Home sales remain on track for another record year

Houston home sales registered the seventh positive month of 2019 in September as consumers continued to take advantage of low mortgage interest rates, keeping a market that normally slows down this time of year buzzing. According to the latest monthly report from the Houston Association of Realtors (HAR), sales of single-family homes across the Houston area totaled 7,035 in September. That is up 9.5 percent year-over-year and marks the second largest one-month sales volume of the year. On a year-to-date basis, home sales are running 3.8 percent ahead of 2018’s record volume. 

For the second month in a row, homes in the $250,000 to $500,000 range saw the greatest sales gains, jumping 18.7 percent compared to September 2018. That was followed by homes in the $500,000 to $750,000 range, which rose 12.6 percent. The luxury segment, which is comprised of homes priced from $750,000 and up, declined 2.6 percent.

The median price of a single-family home (the figure at which half of the homes sold for more and half sold for less) reached the highest level ever for a September, climbing 4.7 percent to $244,000. The average price also achieved a September record, rising 1.5 percent to $298,947.

Buyers have had a more plentiful supply of homes from which to choose in 2019 compared to last year. In September, housing inventory edged up to a 4.1-months supply versus 4.0 months in September 2018. So far this year, the peak of inventory was reached in June and July when it registered a 4.3-months supply. 

Sales of all property types jumped 9.5 percent in September, totaling 8,430 units. This comes on the heels of two consecutive months of record-high total sales that broke the 10,000 mark for the first time – the highest being July with 10,444 units sold. Total dollar volume for the month of September climbed 10.8 percent to $2.4 billion.  

“I cannot recall a fall in Houston when home sales and rentals were quite this brisk,” said HAR Chair Shannon Cobb Evans with Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Gary Greene. “Historically low interest rates and a strong overall local economy have drawn more buyers than usual to the market and kept Realtors like myself extremely busy. We remain on track for another record year.”

Freddie Mac this week reported an average 3.64 percent rate on 30-year, fixed-rate loans – down more than one percent from a year ago. Freddie Mac economists predict the fourth quarter of 2019 will average a 3.7 percent interest rate on 30-year, fixed-rate loans, with 2019 claiming a 4.0 percent average overall. Fannie Mae expects the year to average out at 3.9 percent, while the Mortgage Bankers Association predicts 3.8 percent.

Lease Property Update

Lease properties staged another strong month in September. Single-family home leases jumped 6.9 percent while leases of townhomes and condominiums rose 1.7 percent. The average rent for single-family homes was up 1.5 percent at $1,838 while the average rent for townhomes and condominiums was unchanged at $1,589. 

September Monthly Market Comparison

All the measurements for the Houston housing market held to positive territory in September. Single-family home sales, total property sales, pricing, total dollar volume and inventory all increased compared to September 2018. Month-end pending sales of single-family homes totaled 7,285. That represents an 18.9 percent increase over last year. Total active listings, or the total number of available properties, rose 7.3 percent to 44,172. 

Single-family homes inventory grew slightly to a 4.1-months supply in September. compared to 4.0 months a year earlier. However, it is below the 2019 peak of 4.3-months reached in June and July. For perspective, housing inventory across the United States also currently stands at a 4.1-months supply, according to the latest National Association of Realtors (NAR) report

Single-Family Homes Update

September marked the seventh positive month of 2019 for single-family home sales, as volume jumped 9.5 percent with 7,035 units sold across greater Houston compared to 6,427 a year earlier. That represents the second largest one-month sales volume of 2019. On a year-to-date basis, sales are 3.8 percent ahead of 2018’s record pace. 

Home prices climbed to the highest levels ever for a September. The median price was $244,000, up 4.7 percent from one year prior. The average price rose 1.5 percent to $298,947. 

Days on Market (DOM), or the number of days it took the average home to sell, was 55 compared to 53 a year ago. Inventory expanded to a 4.1-months supply. That is up from 4.0 months year-over-year and is just below the 2019 peak of 4.3 months reached in June and July. It matches the national inventory of 4.1 months reported by NAR.

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

  • $1 – $99,999: decreased 9.7 percent
  • $100,000 – $149,999: decreased 14.6 percent
  • $150,000 – $249,999: increased 4.6 percent
  • $250,000 – $499,999: increased 18.7 percent
  • $500,000 – $749,999: increased 12.6 percent
  • $750,000 and above: decreased 2.6 percent

HAR also breaks out sales activity for just existing single-family homes. Existing home sales totaled 5,742 in September. That is up 8.0 percent versus the same month last year. The average sales price rose 3.3 percent to $286,784 while the median sales price increased 5.0 percent to $230,000. 

Townhouse/Condominium Update

Throughout 2019, the townhouse and condominium segment has experienced alternating months of up and down sales. After a 3.2 percent year-over-year drop in August, September sales reversed course and rose 8.2 percent with 538 units sold compared to 497 in September 2018. The average price increased 3.5 percent to  $200,728 while the median price climbed 6.3 percent to $170,000. Inventory expanded from a 4.3-months supply to 4.6 months.

Houston Real Estate Highlights in September

  • Single-family home sales jumped 9.5 percent year-over-year, with 7,035 units sold – the second biggest one-month sales volume of 2019;
  • On a year-to-date basis, single-family home sales are running 3.8 percent ahead of 2018’s record pace;
  • Days on Market (DOM) for single-family homes edged up from 53 to 55 days;
  • Total property sales increased 9.5 percent, with 8,430 units sold;
  • Total dollar volume shot up 10.8 percent to $2.4 billion;
  • The single-family home median price rose 4.7 percent to $244,000, achieving a September high;
  • The single-family home average price was up 1.5 percent to $298,947 – also a record high for a September;
  • Single-family homes months of inventory reached a 4.1-months supply, up from 4.0 months last September and slightly below the 4.3-months supply maintained in June and July. For comparison, the national housing inventory is also at a 4.1-months supply, according to NAR;
  • Townhome/condominium sales rose 8.2 percent year-over-year, with 538 units sold. The average price rose 3.5 percent to $200,728 while the median price rose 6.3 percent to $170,000;
  • Single-family home leases increased 6.9 percent with the average rent up 1.5 percent to $1,838;