Houston Home Sales Show Continued Strengthening in June

Median price of a single-family home reaches all-time high
(Source: HAR.com)

HOUSTON — (July 21, 2009) — Sales of single-family homes for the greater Houston area continued to improve in June, with the highest volume recorded since August 2008 and the highest median price in history. This comes despite a year-over-year decline in overall property sales of 15.0 percent and 13.5 percent for single-family homes, according to new monthly data compiled by the Houston Association of REALTORS® (HAR).

At $164,500, the June single-family home median price – the figure at which half of the homes sold for more and half sold for less – rose 2.8 percent from one year earlier to reach an all-time high. The average price of a single-family home in Houston dipped 2.4 percent last month to $221,783 compared to June 2008. That represents the highest average price since August 2008.

Foreclosure property sales showed further decline, as they have each month this year, making up 16.8 percent of all single-family home sales in the Houston area in June. That compares to 34.0 percent in January, 28.0 percent in February, 24.5 percent in March, 23.6 percent in April and 19.9 percent in May. The median price of June foreclosure sales reported in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) fell 3.0 percent from $90,000 to $87,000 on a year-over-year basis.

Sales of all property types in Houston for June totaled 6,306, off 15.0 percent compared to June 2008. Total dollar volume for properties sold during the month was $1.3 billion versus $1.6 billion one year earlier, an 18.3 percent decline.

Demand for rental properties eased slightly in June, possibly reflecting a growing readiness among renters to purchase a home. Leases of single-family homes edged up 3.2 percent and leases of townhouses and condominiums rose 8.7 percent on a year-over-year basis.

“The Houston real estate market has shown incremental improvement each month this year, both in terms of sales volume and the pricing stability that others around the country envy,” said Vicki Fullerton, HAR chair and broker of record at RE/MAX of The Woodlands & Spring. “Seasonal spring home buying, particularly among first-time buyers who are taking advantage of the government’s $8,000 tax credit and historically low interest rates, accounts for much of the June sales activity and, naturally, we hope that continues through the summer months and beyond.”

June Monthly Market Comparison
The month of June brought Houston’s overall housing market mixed results when all listing categories are compared to June of 2008. Total property sales, total dollar volume and average single-family home sales prices fell on a year-over-year basis while median single-family home sales prices rose to an historic high.

The number of available properties, or active listings, at the end of June fell 14.5 percent from June 2008 to 45,989. That is 707 more active listings than one month earlier, in May 2009, and continues to reflect balanced housing inventory levels.

Month-end pending sales—those listings expected to close within the next 30 days—totaled 3,896, which was 12.6 percent lower than last year and portends another decline in sales when July’s numbers are tallied. The month’s inventory of single-family homes for June came in at 6.4 months, down from 6.7 months one year earlier. The national month’s inventory of single-family homes fell slightly to 9.6 months, according to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR).

Total property sales 7,418 6,306 -15.0%
Total dollar volume $1,644,522,286 $1,344,025,973 -18.3%
Average single-family sales price $227,340 $221,783 -2.4%
Median single-family sales price $160,050 $164,500 2.8%
Total active listings 53,792 45,989 -14.5%
Total pending sales 4,456 3,896 -12.6%
Months inventory* 6.7 6.4 -4.2%

* 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 $164,500, the median sales price for single-family homes reached its highest level ever, rising 2.8 percent from June 2008, when it was $160,050. The national single-family median price reported by NAR is $173,000, illustrating the continued higher value and lower cost of living that the Houston market offers consumers. The average price of single-family homes in June was $221,783, down 2.4 percent from one year earlier.

June sales of single-family homes in Houston totaled 5,422, down 13.5 percent from June 2008, and accounted for the 22nd consecutive monthly drop. However, that volume is the highest since August 2008. Year-over-year sales of single-family homes priced at $80,000 and below declined 7.2 percent in June, reflecting tapering transactions involving distressed properties.

HAR also reports existing home statistics for the single-family home segment of the real estate market. In June 2009, existing single-family home sales totaled 4,685, a 10.4 percent decrease from June 2008. At $156,000, the median sales price for existing homes in the Houston area rose 2.3 percent compared to last year. The average sales price of $208,036 for the month was down 1.1 percent from one year earlier.

Townhouse/Condo Update

The number of townhouses and condominiums sold in June fell compared to one year earlier. In the greater Houston area, 502 units were sold last month versus 653 properties in June 2008, translating to a 23.1 percent decrease in year-over-year sales. However, that still represents the highest sales volume since August 2008.

The median price of a townhouse/condominium rose to the second highest level ever— $144,500, up 6.3 percent from one year earlier. The average price declined 4.0 percent to $171,007 from June 2008 to June 2009.

Lease Property Update

Demand for single-family rentals eased slightly in June. Single-family home rentals rose 3.2 percent last month compared to a year earlier. Year-over-year townhouse/condominium rentals rose 8.7 percent.

Houston Real Estate Milestones in June

  • At $164,500, the median price of a single-family home reached a record high;
  • At $221,783, the average price of a single-family home rose to its highest level since August 2008;
  • At $144,500, the median price of a townhouse/condominium was the second highest level ever;
  • Volume of single-family home sales reached the highest level since August 2008;
  • Volume of townhouse/condominium sales reached the highest level since August 2008;
  • Single-family home rentals rose 3.2 percent while rentals of townhouse and condominium units increased 8.7 percent;
  • Month’s inventory of single-family homes dipped from 6.7 to 6.4 months compared to the national average of 9.6 months;
  • Active listings fell 14.5 percent, representing a generally balanced supply of housing inventory.