An upswing in new listings and further pricing moderation bode well for homebuyers in the months ahead

January was an expectedly slow month for home sales across the Houston area coming out of the holidays and easing back into the more familiar pre-pandemic trending of the start of a new year. While sales were down, there were positive indicators for consumers considering reviving their homebuying quests this year, including more robust inventory and moderating prices.

According to the Houston Association of Realtors’ (HAR) January 2023 Market Update, single-family home sales fell 29.9 percent, with 4,549 units sold compared to 6,492 in January 2022. That marks the tenth consecutive monthly decline. However, when compared to the last January before the pandemic – January of 2020, with sales volume of 4,772 units – sales were down just 4.6 percent.

All housing segments experienced declines in January. By contrast, single-family home rentals had another solid gain, demonstrating that prospective buyers continue to pivot to the rental market until mortgage rates ease and other inflationary concerns dissipate. HAR will report on rental trends in the January 2023 Rental Home Update, to be released next Wednesday, February 15.

“January was a continuation of the slowdown that began last year with an onslaught of challenging economic conditions,” said HAR Chair Cathy Treviño with Side, Inc. “I think what’s happening now reflects more of a return to seasonal home sales trending – slower volume during the holidays and new year – than a market in distress. Certainly consumers want assurances that inflation is subsiding, so if mortgage rates stabilize and homes continue hitting the market at more affordable price points, we could expect an upswing in sales later this year.”

Single family home prices rose at the slowest pace since before the pandemic. The average price increased just 1.5 percent to $381,983. The median price rose just 1.6 percent to $315,000. Those are the lowest price increases since October 2019.

January Monthly Market Comparison

January became the tenth consecutive month of negative sales, as the market recovers from strong economic headwinds, including inflation, elevated interest rates, pricing and lower inventory. Year-over-year single-family home sales fell 29.9 percent, but when compared to January 2020, just before the pandemic, sales were down only 4.6 percent; compared to January 2018, five years ago, sales were up 1.9 percent.

The monthly housing measurements for January offer a mixed bag of readings. In addition to the drop in single-family home sales, total property sales and total dollar volume fell; single-family pending sales declined by 14.9 percent. Active listings (the total number of available properties) remained 63.4 percent ahead of their level a year ago.

Months of inventory continued to improve, growing to a 2.7-months supply in January. Housing inventory nationally stands at a 2.9-months supply, according to the latest report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR). A 4.0- to 6.0-months supply is generally considered to make up a “balanced market” in which neither the buyer nor the seller has an advantage.

Single-Family Homes Update

Single-family home sales fell 29.9 percent in January, with 4,549 units sold across the Greater Houston area compared to 6,492 a year earlier. Pricing continues to moderate after reaching record highs last spring. January’s median price increased 1.6 percent to $315,000 while the average price rose 1.5 percent to $381,983. Those are the lowest price increases since October 2019.

For a pre-pandemic perspective, January sales are down 4.6 percent compared to January 2020, when a total of 4,772 single-family homes sold. The median price then was 34.0 percent lower at $235,000, and the average price, at $289,952, was 31.7 percent lower. Sales are 1.9 percent ahead of where they were five years ago, in January 2018, when volume totaled 4,462. Back then, the median price was $218,950 and the average price was $271,087 – reflecting pricing jumps of 43.9 percent and 41.0 percent, respectively.

Days on Market, or the actual time it took to sell a home, grew from 39 to 59 days. Months supply registered 2.7 months compared to 1.3 months a year earlier. The current national supply stands at 2.9 months, as reported by NAR.

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

  • $1 – $99,999: decreased 17.0 percent
  • $100,000 – $149,999: decreased 24.3 percent
  • $150,000 – $249,999: decreased 35.1 percent
  • $250,000 – $499,999: decreased 29.6 percent
  • $500,000 – $999,999: decreased 22.6 percent
  • $1M and above: decreased 25.7 percent

HAR also breaks out sales figures for existing single-family homes. Existing home sales totaled 3,255 in January, down 36.8 percent from the same month last year. The average and median sales prices were unchanged at $374,519 and $300,000, respectively.

For HAR’s Monthly Activity Snapshot (MAS) of the January 2023 trends, please click HERE to access a downloadable PDF file.

Townhouse/Condominium Update

Townhouses and condominiums experienced their eighth consecutive monthly decline, dropping 37.1 percent year-over-year with 353 closed sales versus 561 a year earlier. The average price dropped 4.3 percent to $230,775 and the median price fell 7.7 percent to $191,000. Both figures are below the historic highs reached in April 2022. Inventory grew from a 1.5-months supply to 2.1 months.

Houston Real Estate Highlights in January

  • Single-family home sales fell 29.9 percent year-over-year, as the market tries to recover from economic headwinds;
  • All housing segments experienced negative sales.
  • Days on Market (DOM) for single-family homes went from 39 to 59 days;
  • Total property sales fell 30.9 percent with 5,650 units sold;
  • Total dollar volume dropped 30.9 percent to $2.0 billion;
  • The single-family average price rose 1.5 percent to $381,983;
  • The single-family median price increased 1.6 percent to $315,000;
  • Single-family home months of inventory registered a 2.7-months supply, up from 1.3 months a year earlier;
  • Townhome/condominium sales experienced their eighth straight monthly decline, falling 37.1 percent, with the average price down 4.3 percent to $230,775 and the median price up 7.7 percent to $191,000.