Houston Real Estate Market – Single-Family – January 2009

February 11, 2009

Houston residential real estate now has the lowest inventory of single-family homes on the market since January 2004. In comparison to January 2008, Houston has seen a 20% drop in overall number of homes on the market and a 26% drop in new listings taken. New listings taken in January were the lowest ever taken since January 2002. This is good news amid a nationwide overabundance of homes on the market and an economic stimulus plan targeted at mitigating the rising tide of inventory. Houston never experienced a bubble and its’ economy is one of the strongest in the nation;

You couldn’t be in a better City for selling real estate than Houston Texas. TX A&M Research Center Data 1/12/09
More than 2 million jobs were lost between Nov 2007 – Nov 2008 in the Nation; representing 1.2 % of its labor force. The Texas economy gained 222,900 jobs during the same time period; an increase in labor force of 2.1%. Real Estate Center RECON 1/13/09
Houston has the strongest job market in the US. Metrostudy, Jan. 12, 2009
Texas has the strongest job market by State in the US exceeding the nearest competition by 1000%. MetroStudy, Jan. 2009.
Houston’s inventory of homes is 5-6 months on average. This is the lowest average days on market in the US. TX A&M Research Center Data 1/13/09
“We are half way through our recession in Texas. It started out last Jan. 2008.” Dr. Dotzour, TX A&M Research Center 1/13/2009
Houston has the most affordable median home price of any MSA.
TX A&M Research Center Data 1/12/09

Despite the good news amidst the bleak national economic scene, Houston got off to a slow start in January.

There were 2,827 single-family home sales, a figure 23% below January 2008.
Dollar volume for the month was $466,234,494, a 33% decline over last year.
Contracts initiated during January 2009 experienced 2,774 units or a 23% decline over last year.
The median sales price of sold homes in January 2008 was $127,850, representing an 8% decline over January 2008.
The average sales price was $164,922, or 13% lower than found in January 2008.
Home prices in Houston are not depreciating, there is simply a different demand in home prices classes.

Last year, million dollar home sales in January were up by 58% over the previous year and anything over $600,000 experienced double-digit increases. This year, those same home price classes have experienced double-digit declines as high as 61% for $600,000-$699,999 and homes over $1 million experienced a 57% decline over January 2008. This change in price class demand directly affects the average sales price overall. This year price classes under $60,000 are in positive territory whereas all others experienced a decline over January 2008.

What home price classes experienced the highest demand by number of sales in January 2008?

# OF SALES 01/09
2 $120,000-$129,999/182
3 $100,000-$109,999/163
4 $250,000-$299,999/156
5 $90,000-$99,999/153
6 $80,000-$89,999/148
7 $70,000-$79,999/145
8 $300,000-$399,999/143
9 $130,000-$139,999/134
10 $60,000-$69,999/128
11 $140,000-$149,999/124

It is interesting to note all price classes in the table above that are over $80,000 were in double digit decline last year. In short, Houston has experienced an aberration in sales by price class over the last few years. We see buyer demand returning to atypical price classes seen during normal Houston markets.
While normal is not as much fun as exuberance, any Houstonian gladly accepts our market as it is because it is currently the best that it gets.

Opportunities are ripe for Houston real estate. Houston does not need an economic stimulus package to stop home price depreciation or to absorb excess inventory, but Houston will benefit from national stimulus programs designed to do so. The biggest boost residential real estate could receive would be a boost in confidence and certainty about the future economy