepared by the Houston Association of REALTORS® (HAR), single-family home sales achieved the highest monthly year-over-year percentage increase since last October, rising 28.3 percent compared to January 2012. Contracts closed on 3,899 homes, shrinking inventory to 3.6 months. That matches a level last recorded in December 1999.

All housing segments saw gains in January, with homes priced from $250,000 through the millions registering the greatest sales volume and accounting for the boost in pricing.

“The Houston real estate market gained even more momentum as the new year began,” said HAR Chairman Danny Frank with Prudential Anderson Properties. “We are maintaining a watchful eye on the local housing supply because a significant decline from current inventory levels could potentially have an adverse effect on sales and drive prices disproportionately higher. Market conditions right now are excellent for those considering selling their homes, especially as further growth in hiring continues to drive more potential buyers to the Houston area every day.”

The single-family home average price increased 3.4 percent year-over-year to $200,296, the highest level for a January in Houston. The median price—the figure at which half of the homes sold for more and half sold for less—jumped 7.2 percent to $150,000, also a record high for a January in Houston.

Foreclosure property sales reported in the HAR Multiple Listing Service (MLS) declined 11.9 percent compared to January 2012. Foreclosures currently make up 19.6 percent of all property sales, which is the highest level since February 2012. The median price of January foreclosures dipped 1.5 percent to $81,074.

January sales of all property types in Houston totaled 4,680, a 29.1 percent increase over the same month last year. Total dollar volume for properties sold in January leapt 33.6 percent to $908 million versus $680 million a year earlier.

January brought Houston’s overall real estate market positive results when all sales categories are compared to January 2012. On a year-over-year basis, total property sales, total dollar volume and average and median pricing all rose.

Month-end pending sales for January totaled 3,591. That is up 13.5 percent from last year and signals the likelihood of further gains when February property sales data are totaled. Active listings, or the number of available properties, at the end of January declined 20.3 percent from January 2012 to 33,532.

Housing inventory in Houston retreated to 3.6 months in January, the lowest level since December 1999. Inventory first fell below a five-month supply in August 2012 and then dropped below a four-month supply last December. By contrast, the highest months inventory in recent history was 8.2 in June 1996. For perspective, the national inventory of single-family homes stands at 4.4 months, according to the latest report from the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR).

If you would like to discuss touring tour Houston and Katy homes or selling your home, contact me at 713-818-2404 or [email protected]. I have sold local real estate for over 23 years. Experience does matter!

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