Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Single-Family Home Sales in Houston February Year-to-Date 2008

Single-Family home sales in Houston are down by 11% from year-to-date February 2007, with 8,058 recorded MLS sales, according to the Houston Association of Realtors Multiple Listing Service. While the Houston market has yet to catch up to the stellar years of 2006 and 2007, it is still ahead of 2005 sales by ironically, 11%.

The year 2005 was one of the greatest real estate years in Houston history and in 2006, it was referred to as the second best year. Then in 2007, 2005 became the third best year. I believe 2007 will be the third greatest year in residential history and will push 2005 to fourth place.

As sales go, so go the dollar volume sales and while Houston has experienced over $1.6 billion in dollar volume sales year-to-date, that is still 6% less than the second greatest year on record, 2007. Average sales price, on the other hand, is up 5% and is currently $198,396, one of the highest average sales prices on record. Average sales prices are affected by extremes and closing sales prices in Houston are undergoing some interesting dynamics. While numbers of sales are down in most price classes below $400,000, the following sales price classes are up in number of units closed YTD in Houston:

~ Homes priced $600,000-699,999 are up 21%
~ Homes priced $700,000-799,999 are up 19%
~ Homes priced $800,000-899,999 are up 4%
~ Homes priced $900,000-999,999 are up 24%
~ Homes priced $1,000,000 and up are up 37%

Homes priced below $200,000 have been most effected by the sub-prime mortgage meltdown and even more so by stringent credit requirements. This is a market that is most likely to receive a positive impact from Congress passing the Economic Stimulus Package, which among many things, increases the loan limit of FHA . It is too soon to see what impact the Economic Stimulus Package will have on the Houston economy and real estate market, however NAR economists believe it will have a positive national impact.

The median sales price in Houston year-to-date is $145,940 and that figure is up by 1% from this time last year. It takes an average of 92 days to sell a home in Houston and that figure is up by 12%, which happens to be the same percentage increase of current listings on the market. Active single-family homes on the market [listings] are up by 12% over this time last year with 34,725 homes listed in the HAR Multiple Listing Service.

Pending sales recorded year-to-date are 7,231, which is down by 9% over this time last year.

Houston is experiencing a great market; it is just not experiencing the record market seen over the previous two years. To put this into perspective,

~ Average sales prices are up in Houston over 2005 by 13%
~ Median sales prices in Houston are up over 2005 by 8.18%
~ Pending sales [buyer demand] are up over 2005 by 18.4%
~ Sales are up in Houston over 2005 by 11% as mentioned previously.

The real estate market is all relative. In 2005, we thought real estate could not get any better and yet, year after year, we saw it get better. This year will be better than 2005, however, it is difficult to exceed a record year every year. We are all fortunate to live, work and play in Houston, where real estate is healthy and home values are stable and in many cases, rising. California and Florida would give anything for a market like this!

Statistics provided by the Houston Association of Realtors Multiple Listing Service and provided by Prudential Gary Greene, Realtors