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February 15th, 2011

HAR Press Release  Feb. 15, 2011

All housing segments see gains in January; average price appreciates further

HOUSTON — (February 15, 2011) — Despite the bone-chilling winter weather, Houston's housing market heated up in January, recording the first increase in property sales since June 2010. Pricing also heated up in the first month of the new year, with the average price of single-family homes reaching the highest level ever for a January in Houston.

January sales of single-family homes throughout the Houston market rose 7.5 percent when compared to January 2010. Positive activity was recorded in all segments of the housing market, with the sharpest increases in sales volume taking place at opposite ends of the pricing spectrum.

Luxury home sales helped propel the average price of a single-family home, which increased 2.2 percent from January to $196,879. The January single-family home median price—the figure at which half of the homes sold for more and half sold for less—dipped 3.2 percent from one year earlier to $139,000, due to hefty sales volume among homes priced at $80,000 and below.

Foreclosure property sales reported in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) declined 4.7 percent in January compared to one year earlier. Foreclosures comprised 24.7 percent of all property sales in January, down from the 26.7 percent share they held at the beginning of 2010. The median price of January foreclosures fell 4.0 percent to $80,600 on a year-over-year basis.

January sales of all property types in Houston totaled 3,413, up 9.5 percent compared to January 2010. Total dollar volume for properties sold during the month was $643 million versus $574 million one year earlier, representing an 11.9 percent gain.

"Houston's residential real estate market has definitely gotten the new year off to a healthy start," said Carlos P. Bujosa, HAR chairman and VP at Transwestern. "Housing inventory appears to be balancing out, but the economy as a whole remains somewhat fragile, so I believe we need to see how home sales perform in the next month or two before being able to accurately predict what 2011 has in store for us.""

January Monthly Market Comparison

The month of January brought Houston's overall housing market positive results when all listing categories are compared to January of 2010. Total property sales, total dollar volume and average price all rose on a year-over-year basis while the median single-family home sales prices dropped slightly.

Month-end pending sales for January totaled 2,478, up 7.7 percent from last year. That suggests the likelihood of further strengthening in demand when the February figures are tallied. The number of available properties, or active listings, at the end of January rose 13.7 percent from January 2010 to 31,232. Despite the increase in sales volume, growth in available housing pushed the January inventory of single-family homes to 7.3 months compared to 6.1 months one year earlier. The figure still compares favorably to the national inventory of single-family homes of 8.1 months reported by the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR).

Total property sales 3,118 3,413 9.5%
Total dollar volume $574,282,523 $642,901,862 11.9%
Total active listings 27,465 31,232 13.7%
Total pending sales 2,301 2,478 7.7%
Single-family home sales 2,572 2,766 7.5%
Single-family average sales price $192,617 $196,879 2.2%
Single-family median sales price $143,560 $139,000 -3.2%
Months inventory* 6.1 7.3 19.5%
* Months inventory estimates the number of months it will take to deplete current active inventory based on the prior 12 months sales activity. This figure is representative of the single-family homes market.

Single-Family Homes Update

January sales of single-family homes in Houston totaled 2,766, up 7.5 percent from January 2010. This marks the first increase in sales volume since June 2010, when the beneficial effects of the last homebuyer tax credit tapered.

Broken out by segment, January sales of homes priced below $80,000 surged 26.3 percent; sales of homes in the $80,000-$150,000 range climbed 9.0 percent; sales of homes between $150,000 and $250,000 edged up 2.5 percent; sales of homes ranging from $250,000-$500,000 rose 3.9 percent; and sales of homes that make up the luxury market—priced from $500,000 and up—increased 17.6 percent.

Single Family Home Sales

The average price of single-family homes in January was $196,879, up 2.2 percent compared to one year earlier. That is the highest level recorded for a January in Houston. At $139,000, the median sales price for single-family homes dipped 3.2 percent versus January 2010. The national single-family median price reported by NAR is $169,300, illustrating the continued higher value and lower cost of living available to consumers in Houston.

Single Family Average Home Price

HAR also breaks out the sales performance of existing single-family homes throughout the Houston market. In January 2011, existing home sales totaled 2,423, a 16.2 percent increase from January 2010. The average sales price rose 4.0 percent to $185,258 compared to last year, while the median sales price of $128,500 slid 2.7 percent.

Townhouse/Condominium Update

The number of townhouses and condominiums that sold in January increased 10.7 percent compared to one year earlier—the first sales volume increase recorded since June 2010. In the greater Houston area, 279 units were sold last month versus 252 properties in January 2010.

The average price dropped 3.5 percent to $142,164 from January 2010 to January 2011. The median price of a townhouse/condominium declined 8.9 percent to $104,000.

Townhouse/Condominium Sales

Lease Property Update

Demand for single-family home rentals soared 27.5 percent in January compared to one year earlier. Year-over-year townhouse/condominium rentals increased 24.0 percent.

Houston Real Estate Milestones in January
  • Single-family home sales increased for the first time since June 2010, rising 7.5 percent;
  • At $196,879, the average price of a single-family home reached the highest level ever recorded for a January in Houston;
  • Sales of townhouses and condominiums saw their first increase since June 2010, climbing 10.7 percent;
  • Single-family home rentals rose 27.5 percent;
  • Townhouse/condominium rentals increased 24.0 percent;
  • 7.3 months inventory of single-family homes compares favorably to the national average of 8.1 months.

The computerized Multiple Listing Service of the Houston Association of REALTORS® includes residential properties and new homes listed by 26,000 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

The information published and disseminated to the HAR Multiple Listing Services is communicated verbatim, without change by Multiple Listing Services, as filed by MLS participants.

The MLS does not verify the information provided and disclaims any responsibility for its accuracy. All data is preliminary and subject to change. Monthly sales figures reported since November 1998 includes a statistical estimation to account for late entries. Twelve-month totals may vary from actual end-of-year figures. (Single-family detached homes were broken out separately in monthly figures beginning February 1988.)

Founded in 1918, the Houston Association of REALTORS® (HAR) is a 26,000-member organization of real estate professionals engaged in every aspect of the industry, including residential and commercial sales and leasing, appraisal, property management and counseling. It is the largest individual dues-paying membership trade association in Houston as well as the second largest local association/board of REALTORS® in the United States.

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Disclaimer : The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Houston Association of REALTORS®

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