Houston Real Estate Sales Reflect Disparity of Mortgage Woes
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Houston Real Estate Sales Reflect Disparity of Mortgage Woes

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Broader Local Housing Market Continues to Outperform Rest of Nation

HOUSTON, Sept. 20, 2007 — While it may sound like a broken record saying the foreclosure and subprime crisis has largely remained contained within the $80,000 to $150,000 price band, August 2007 home sales once again reflect just that for the Houston real estate market. Within that price range, single-family home sales dropped 12.6 percent, versus a rise of 8.3 percent for the rest of the market. The luxury home segment of properties, which sold for more than $500,000, actually saw a 26.0 percent increase in sales, showing that the hardest hit by the lending industry’s woes is definitely the lower-income population.

Total property sales for the month registered 8,352, which was a 1.2 percent decrease versus August 2006. Properties sold during the month reached a total of more than $1.7 billion, a 6.2 percent increase compared to last year’s more than $1.6 billion in August sales. Additionally, the median home price for a single-family home reached $159,000 for August, and the average single-family home price came in at $215,957, a rise of 4.6 percent and 8.1 percent, respectively.

“We are pleased that the statistics show the Houston real estate market remains healthy, aside from the relatively narrow price range that has unfortunately suffered most as a result of the mortgage fallout,” said Rob Cook, HAR Chairman and broker/owner of Robert D. Cook Properties. “Hopefully the Federal Reserve’s interest rate cut this week, combined with apparent moves by the U.S. Congress to insure more high-risk loans, which would increase their availability, will help ease the burden that millions of Americans have been feeling as a result of mortgage rate increases. These efforts should help Houston area homeowners remain in their homes, while buyers will be able to benefit from our more affordable home prices.”

August Monthly Market Comparison

All listing categories combined, Houston’s overall housing market in August saw mixed results, with increases in total dollar volume, median sales price and average sales price on a year-over-year basis. A slight decline was seen in total property sales.

The number of available homes (active listings) at the end of August was 53,468 properties, which was an increase of 15.7 percent versus last August and the 14th month with a year-over-year increase, after 10 consecutive previous declines. The figure was an increase of about 500 properties from last month, which shows that the summer selling season closed at a slower pace, as the school year approached. It is still a figure to watch to see if inventory of available homes rises faster than sales, which could eventually place downward pressure on prices as well, especially with the foreclosures in this market.

Month-end pending sales – those listings expected to close within the next 30 days – reached 5,157, which was down 4.5 percent from last year and signals possible slight weakness in sales next month after recent volatility in sales figures. The months inventory of single-family homes for August came in at 6.2 months, which is the sixth consecutive year-over-year increase and does signal that new listings are outpacing sales, but still remains more of a seller’s market.

Single-family Homes Update

The overall median price of single-family homes of $159,000 is the second highest median sales price in Houston history, behind only June of this year. This also reversed last month’s decline versus the previous year. The average sales price for single-family homes was $215,957 during August, which was up a strong 8.1 percent versus the same period last year and was also the second highest average sales price for this market.

Houston’s current median price of $159,000 is 30.4 percent less than the national median price, which reached $228,600 in July, according to statistics released by the National Association of REALTORS®. These data continue to show the tremendous value and lower cost of living afforded to Houstonians.

Additionally, total sales for single-family homes in Houston in August came in at 8,352, which was 1.2 percent lower than August 2006. Year-to-date sales remain negative this month, down 0.5 percent versus the first eight months of 2006. While it is little more than half way through 2006 and still too early to tell, Houston has not experienced an overall yearly decline in more than a decade so this is something to watch as the year progresses. The National Association of Realtors’ current estimate for national home sales is for a 8.6 percent decline in 2007 versus 2006. Houston should hold up much better than that though.

HAR also reports existing home statistics for the single-family home segment of the real estate market. For the month of August 2007, existing single-family home sales totaled 5,937, which was a 0.8 percent decrease from August 2006. The median sales price for existing homes in the Houston area was $151,550, a 4.5 percent increase compared to the same period last year. The average sales price for the month of $201,704 was an increase of 6.3 percent from last year’s level.

The Days on Market statistic for August was 73 days, which is historically low and shows that the homes that are selling are selling more quickly.

Townhouse/Condo Update

The overall median price in the townhouse/condo segment in Houston was up 3.4 percent for August, with the median sales price for the month being $123,900. The average sales price for which a townhouse or condo sold in the greater Houston area was $158,384 in August 2007, which was an 4.1 percent increase from the same month last year.

Additionally, the number of townhouses and condos that sold in August reversed its recent trend, with the first increase after three monthly declines in a row compared to the previous year’s sales. In the greater Houston area, 746 units were sold last month, versus 712 properties in August 2006, or a 4.8 percent increase in year-over-year sales.

Houston Real Estate Milestones in August

  • Second highest average single-family home sales price ever
  • Highest ever number of single-family homes listed for sale
  • Second highest median sales price in Houston history

The computerized Multiple Listing Service of the Houston Association of REALTORS® includes residential properties and new homes listed by 25,000 REALTORS throughout Harris, Fort Bend and Montgomery counties, as well as parts of Brazoria, Galveston, Waller and Wharton counties. Residential home sales statistics as well as listing information for more than 50,000 properties may be found on the Internet at http://www.har.com.

Copyright© 2007, HOUSTON REALTORS® INFORMATION SERVICE, INC.

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