Homes at $250K and up record strongest sales; inventory grows slightly

The Houston real estate market held to positive territory for the second month of 2017, with single-family home sales and pricing both climbing in February. Homes priced at $250,000 and above saw the strongest sales volume, and the luxury market ($750,000 and above) enjoyed a fourth consecutive month of positive sales.

According to the latest monthly report prepared by the Houston Association of REALTORS® (HAR), a total of 4,933 single-family homes sold in February compared to 4,743 a year earlier. That represents a 4.0 percent increase. Housing inventory grew slightly from a 3.4-months supply to 3.5 months.

“Home buyers were busy throughout the Houston area in February, accounting for particularly strong activity among single-family homes priced at $250,000 and above, as well as in the townhome/condominium market,” noted HAR Chair Cindy Hamann with Heritage Texas Properties.

“We need housing inventory to grow a bit more than it has, but we still believe the Houston real estate market is experiencing sustainable sales levels as we wrap up the first quarter of the year.”

The single-family home median price (the figure at which half of the homes sold for more and half sold for less) jumped 7.3 percent to $220,000. That marks the highest median price ever for a February. The average price rose 6.7 percent to $280,175, which also represents a February high.

February sales of all property types in Houston totaled 6,111, up 7.1 percent from the same month last year. Total dollar volume for properties sold in February shot up 13.1 percent to $1.6 billion.

February Monthly Market Comparison
Houston real estate recorded gains in all statistical indicators during the month of February, with single-family home sales, total property sales, total dollar volume and pricing all up compared to February 2016.

Month-end pending sales for single-family homes totaled 6,908, an increase of 13.1 percent compared to last year. Total active listings, or the total number of available properties, rose 7.6 percent from February 2016 to 35,685.

Single-family homes inventory inched up from a 3.4-months supply to 3.5 months. For perspective, housing inventory across the U.S. currently stands at a 3.6-months supply, according to the latest report from the National Association of REALTORS®(NAR).

Single-Family Homes Update
Single-family home sales totaled 4,933, up 4.0 percent from February 2016, when sales volume totaled 4,743. The median price rose 7.3 percent to a February high of $220,000. The average price climbed 6.7 percent to $280,175, also a record high for a February. Days on Market (DOM), or the number of days it took the average home to sell, edged up to 66 days versus 63 last year.

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

  • $1 – $99,999: decreased 21.0 percent
  • $100,000 – $149,999: decreased 15.8 percent
  • $150,000 – $249,999: increased 9.4 percent
  • $250,000 – $499,999: increased 21.1 percent
  • $500,000 – $749,999: increased 19.8 percent
  • $750,000 and above: increased 27.9 percent

HAR also breaks out the sales figures for existing single-family homes. Existing home sales totaled 4,063 in February, up 4.9 percent versus the same month last year. The average sales price jumped 10.4 percent to $262,969 while the median sales price rose 9.7 percent to $203,000.

Townhouse/Condominium Update
Townhome and condominium sales soared in February, with 486 units selling versus 415 a year earlier. That represents an increase of 17.1 percent. The average price rose 0.8 percent to $204,397, while the median price jumped 8.0 percent to $162,000. Inventory grew from a 3.3-months supply to 3.8 months.

Lease Property Update
The lease market had a positive overall showing in February. Single-family home leases climbed 8.5 percent while townhome/condominium leases were flat. The average rent for single-family homes declined 2.1 percent to $1,652, while the average rent for townhomes/condominiums dropped 3.5 percent to $1,478.

Houston Real Estate Highlights in February

  • Single-family home sales rose 4.0 percent with 4,933 units sold, the second monthly gain of 2017;
  • Total property sales increased 7.1 percent with 6,111 units sold;
  • Total dollar volume jumped 13.1 percent to $1.6 billion;
  • At $220,000, the single-family home median price rose 7.3 percent to a February high;
  • The single-family home average price climbed 6.7 percent to $280,175, which was also the highest level for a February;
  • Single-family homes months of inventory edged up to a 3.5-months supply;
  • Townhome/condominium sales shot up 17.1 percent, with the average price up 0.8 percent to $204,397 and the median price up 8.0 percent to $162,000;
  • Leases of single-family homes rose 8.5 percent with average rent down 2.1 percent to $1,652;
  • Volume of townhome/condominium leases was unchanged with average rent down 3.5 percent to $1,478.