July marks the 14th consecutive month of positive home sales,  with housing inventory at a five-year low

Local home buying remained hot in July as real estate consumers accounted for the 14th straight month of positive sales and the steepest one-month sales gain in nearly a year.

Single-family home sales soared 27.0 percent compared to July 2011, according to the latest monthly data prepared by the Houston Association of REALTORS® (HAR). The robust sales activity is keeping local housing inventory at its lowest level in more than five years.

“July was another very healthy month for the Houston real estate market with strong sales across all housing segments, from lower-priced homes to luxury homes,” said Wayne A. Stroman, HAR chairman and CEO of Stroman Realty. “Sales volume isn’t achieving the record levels we experienced in 2006, before the recession, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a market performing as well as Houston, even as the national housing recovery continues. Houston’s steady employment growth remains a key driver.”

Both average and median prices were up in July. The single-family home average price increased 3.7 percent year-over-year to $231,484, the highest level for a July in Houston and the third highest price of all time. The median price—the figure at which half of the homes sold for more and half sold for less—rose 6.3 percent to $170,000, matching June’s revised record high (originally reported as $171,000).

Foreclosure property sales reported in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) were flat compared to July 2011. Foreclosures comprised 16.3 percent of all property sales, a share that has continued to slide since the 27.8 percent level high recorded in January. The median price of July foreclosures declined 4.5 percent to $80,199.

July sales of all property types in Houston totaled 7,363, a 24.6 percent increase compared to July 2011. Total dollar volume for properties sold during the month rocketed 29.9 percent to $1.6 billion versus $1.3 billion a year earlier.

July Monthly Market Comparison
July brought Houston’s overall housing market positive results when all sales categories are compared to July 2011. On a year-over-year basis, total property sales, total dollar volume and average and median pricing all rose.

Month-end pending sales for July totaled 4,079. That is up 11.5 percent from last year and indicates the likelihood of another month of positive sales when the August real estate transactions are totaled. Active listings, or the number of available properties, at the end of July declined 16.3 percent from July 2011 to 41,860.


After holding at 5.5 months through May and June, the inventory of single-family homes dipped to 5.3 months in July, which is the lowest level the Houston market has observed since February 2007. In July 2011, inventory was 7.6 months. It has remained below a six-month supply since December 2011. The 5.3-month figure compares favorably to the national inventory of single-family homes of 6.6 months recently reported by the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR).

Single-Family Homes Update
July sales of single-family homes in Houston totaled 6,324, up 27.0 percent from June 2011. That marks the 14th straight monthly increase and represents the largest one-month jump in single-family home sales since August 2011.

Broken out by housing segment, July sales rose across the board, as follows:

  • $1 – $79,999: increased 15.7 percent
  • $80,000 – $149,999: increased 15.0 percent
  • $150,000 – $249,999: increased 32.6 percent
  • $250,000 – $499,999: increased 40.5 percent
  • $500,000 – $1 million and above: increased 21.5 percent

The average price of a single-family home rose 3.7 percent from last July to $231,484, the highest level for a July in Houston and the third highest price of all time. The highest and second highest average prices were recorded in June and May of this year, respectively. At $170,000, the median sales price for single-family homes increased 6.3 percent year-over-year, matching the record high achieved in June 2012, which has been revised from the $171,000 initially reported.

HAR also breaks out the sales performance of existing single-family homes throughout the Houston market. In July 2012, existing home sales totaled 5,478, a 28.8 percent increase from July 2011. The average sales price rose 4.1 percent year-over-year to $220,945, following June 2012’s record high of $226,389. The median sales price increased 6.7 percent to $160,000, slightly below the record median price of $161,710 achieved in June of this year.

Townhouse/Condominium Update
July sales of townhouses and condominiums rose 17.8 percent from one year earlier. A total of 536 units sold last month versus 455 properties in July 2011. The average price rose 6.3 percent to $165,747 while the median price increased 9.8 percent to $131,750. Months inventory fell 31.1 percent year-over-year to 6.0 months compared to 8.7 months in July 2011.

Lease Property Update
Houston’s lease property market saw mixed activity in July. Rentals of single-family homes climbed 15.0 percent compared to July 2011 while year-over-year townhouse/condominium rentals declined 2.8 percent. The average rent among single-family lease homes reached a new all-time high of $1,669 in July, up from $1,642 last month. The average rent among leased townhouses/condominiums declined to $1,388 from the record high of $1,410, also reached last month.

Houston Real Estate Milestones in July

  • Single-family home sales rose 27.0 percent year-over-year, accounting for the market’s 14th consecutive monthly increase. That marks the steepest one-month sales volume gain since August 2011;
  • At $231,484, the single-family home average price reached the highest level for a July in Houston;
  • At $170,000, the single-family home median price matched the historic high first achieved in June 2012;
  • 5.3 months inventory of single-family homes remains at the lowest level in more than five years and compares favorably to the national average of 6.6 months.
  • Sales of townhouses/condominiums climbed 17.8 percent year-over-year;
  • Single-family home rentals rose 15.0 percent compared to July 2011;
  • The average rent among single-family lease homes reached an all-time high of $1,669.