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Homebuyer Tax Credit Pushes Houston Single-Family Home Sales Up for a Second Consecutive Month in April

Homebuyer Tax Credit Pushes Houston Single-Family Home Sales Up for a Second Consecutive Month in April

Sales of single-family homes across the greater Houston area rose for a second straight month in April, apparently buoyed by transactions incentivized by the federal government’s homebuyer tax credit that expired on April 30. Prices of single-family homes also maintained their months-long appreciation.

April sales of single-family homes across the Houston market climbed 26.7 percent compared to April 2009, according to the latest monthly data compiled by the Houston Association of REALTORS® (HAR). Sales volume soared in all single-family home pricing segments except the under-$80,000 market, which was flat. The largest increase took place among homes priced from $500,000 and above. Sales of all property types combined rose 26.7 percent in April on a year-over-year basis.

The average price of a single-family home appreciated for the seventh straight month, reaching $206,414, up 6.8 percent versus April 2009. That represents the highest pricing level for an April in Houston. At $153,500, the April single-family home median price-the figure at which half of the homes sold for more and half sold for less-rose 2.4 percent from one year earlier. That represents the 12th consecutive monthly increase in median price and is the highest dollar figure for an April in Houston.

Foreclosure property sales reported in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) increased 3.9 percent in April compared to one year earlier. The median price of April foreclosure sales rose 8.4 percent to $90,000 on a year-over-year basis.

Sales of all property types in Houston for April totaled 6,200, up 26.7 percent compared to April 2009. Total dollar volume for properties sold during the month was $1.2 billion versus $915 million one year earlier, representing a 34.8 percent increase.

“The Houston real estate market seems to have truly benefited from homebuyers who acted by April 30 to take advantage of the tax credit as well as low mortgage interest rates,” said Margie Dorrance, HAR chair and principal at Keller Williams Realty Metropolitan. “Seasonality also served our market well, as the spring and summer months are traditionally when most real estate transactions take place.”

April Monthly Market Comparison
The month of April brought Houston’s overall housing market positive results when all listing categories are compared to April of 2009. Total property sales, total dollar volume and both median and average single-family home sales prices all increased on a year-over-year basis.

The number of available properties, or active listings, at the end of April rose 8.0 percent from April 2009 to 48,869. That represents 161 fewer active listings than one month earlier, in March 2010, and is considered a reflection of increased activity stemming from the homebuyer tax credit.

Month-end pending sales for April-those listings expected to close within the next 30 days-totaled 4,613, up 25.2 percent from last year. The months inventory of single-family homes for April extended slightly to 6.5 months compared to 6.0 months one year earlier, but remains better than the national months inventory of single-family homes of 8.0 months, reported by the National Association of REALTORS®(NAR).

Single-Family Homes Update
April sales of single-family homes in Houston totaled 5,321, up 26.7 percent from April 2009. This marks the second consecutive month of increased sales activity. Broken out by segment, April sales of homes priced between $80,000 and $150,000 rose 31.4 percent; those in the $150,000 to $250,000 range climbed 30.3 percent; and those priced between $250,000 and $500,000 were up 30.6 percent. Sales of luxury homes-those priced from $500,000 to the millions-rocketed 53.4 percent. April sales of homes in the below-$80,000 segment were flat compared to one year earlier.

Heightened sales activity in the higher end of the housing market drove pricing up again in April. At $153,500, the median sales price for single-family homes rose for the 12th consecutive month, up 2.4 percent from April 2009. The national single-family median price reported by NAR is $170,700, illustrating the continued higher value and lower cost of living that consumers enjoy in the Houston market. The average price of single-family homes in April was $206,414, an increase of 6.8 percent from one year earlier. That represents the seventh straight monthly jump in the average price. Both median and average pricing reached the highest levels ever recorded for an April in Houston.

HAR also breaks out the sales performance of existing single-family homes throughout the Houston market. In April 2010, existing home sales totaled 4,526, a 30.0 percent increase from April 2009. The median sales price rose 4.3 percent to $145,000 compared to last year. The average sales price of $192,930 increased 8.9 percent from its April 2009 level.

Townhouse/Condominium Update
The number of townhouses and condominiums that sold in April jumped 25.7 percent compared to one year earlier. In the greater Houston area, 480 units were sold last month versus 382 properties in April 2009.

The median price of a townhouse/condominium slid 1.1 percent year-over-year to $132,500. The average price dipped 1.7 percent to at $162,529 from April 2009 to April 2010.

Lease Property Update
Demand for single-family home rentals rose 13.6 percent in April compared to a year earlier. Year-over-year townhouse/condominium rentals jumped 34.2 percent.

Houston Real Estate Milestones in April

  • Single-family home sales rose 26.7 percent;
  • Total property sales increased 26.7 percent;
  • The average price of a single-family home appreciated for a seventh straight month by 6.8 percent to $206,414-the highest pricing level for an April in Houston;
  • The median price of a single-family home rose for the 12th consecutive month, by 2.4 percent, to $153,500-the highest dollar figure for an April in Houston;
  • 6.5 months inventory of single-family homes compares favorably to the national average of 8.0 months;
  • Townhouse/condominium sales increased 25.7 percent;
  • Total dollar volume climbed 34.8 percent, reaching $1.2 billion.

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