Mid-range housing sees sales gains; overall market is ahead year-to-date
Despite continued strains in the oil patch, the Houston real estate market demonstrated more sustainable conditions in March, with positive sales among mid-range homes and a growing supply of homes from which buyers can choose.
According to the latest monthly report prepared by the Houston Association of REALTORS® (HAR), March single-family home sales declined 2.2 percent versus March 2015, with a total of 6,001 sales compared to 6,137 a year earlier. On a year-to-date basis, however, home sales are 1.0 percent ahead of last year’s pace. New listings helped boost inventory from a 2.8-months supply to 3.6 months.
“Overall home sales held steady throughout March, and much of that may be due to an influx of new residents throughout the Houston area even as the energy industry suffered more layoffs,” said HAR Chairman Mario Arriaga with First Group. “Positive home sales in the $150,000 to $250,000 price range and increasing housing inventory suggest that we are in a more sustainable market.”
In its April 2016 report on the Houston economy, the Greater Houston Partnership (GHP) cited U.S. Census Bureau data showing the Houston metropolitan area leading the nation in population growth in 2015, with the addition of over 159,000 new residents. GHP stated that since April 2010, Houston has added over 736,000 residents and that energy industry layoffs have been offset by job creation in other sectors.
Home prices showed mixed readings in March. The single-family home average price declined 1.6 percent to $272,658. The median price—the figure at which half of the homes sold for more and half sold for less—rose 2.4 percent to $215,000, the highest price ever for a March.
March sales of all property types in Houston totaled 7,375, down 1.0 percent from the same month last year. Total dollar volume for properties sold in March fell 2.5 percent to $1.9 billion.
March Monthly Market Comparison
Houston’s monthly housing market measurements were mixed in March compared to those from a year earlier, but still demonstrate what are considered more sustainable market conditions. On a year-over-year basis, single-family homes sales, average price, total dollar volume were down while inventory levels grew and the median sales price rose to a March high.
Month-end pending sales for single-family homes totaled 8,018, an increase of 4.9 percent compared to last year. Total active listings, or the total number of available properties, at the end of March shot up 21.0 percent from March 2015 to 34,504.
An increase in new listings in March gave single-family homes inventory a boost, with levels climbing from a 2.8-months supply to 3.6 months. For perspective, the national supply of homes reported by the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) currently stands at 4.4 months.
Single-Family Homes Update
Single-family home sales totaled 6,001 in March, a decrease of 2.2 percent from March 2015.
The average price dropped 1.6 percent to $272,658, while the median price rose 2.4 percent $215,000, a record high for a March in Houston. Days on Market (DOM), or the number of days it took the average home to sell, edged up to 58 days versus 54 in 2015.
Broken out by housing segment, March sales performed as follows:
- $1 – $79,999: decreased 19.8 percent
- $80,000 – $149,999: decreased 17.4 percent
- $150,000 – $249,999: increased 8.1 percent
- $250,000 – $499,999: decreased 2.5 percent
- $500,000 and above: decreased 12.4 percent
HAR also breaks out the sales figures for existing single-family homes. Existing home sales totaled 5,066 in March, down 1.0 percent versus the same month last year. The average sales price fell 2.7 percent year-over-year to $254,012 while the median sales price climbed 2.9 percent to $198,000.
Sales of townhouses and condominiums rose 1.9 percent in March coming off of last month’s year-over-year decline of 10.5 percent. A total of 589 units sold compared to 578 properties in March 2015. The average price declined 2.0 percent to $193,483 while the median price rose 4.9 percent to $150,000. Inventory grew from a 2.6-months supply to 3.5 months.
Lease Property Update
Demand for single-family lease homes remained strong in March, climbing 9.0 percent, while townhomes/condominiums saw demand increase by 7.4 percent. The average rent for single-family homes edged up 0.6 percent to $1,736 while the average rent for townhomes/condominiums rose 1.7 percent to $1,596.
Houston Real Estate Highlights in March
- Single-family home sales declined 2.2 percent compared to last March;
- On a year-to-date basis, single-family home sales are up 1.0 percent;
- Total property sales declined 1.0 percent to 7,375 units;
- Total dollar volume fell 2.5 percent to $1.9 billion;
- At 272,658, the single-family home average price was down 1.6 percent compared to last March;
- The single-family home median price rose 2.4 percent year-over-year to an all-time March high of $215,000;
- Single-family homes months of inventory climbed to a 3.6-months supply versus 2.8 months a year earlier;
- Townhomes/condominium sales rose 1.9 percent with the average price down 2.0 percent to $193,483 and the median price up 4.9 percent to $150,000;
- Leases of single-family homes climbed 9.0 percent with rents up a fractional 0.6 percent to $1,736;
- Leases of townhomes/condominiums rose 7.4 percent with rents up 1.7 percent to $1,596.