As published in the Conroe Courier, these articles written by Claudia Hohlt address various real estate topics in and around Montgomery County.
Without a doubt, it’s been a good year so far in our local real estate market. I don’t even have to look at the Houston Association of Realtors’ press releases and statistical reports. I’ve heard plenty of positive remarks from my fellow realtors that match up with what I’ve observed in my own business. But Montgomery County is a large market with hundreds and hundreds of Realtors. So let’s take a look at some statistical information to get a more comprehensive view of the market as it now stands in 2012.
In reviewing the most recent info, the best news is that single family sales in Montgomery County have increased 16% this year compared to the same time period in 2011. That reflects a substantial growth in the market. The increase in demand has also resulted in homes selling more quickly, with the average time on the market decreasing 14%. We haven’t had a corresponding increase in prices though, with the average price increasing only ½%. We may be on the brink of some uplift in prices though since active listings have declined 17% versus this same time last year. The bottom line is that Montgomery County, as a whole, is currently in a seller’s market.
But as most folks know, Montgomery County is comprised of 4 rather distinct markets; the Northwest, Northeast, Southwest, and the Southeast. Each area has its own market characteristics and have all performed well. Some encouraging news is that the Northwest, dominated by the many Lake Conroe communities, had the highest year to year percentage increase in sales and sales prices. But with a significant backlog of homes for sale, it is still considered a buyer’s market. The Northeast also did well and without as many listings is in a slight seller’s market. The overall strongest performer as usual is the Southwest which remains a strong seller’s market.
Another way to look at the market is year to year changes by type of sale. I like to look at three broad categories of single family sales; resales, new construction and distressed properties. Sales of previously owned homes, or resales, make up 71% of the total single family housing market. These sales have increased 22% over last year and are selling 15% faster. But prices have remained relatively flat. New construction comprises about 15% of the total market. These sales have increased 8%, are selling 2% faster, but prices have declined about 5%. The price decline is partially due to the average size home being slightly smaller, but the average price per square foot is also less. Finally, distressed properties, i.e. foreclosures and short sales, make up the remaining 14% of the market. This market has remained relatively unchanged in the number of sales and the average sales price. But they are selling 23% faster which may be an indication that lenders have finally figured how to dispose of their distressed assets more quickly.
As I write this article, 2012 YTD sales have already surpassed total year sales for each of the 4 preceding years. One would have to go to the last pre-housing collapse year of 2007 to find more robust sales than 2012. I’m not one to be bold enough to predict the future of our local real estate market as there are simply too many uncontrollable variables involved. But the results so far this year make me one optimistic Realtor.