HOUSTON — (January 11, 2017) — Despite the slowdown that economists predicted as falling oil prices and resulting energy industry layoffs carried over from 2015, the Houston housing market held steady throughout 2016 and gained momentum in the final months of the year to set a new record for home sales. Homes priced at $500,000 and up, which experienced declining sales from August 2015 through October 2016 as a result of the energy slump, achieved an impressive turnaround with double-digit sales increases in November and December.
Full-year 2016 single family home sales totaled 76,449, according to the latest report produced by the Houston Association of Realtors (HAR). That represents an increase of 3.0 percent from 2015 and is 1.3 percent above the previous record of 75,470 homes sold in 2014. Total dollar volume for properties sold in 2016 rose 4.2 percent to $24.5 billion.
To the delight of home buyers, inventory levels grew during the first half of 2016, peaking at a 4.0-months supply in July. However, with the increased pace of home sales, inventory levels retreated, ending the year exactly where they began – at a 3.3-months supply.
"We could not be happier with the Houston housing market’s 2016 performance,” said HAR Chair Cindy Hamann with Heritage Texas Properties. “The year began on a cautionary note because of energy-related layoffs that did affect our higher-priced housing. But what we saw by the end of 2016 is the reflection of a truly diversified Houston economy that continues to benefit from hiring in other industries and a steady influx of consumers from markets across the country and around the world."
December single-family home sales rose 5.3 percent to 6,628 versus December 2015. As with the luxury market, homes priced between $150,000 and $500,000 enjoyed double-digit year-over-year sales gains in December. Total property sales for the month climbed 5.1 percent to 7,868.
The single-family home median price (the figure at which half of the homes sold for more and half sold for less) rose 2.7 percent to $225,903 That marks the highest median price ever for a December. The average price increased 4.3 percent to $294,512, which also represents a December high.