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The Houston Real Estate Market Kicks Off 2015 With Gusto

Sales volume and prices climb while the supply of homes remains low

The Houston real estate market began 2015 much as it ended 2014 – with home sales and prices on the rise and housing inventory at historically low levels. The majority of January sales took place among homes priced between $250,000 and $500,000, with the pace of sales slowing significantly among homes priced above $500,000.

According to the latest monthly report prepared by the Houston Association of REALTORS® (HAR), single-family home sales totaled 4,032 units, an increase of 2.6 percent compared to January 2014. Months of inventory, the estimated time it would take to deplete the current active housing inventory based on the previous 12 months of sales, held steady at a 2.6-months supply versus last January. That is markedly lower than the current national supply of 4.4 months of inventory.

Home prices achieved record highs for a January. The average price of a single-family home jumped 7.3 percent year-over-year to $259,969. The median price—the figure at which half the homes sold for more and half for less—rose 7.3 percent to $190,000.

January sales of all property types totaled 4,874 units, a fractional 0.6-percent decrease compared to the same month last year. Total dollar volume for properties sold rose 5.9 percent to $1.2 billion versus $1.1 billion a year earlier.

“January was a strong month overall for the Houston housing market, but we still expect to see sales cool as a result of lower oil prices and the limited supply of homes,” said HAR Chair Nancy Furst with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Anderson Properties. “We’ve already started to see declining townhome and condominium sales. Coming off a record year, this normalization should give homebuilders an opportunity to create new inventory, with existing homes entering the market in the spring and summer months, which is traditionally the most popular time for owners to sell.”

January Monthly Market Comparison
The Houston real estate market experienced a leveling off in total property sales volume, but saw gains single-family home sales, total dollar volume and average and median pricing compared to January 2014.

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Month-end pending sales for all property types totaled 3,382. That is down 9.3 percent compared to last year and portends slower sales activity when the February numbers are tallied. Active listings, or the number of available properties, at the end of January was 26,556, down 5.9 percent from last year.

Houston’s housing inventory was unchanged in January, matching the 2.6-months supply of a year earlier. According to the National Association of REALTORS®, the current supply of homes for the U.S stands at a 4.4-months supply.

Single-Family Homes Update
January single-family home sales totaled 4,032, up 2.6 percent from January 2014.

Home prices reached record highs for a January in Houston. The single-family average price increased 7.3 percent from last year to $259,969 and the median price climbed 7.3 percent year-over-year to $190,000. The number of days it took a home to sell¬, or Days on Market, was 57 versus 65 last January. In July 2014, it fell to an historic low of 45 days.

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Broken out by housing segment, January sales performed as follows:

  • $1 – $79,999: decreased 20.4 percent
  • $80,000 – $149,999: decreased 11.2 percent
  • $150,000 – $249,999: increased 10.7 percent
  • $250,000 – $499,999: increased 14.9 percent
  • $500,000 and above: increased 3.2 percent

HAR also breaks out the sales figures for existing single-family homes. In January, existing home sales totaled 3,454. That is up 3.8 percent from the same month last year. The average sales price climbed 8.1 percent year-over-year to $242,220 while the median sales price rose 7.4 percent to $175,000.

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Townhouse/Condominium Update
Sales of townhouses and condominiums declined 21.8 percent in January versus one year earlier. A total of 337 units sold last month compared to 431 properties in January 2014. The average price rose 6.6 percent to $183,906 and the median price rose grew 5.4 percent to $141,000. Inventory edged up to a 2.5-months supply.

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Lease Property Update
Demand for lease properties was down in January. Single-family home rentals dipped 2.1 percent compared to January 2014, while year-over-year townhouse/condominium rentals fell 7.2 percent. The average rent for a single-family home was up 3.0 percent to $1,665 and the average rent for a townhouse/condominium rose 2.7 percent to $1,547.

Houston Real Estate Milestones in January

  • Single-family home sales rose 2.6 percent versus January 2014;
  • Total dollar volume increased 5.9 percent, from $1.1 billion to $1.2 billion on a year-over-year basis;
  • At $190,000, the single-family home median price achieved a record high for a January;
  • At $259,969, the single-family home average price also reached a January high;
  • Days on Market for single-family homes was 57 days.

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