Houston Real Estate Update – November 18

The Houston housing market continued to feel the effects of the troubled national economy in October and residual business interruptions caused by Hurricane Ike. New monthly data released by the Houston Association of REALTORS®  (HAR) reflects improvement from market performance in September, when Ike derailed thousands of real estate transactions. However, the number of property sales across the greater Houston area declined last month when compared to October 2007, with sales of single-family homes down 20.1 percent.

The average price of a single-family home dipped 1.6 percent last month to $194,607 from $197,751 in October 2007. That still marks the second highest average price for an October in Houston. At $142,000, the median price of a single-family home in October fell 2.7 percent. Year-to-date home prices are still up compared to 2007 and national figures show Houston continues to fare better than many other U.S. markets, some of which have experienced deprecations of as much as 40 percent.

Sales of all property types for October 2008 totaled 4,962, down 21.6 percent compared to October 2007. Total dollar volume for properties sold during the month was $943 million versus $1.2 billion one year earlier, a 22.9 percent decline.

“Houston remains the envy of real estate professionals around the country, who discussed their sales and pricing concerns with us at this month’s National Association of REALTORS® conference in Orlando,” said Michael Levitin, HAR chairman and principal of HTownRealty.com. “Month’s inventory in Houston is about half the national average, and on a year-to-date basis, prices here are up about three percent from 2007. Nonetheless, we must watch closely to see what further action the federal government may take to stimulate the economy, particularly on behalf of homeowners.”

October Monthly Market Comparison
The month of October brought Houston’s overall housing market disappointing results when comparing all listing categories to October of 2007. Total property sales and total dollar volume fell, as did average and median single-family home sales prices.

The number of available properties, or active listings, at the end of October fell 8.2 percent from October 2007 to 49,016. That’s 1,139 fewer active listings than September 2008, and is seen as an indication that inventory levels are balanced and that home prices should remain stable.

Month-end pending sales – those listings expected to close within the next 30 days – totaled 3,579, which was 21.5 percent lower than last year and suggests another likely sales decline next month. The month’s inventory of single-family homes for October came in at 6.3 months, the lowest level since March of this year. That compares to the October 2007 single-family homes inventory of 6.2 months.

 
ALL CATEGORIES October 2007 October 2008 PERCENT CHANGE
Total property sales 6,327 4,962 -21.6%
Total dollar volume $1,233,550,946 $943,444,534 -22.9%
Average single-family sales price $197,751 $194,607 -1.6%
Median single-family sales price $146,000 $142,000 -2.7%
Total active listings 53,407 49,016 -8.2%
Total pending sales 4,562 3,579 -21.5%
Months inventory* 6.2 6.3 +1.2%
* Months inventory estimates the number of months it will take to deplete current active inventory based on the prior 12 months sales activity. This figure is representative of the single-family homes market.
 

Single-Family Homes Update

At $194,607, the average sales price for single-family homes reached the second highest level recorded for an October in Houston, down 1.6 percent from October 2007 when it was $197,751. The overall median price of single-family homes in October was $142,000. That compares to the national single-family median price of $190,600 reported by the National Association of REALTORS®. These data continue to demonstrate the higher value and lower cost of living that prevail in the Houston market.

har-graph

Additionally, total October sales of single-family homes in Houston came in at 4,202, down 20.1 percent from October 2007 and the fourteenth straight monthly drop.

har-graph-21

HAR also reports existing home statistics for the single-family home segment of the real estate market. In October 2008, existing single-family home sales totaled 3,526, a 17.3 percent decrease from October 2007. At $175,392, the average sales price for existing homes in the Houston area fell 5.3 percent compared to last year. The median sales price of $130,000 for the month was also down 3.7 percent from one year earlier.

Townhouse/Condo Update

The number of townhouses and condominiums sold in October fell compared to one year earlier. In the greater Houston area, 421 units were sold last month versus 534 properties in October 2007, translating to a 21.2 percent decrease in year-over-year sales.

har-graph-3

The average price of a townhouse/condominium increased to $161,428, up 0.7 percent from one year earlier and the highest figure for the month of October. The median price dipped 1.5 percent to $129,000 from October 2007 to 2008. That figure is the second highest historically for the month of October.

Lease Property Update

Demand for single-family and townhouse/condominium rentals increased in October, continuing an upswing triggered by Hurricane Ike, as many sought short-term housing while engaging in storm-related recovery projects. Single-family home rentals rose 36.0 percent in October compared to a year earlier, while year-over-year townhouse/condominium rentals were up 34.1 percent.

Houston Real Estate Milestones in October

  • Second highest average single-family home sales price for an October ($194,607);

  • Highest average townhouse/condominium sales price for an October ($161,428);

  • Second highest median townhouse/condominium sales price for an October ($129,000);

  • Lowest month’s inventory of single-family homes since March 2008 (6.3 months).

  •  
    The computerized Multiple Listing Service of the Houston Association of Realtors® includes residential properties and new homes listed by 26,000 Realtors throughout Harris, Fort Bend and Montgomery counties, as well as parts of Brazoria, Galveston, Waller and Wharton counties. Residential home sales statistics as well as listing information for more than 53,000 properties may be found on the Internet at http://www.har.com.The information published and disseminated to the HAR Multiple Listing Services is communicated verbatim, without change by Multiple Listing Services, as filed by MLS participants.

    The MLS does not verify the information provided and disclaims any responsibility for its accuracy. All data is preliminary and subject to change. Monthly sales figures reported since November 1998 includes a statistical estimation to account for late entries. Twelve-month totals may vary from actual end-of-year figures. (Single-family detached homes were broken out separately in monthly figures beginning February 1988.)

    Founded in 1918, the Houston Association of Realtors® (HAR) is a 27,000-member organization of real estate professionals engaged in every aspect of the industry, including residential and commercial sales and leasing, appraisal, property management and counseling. It is the largest individual membership trade association in Houston, as well as the second largest local association/board of Realtors® in the United States.

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