Property sales throughout the greater Houston area ended 2008 as they began, with lower volume following two consecutive record years. Overall property sales fell 16.0 percent last month when compared to December 2007, and sales of single-family homes were down 13.5 percent, according to new monthly data compiled by the Houston Association of REALTORS® (HAR). However, the figures show dramatic improvement from November, when both total property and single-family sales volume declined by more than 30 percent.
The average price of a single-family home in Houston dropped 10.4 percent last month to $192,135 compared to December 2007, but rose 1.0 percent to $208,266 on a year-to-date basis. At $145,000, the median price of a single-family home in December fell 6.1 percent year-over-year. The median price represents the figure at which half of the homes sold for more and half sold for less. On a year-to-date basis, the median price was unchanged at $152,000.
Sales of all property types in Houston for December 2008 totaled 5,126, off 16.0 percent compared to December 2007. Total dollar volume for properties sold during the month was $960 million versus $1.2 billion one year earlier, a 24.5 percent decline.
Rental properties remained in high demand in December, with leases of single-family homes up 26.2 percent and townhouses/condominiums up 24.6 percent on a year-over-year basis. This continues to suggest that many consumers are opting to rent property instead of purchase until they’re convinced of meaningful improvement in the economy.
"Lower mortgage rates are a good first step to reviving the real estate market, but many consumers are looking to Washington for the full scope of the economic stimulus plan before committing to major spending," said Vicki Fullerton, HAR chair and Broker of Record at RE/MAX of The Woodlands & Spring. "This wait-and-see approach has kept Houston’s rental market strong, and even with December’s lower home prices, we’re maintaining an even keel when you compare Houston to the national picture."
The following statistics compare the subject month with the same month of the previous year.
- Total home sales (all property types) fell 16.0% from 6,099 units sold to 5,126 units sold
- Total sales volume (all property types) fell 24.5% from 1.27B to $960Mil
- Average single-family home price dropped 10.4% for the month of December from $214,343 to $192,135
- Median single-family home price fell 6.1% for the month of December from $154,500 to $145,000
- The number of available properties, or active listings, at the end of December fell 11.7 percent from December 2007 to 43,748. That’s 3,606 fewer active listings than November 2008 and is considered an indication that inventory levels are balanced. The month’s inventory of single-family homes for December came in at 5.7 months, down 3.1 percent from one year earlier and the lowest level of 2008. (6.0 months of inventory is considered an equilibrium market; higher indicates a buyer’s market, while lower indicates a seller’s market)
At $192,135, the average sales price for single-family homes dropped 10.4 percent from December 2007, when it was $214,363. The median price of single-family homes in November was $145,000, off 6.1 percent from one year earlier. That compares to the national single-family median price of $180,800 reported by the National Association of REALTORS®. These data continue to demonstrate the higher value and lower cost of living that prevail in the Houston market.
Lease Property Update
Demand for single-family and townhouse/condominium rentals increased again in December. Single-family home rentals rose 26.2 percent in December compared to a year earlier, while year-over-year townhouse/condominium rentals were up 24.6 percent.
- Single-family home rentals increased 26.2 percent;
- Townhouse/condominium rentals increased 24.6 percent;
- Lowest month’s inventory of single-family homes for all of 2008 (5.7 months);
- Fewest single-family active listings since December 2005 (27,612)
Icon Real Estate is an independent real estate brokerage servicing Suburban North Houston, including The Woodlands, Conroe, Spring, Cypress, and the surrounding area. Primary services include home buying help, new home buyer representation, home selling, leasing, investment property, and property management.
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Information obtained from the Houston Association of Realtors Monthly Market Press Release. Accuracy is not guaranteed, and is subject to change. For more information, see http://www.har.com.