The post-Harvey rebound continues despite constrained inventory

Home buyers and renters propelled Houston’s post-Hurricane Harvey real estate market into positive territory for a third straight month in November, even as the supply of homes remained constrained.

Single-family home sales rose 7.4 percent year-over-year, according to the latest monthly report from the Houston Association of REALTORS® (HAR). All segments of the housing market registered gains except for homes priced between $100,000 and $150,000 and those priced at $750,000 and above. On a year-to-date basis, home sales are 3.3 percent ahead of 2016’s volume, even as some storm-damaged properties continue to undergo reconstruction and renovation for their eventual return to the market.

Housing inventory edged up from a 3.6-months supply in November 2016 to 3.7 months this November. As HAR has noted in previous reports, that is down from the 4.3-months peak reached in the weeks immediately preceding Harvey.

The single-family home median price (the figure at which half of the homes sold for more and half sold for less) rose a fractional 0.3 percent to $225,725. The average price increased 0.9 percent to $284,250. Both figures represent record highs for a November.

“November was definitely a month for giving thanks as the Houston real estate market continued its post-Harvey comeback, however the challenge remains meeting consumer demand with inventory levels that are very low,” said HAR Chair Cindy Hamann with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Anderson Properties. “The key to boosting supply will be restoring salvageable homes to sellable condition and ramping up new construction, both of which we want to see sooner than later.”

November sales of all property types in Houston totaled 7,270, an increase of 4.9 percent versus the same month last year. Total dollar volume climbed 8.4 percent to $2.0 billion.

Lease Property Update
Demand for lease properties across the Houston area remained strong in November as consumers that were unable to find for-sale homes turned to the alternative. Single-family home leases rose 6.8 percent while townhome/condominium leases surged 20.1 percent. The average rent for single-family homes was up 2.1 percent to $1,763 while the average rent for townhomes/condominiums dipped 0.5 percent to $1,498.

November Monthly Market Comparison
Houston’s monthly housing market indicators yielded across-the-board gains in November, with single-family home sales, total property sales, median and average pricing and total dollar volume all up compared to November 2016.

Month-end pending sales for single-family homes totaled 6,218, up 17.6 percent versus last year. Total active listings, or the total number of available properties, increased 4.4 percent from November 2016 to 37,914.

Single-family homes inventory edged up from a 3.6-months supply to 3.7 months, but is down from a pre-Harvey (July-August) peak of 4.3-months that shrank as demand for undamaged and repaired homes began outpacing supply. For perspective, housing inventory across the U.S. currently stands at a 3.9-months supply, according to the latest report from the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR).

Single-Family Homes Update
Single-family home sales totaled 6,184, extending a post-Harvey rebound for the third consecutive month. That is up 7.4 percent from November 2016 when sales volume was 5,758. On a year-to-date basis, home sales are 3.3 percent ahead of the 2016 volume.

Prices reached the highest levels ever for a November in Houston. The median price eked out a fractional 0.3 percent increase to $225,725. The average price rose 0.9 percent to $284,250.

Days on Market (DOM), or the number of days it took the average home to sell, increased from 57 days in November 2016 to 61 days this November. Inventory rose slightly from a 3.6-months supply to 3.7 months year-over-year, but was down from a pre-hurricane level of 4.3 months.

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

  • $1 – $99,999: increased 23.0 percent
  • $100,000 – $149,999: decreased 15.4 percent
  • $150,000 – $249,999: increased 14.3 percent
  • $250,000 – $499,999: increased 9.9 percent
  • $500,000 – $749,999: increased 12.6 percent
  • $750,000 and above: decreased 3.9 percent

HAR also breaks out the sales figures for existing single-family homes. Existing home sales totaled 5,072 in November, up 8.4 percent versus the same month last year. The average sales price increased 2.8 percent to $270,584 while the median sales price rose 3.9 percent to $213,000.

Townhouse/Condominium Update
The townhome and condominium market is still trying to find its post-Harvey footing with a total of 483 units sold, marking a year-over-year decline of 3.0 percent. The average price fell 5.4 percent to $196,546 while the median price dropped 3.2 percent to $158,100. Inventory expanded from a 3.7-months supply to 3.8 months, but is down from its pre-Harvey peak of 4.5 months.

Houston Real Estate Highlights in November

  • Single-family home sales continued their post-Hurricane Harvey comeback as volume rose 7.4 percent year-over-year with 6,184 units sold;
  • Single-family home sales remain 3.3 percent ahead of 2016’s year-to-date volume;
  • Days on Market (DOM) for single-family homes increased from 57 days in November 2016 to 61 days this November;
  • Total property sales increased 4.9 percent with 7,270 units sold;
  • Total dollar volume jumped 8.4 percent to $2.0 billion;
  • The single-family home median price rose a fractional 0.3 percent to $225,725, which represents a November high;
  • The single-family home average price increased 0.9 percent to $284,250, also the highest level for a November;
  • Single-family homes months of inventory grew year-over-year to a 3.7-months supply, but is down from a 4.3-months pre-Harvey peak – the result of a surge in consumer demand for housing;
  • Townhome/condominium sales fell 3.0 percent, with the average price down 5.4 percent to $196,546 and the median price down 3.2 percent to $158,100;
    Leases of single-family homes rose 6.8 percent with the average rent up 2.1 percent to $1,763;
  • Volume of townhome/condominium leases jumped 20.1 percent with average rent down 0.5 percent to $1,498.