Home prices set August highs and inventory edges up

After a couple of months of rising sales, the Houston housing market eased off the accelerator in August, with sales comparable to last August as prices set new August highs. Homes priced between $150,000 and $500,000 saw moderate gains, with the low and high ends of the market experiencing sales declines.

According to the latest monthly report prepared by the Houston Association of Realtors® (HAR), August single-family home sales totaled 7,454 units compared to 7,407 a year earlier, an increase of less than one percent. The time it took to sell the average home held steady at 45 days.


Months of inventory, the estimated time it would take to deplete the current active housing inventory based on the previous 12 months of sales, rose from a 3.0-months supply last August to a 3.5-months supply. That is slightly above the 3.4-months supply in July 2015, but remains below the current national housing supply of 4.8 months of inventory.

Home prices achieved August highs, with the average price of a single-family home up 2.9 percent year-over-year to $282,233. The median price—the figure at which half the homes sold for more and half for less—rose 4.9 percent to $215,100.

August sales of all property types totaled 8,836 units, flat compared to the same month last year. Total dollar volume edged up 2.6 percent to $2.4 billion.

“The Houston housing market has been robust in 2015, keeping pace with last year’s record-breaking numbers and August turned out to be flat, by and large,” said HAR Chair Nancy Furst with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Anderson Properties. “We’ve started seeing signs of more sustainable inventory levels as more new listings come onto the market.”

August Monthly Market Comparison
The Houston housing market yielded comparable results in the August 2015 versus August 2014 analysis, with single-family home sales up fractionally, total property sales flat, total dollar volume up slightly, and prices reaching record highs for an August.


Month-end pending sales for single-family homes totaled 7,413, a 1.5 percent decline from a year earlier. Active listings, or the number of available properties, at the end of August rose 15.3 percent to 34,089.

Houston’s housing inventory held its own in August, reaching a 3.5-months supply versus the 3.0-months supply of one year earlier. That remains below the current national supply of homes which stands at a 4.8-months supply, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

Single-Family Homes Update
Single-family home sales totaled 7,454 in August, a fractional increase of 0.6 percent from August 2014. Home prices reached the highest levels ever for an August in Houston. The single-family average price rose 2.9 percent from last year to $282,233 and the median price jumped 4.9 percent year-over-year to $215,100. The average number of days it took to sell a home, or Days on Market (DOM), was 45 in August, where it has held for the past three months.


Single-family home sales tracked on a year-to-date basis were flat in August at 50,532.

Broken out by housing segment, August sales performed as follows:
$1 – $79,999: decreased 8.9 percent
$80,000 – $149,999: decreased 20.1 percent
$150,000 – $249,999: increased 9.1 percent
$250,000 – $499,999: increased 5.3 percent
$500,000 and above: decreased 1.8 percent

HAR also breaks out the sales figures for existing single-family homes. Existing home sales totaled 6,532 in August. That is down 1.1 percent versus the same month last year. The average sales price climbed 2.0 percent year-over-year to $265,375 while the median sales price rose 4.2 percent to $200,000.

Townhouse/Condominium Update
Sales of townhouses and condominiums slipped 4.0 percent in August. A total of 620 units sold compared to 646 properties in August 2014. The average price, however, edged up 0.8 percent to $197,091 and the median price increased 4.7 percent to $149,000. Inventory grew from a 2.6-months supply to 3.1 months.


Lease Property Update
Demand for single-family lease homes rose 4.5 percent in August. The average rent for such properties climbed 3.8 percent to $1,901. Townhouse/condominiums leases were up 10.0 percent in August with their average rent up 4.2 percent to $1,647.

Houston Real Estate Milestones in August

  • Single-family home sales edged up a fractional 0.6 percent versus August 2014;
  • Total property sales were flat year-over-year at 8,836 units;
  • Total dollar volume increased 2.6 percent to $2.4 billion;
  • At $282,233, the single-family home average price reached a record high for an August;
  • At $215,100, the single-family home median price also achieved a record August high;
  • Single-family homes months of inventory climbed to a 3.5-months supply;
  • Single family home leases were up 4.5 percent while townhome/condominium leases rose 10.0 percent with average rents up year-over-year.