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The Houston Real Estate Market Maintains a Healthy Balance in April

Home sales are up year-to-date; mid-range housing remains the sweet spot

The Houston real estate market continues to display healthy equilibrium despite instability in the energy industry. Overall single-family home sales volume was virtually flat in April, however mid-range homes scored another month of positive sales and the supply of homes available for sale grew some more. The average price was down slightly while the median price rose to an all-time April high.

Single-family home sales declined a fractional 0.6 percent versus April 2015, with a total of 6,310 sales compared to 6,349 a year earlier, according to the latest monthly report prepared by the Houston Association of REALTORS® (HAR). On a year-to-date basis, home sales are 1.6 percent ahead of last year’s pace. New listings helped inventory grow from a 2.9-months supply to 3.6 months.

“There is little to complain about in the April HAR sales report, especially when you take into account the fact that we are comparing current home sales to the Houston housing market’s record 2015 performance,” said HAR Chairman Mario Arriaga with First Group. “Indicators continue to point to more sustainable market conditions, as mid-range homes sell well and consumers find that they have more homes from which to choose than they did at this time last year.”

Home prices delivered mixed readings in April. The single-family home average price declined 1.0 percent to $278,544. The median price—the figure at which half of the homes sold for more and half sold for less—rose 3.3 percent to $217,000, the highest price ever for an April.

April sales of all property types in Houston totaled 7,583, down 2.0 percent from the same month last year. Total dollar volume for properties sold in March declined 1.6 percent to $2.01 billion.

April Monthly Market Comparison
Houston’s housing market figures were mixed in April compared to those from a year earlier, but continue to support what are considered more sustainable market conditions. On a year-over-year basis, single-family homes sales, average price and total dollar volume were down slightly while inventory levels grew and the median sales price rose to an April record high.

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Month-end pending sales for single-family homes totaled 8,213, an increase of 2.3 percent compared to last year. Total active listings, or the total number of available properties, at the end of April climbed 16.7 percent from April 2015 to 34,402.

April’s increase in new listings gave single-family homes inventory a boost, with levels climbing from a 2.9-months supply to 3.6 months. For perspective, housing inventory across the U.S. currently stands at a 4.5-months supply, according to the latest report from the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR).

Single-Family Homes Update
Single-family home sales totaled 6,310 in April, down just 0.6 percent from April 2015.

The average price declined 1.0 percent to $278,544, while the median price rose 3.3 percent $217,000, a record high for an April in Houston. Days on Market (DOM), or the number of days it took the average home to sell, edged up to 55 days versus 51 in 2015.

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

  • $1 – $79,999: decreased 12.8 percent
  • $80,000 – $149,999: decreased 19.3 percent
  • $150,000 – $249,999: increased 7.8 percent
  • $250,000 – $499,999: increased 2.1 percent
  • $500,000 and above: decreased 15.7 percent

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HAR also breaks out the sales figures for existing single-family homes. Existing home sales totaled 5,428 in April, up 1.0 percent versus the same month last year. The average sales price fell 0.9 percent year-over-year to $260,019 while the median sales price rose 4.1 percent to $201,000.

Townhouse/Condominium Update
Sales of townhouses and condominiums tumbled 12.6 percent in April coming off of last month’s year-over-year increase of 4.7 percent. A total of 562 units sold compared to 643 properties in April 2015. The average price rose 4.1 percent to $206,832 while the median price climbed 7.3 percent to $153,450. Inventory grew from a 2.6-months supply to 3.4 months.

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Lease Property Update
Demand for lease properties was very strong in April. Rentals of single-family homes jumped 18.1 percent, while townhomes/condominiums saw demand soar 26.0 percent. The average rent for single-family homes rose 2.6 percent to $1,811 while the average rent for townhomes/condominiums declined 1.4 percent to $1,574.

Houston Real Estate Highlights in April

  • Single-family home sales declined a fractional 0.6 percent compared to last April;
  • On a year-to-date basis, single-family home sales are up 1.6 percent;
  • Total property sales declined 2.0 percent to 7,583 units;
  • Total dollar volume fell 1.6 percent to $2.01 billion;
  • At $278,544, the single-family home average price was down 1.0 percent compared to last April;
  • The single-family home median price rose 3.3 percent year-over-year to an all-time April high of $217,000;
  • Single-family homes months of inventory climbed to a 3.6-months supply versus 2.9 months a year earlier;
  • Townhome/condominium sales fell 12.6 percent with the average price up 4.1 percent to $206,832 and the median price up 7.3 percent to $153,450;
  • Leases of single-family homes leapt 18.1 percent with rents up 2.6 percent to $1,811;
  • Leases of townhomes/condominiums soared 26.0 percent with rents down 1.7 percent to $1,574.

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