Houston housing hits another high note
October 15, 2013

 Houston-area home sales spiked last month as job growth, low mortgage rates and a pent-up demand had buyers scrambling for homes.

 September marked the 28th straight month of positive single-family home sales, according to the Houston Association of Realtors, which released its monthly housing report Tuesday.

 The pace of home buying drove inventory down to 3.2 months, meaning it would take that long to sell all of the homes on the market based on recent activity. In August there was 3.3 months worth of inventory and last year there was 4.7 months.

 Sales jumped 23.5 percent last month, with buyers closing on 6,168 contracts, according to the report, which tracks properties sold through the Multiple Listing Service in Harris, Fort Bend and Montgomery counties, as well as parts of Brazoria, Galveston, Waller and Wharton counties.

 The median price of a single-family home — the figure at which half the homes sold for more and half for less — rose 10.2 percent to $181,750.

 “Home prices have steadily risen all year and I’m often asked if our market risks experiencing a bubble. That only becomes a possibility if we don’t soon see a reversal in our shrinking inventory of homes — the fundamental concept of supply and demand,” the associations chairman Danny Frank said in a statement.

 Sales of homes priced less than $80,000 fell in September with the bulk of the increases coming in the higher end of the market. Here’s the breakdown:

  • $1 – $79,999: decreased 31.5 percent
  • $80,000 – $149,999: increased 16.9 percent
  • $150,000 – $249,999: increased 32.6 percent
  • $250,000 – $499,999: increased 44.8 percent
  • $500,000 – $1 million and above: increased 55.8 percent

 Other highlights from the report included:

  • Month-end pending sales totaled 3,563, a 1.5 percent gain over last year and the same rate of increase the market saw in August. While pending sales typically serve as a bellwether of the following month’s sales activity, this statistic apparently reflects the unprecedented pace of home sales that has kept many transactions from ever attaining “pending” status. Active listings, or the number of available properties, at the end of September declined 17.5 percent to 32,457.
  • September sales of townhouses and condominiums jumped 42.2 percent from one year earlier, with 586 properties trading hands last month compared to 412 properties in September 2012. The median price was flat at $137,540, and months inventory was 3.1 months vs. 5.3 months a year earlier.
  • Single-family rentals were up 15.9 percent compared to September 2012. Average rent slipped from its record high of $1,747 last month to $1,700.

 Click here for the original article.

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