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The Houston Real Estate Market Enters Autumn on Steady Footing

Home sales volume keeps pace with 2015 while pricing achieves October highs

Despite continued strains within the energy industry and jitters surrounding the outcome of the presidential election, the Houston housing market held steady for a second straight month. Home sales in October were statistically unchanged compared to October 2015. Homes priced between $150,000 and $500,000 experienced positive sales volume while the market’s high and low ends saw declines, mirroring September’s trends. Both median and average price reached record highs for an October.

According to the latest monthly report prepared by the Houston Association of Realtors® (HAR), a total of 5,916 single-family homes sold in October compared to 5,893 a year earlier. On a year-to-date basis, home sales are up 1.2 percent compared to this point in 2015. Inventory levels grew slightly from a 3.5-months supply to 3.8 months.

“The Houston housing market continues to demonstrate its strength by holding steady in the midst of a weakened energy sector and uncertainty about the presidential election,” said HAR Chairman Mario Arriaga with First Group. “Even without those influences, autumn traditionally marks a period of slower sales, so we are extremely pleased to see the market keeping pace with last year’s record levels.”

The single-family home median price—the figure at which half of the homes sold for more and half sold for less—rose 6.3 percent to $218,000 That marks the highest median price ever for an October. The average price increased 2.2 percent to $277,904, which also represents an October high.

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October sales of all property types in Houston totaled 7,120, up a fractional 0.7 percent from the same month last year. Total dollar volume for properties sold in October rose 1.4 percent to $1.9 billion.

October Monthly Market Comparison
Houston’s monthly housing market indicators yielded positive readings compared to October 2015. On a year-over-year basis, single-family homes sales were statistically unchanged, total property sales rose fractionally, total dollar volume grew, and both the median and average home prices climbed to record October highs.

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Month-end pending sales for single-family homes totaled 6,589, an increase of 16.4 percent compared to last year. Total active listings, or the total number of available properties rose 9.2 percent from October 2015 to 37,111.

Single-family homes inventory edged up from a 3.5-months supply to 3.8 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 5,916, up 0.4 percent (considered statistically flat) from October 2015. The median price rose 6.3 percent to an October high of $218,000. The average price climbed 2.2 percent to $277,904, also a record high for an October. Days on Market (DOM), or the number of days it took the average home to sell, edged up to 55 days versus 53 last year.

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

  • $1 – $79,999: decreased 24.7 percent
  • $80,000 – $149,999: decreased 23.7 percent
  • $150,000 – $249,999: increased 12.0 percent
  • $250,000 – $499,999: increased 9.5 percent
  • $500,000 and above: decreased 2.0 percent

HAR also breaks out the sales figures for existing single-family homes. Existing home sales totaled 4,963 in October, down 1.4 percent versus the same month last year. The average sales price rose 2.6 percent to $259,534 while the median sales price increased 7.7 percent to $202,800.

Townhouse/Condominium Update
Townhome and condominium sales were flat in October, with 517 units selling in versus 515 a year earlier. The average price was unchanged at $197,558, while the median price jumped 4.7 percent to $157,000. Inventory grew from a 3.3-months supply to 3.7 months.

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Lease Property Update
The lease market cooled in October. Single-family home leases declined 1.0 percent, while townhome/condominium leases dropped 2.3 percent. The average rent for single-family homes was up 1.2 percent to $1,728, while the average rent for townhomes/condominiums was down 2.1 percent to $1,488.

Houston Real Estate Highlights in October

  • Single-family home sales were statistically unchanged with 5,916 units sold;
  • On a year-to-date basis, single-family home sales were up 1.2 percent;
  • Total property sales rose 0.7 percent to 7,120 units;
  • Total dollar volume increased 1.4 percent to $1.9 billion;
    At $218,000, the single-family home median price rose 6.3 percent to an October high;
  • The single-family home average price increased 2.2 percent to $277,904, which was also the highest level for an October;
  • Single-family homes months of inventory climbed to a 3.8-months supply;
  • Townhome/condominium sales were flat, with the average price unchanged at $197,558 and the median price up 4.7 percent to $157,000;
  • Leases of single-family homes declined 1.0 percent with average rent down slightly to $1,728;
  • Leases of townhomes/condominiums fell 2.3 percent with average rent down 2.1 percent to $1,488.

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