HOUSTON – Houston’s home sales were up 30.2 percent in August, compared to August of 2010 – the largest month-over-month gain ever reported by the Houston Association of Realtors.
HAR, which has been reporting home sales data for decades, reports that sales have increased for three consecutive months.
Part of the reason for the unusually large increase is the fact that August of last year was incredibly horrible for housing. Last summer, home sales plummeted after the expiration of the home buyer tax credit.
“The Houston real estate market’s vital signs appear to be quite healthy as we move from the summer buying season into the fall, but we must remain mindful that we are still comparing 2011 home sales to that period last year when transactions slowed dramatically after the tax credit expired,” said Carlos Bujosa, HAR chairman and vice president at Transwestern.
Month-end pending sales for August totaled 3,970, up 21.0 percent from last year. The rate is slightly above levels typically observed during the late summer home sales period, continuing to reflect the rapid pace at which 2010 sales went under contract prior the tax credit closing deadline.
The number of available properties, or active listings, at the end of August declined 11.5 percent from August 2010 to 48,752. The inventory of single-family homes was reduced to 7.1 months compared to 7.8 months one year earlier. That means it would take 7.1 months to sell all the single-family homes on the market based on sales activity over the past year. The figure is significantly better than the national inventory of single-family homes of 9.4 months reported by the National Association of Realtors.
On a year-to-date basis, sales are ahead 1.8 percent. When compared to August of 2009, a year in which there were no unusual real estate market effects such as Hurricane Ike in 2008 and the 2010 home buyer tax credit, single-family home sales were up 10.4 percent.
Broken out by segment, August sales of homes priced below $80,000 skyrocketed 45.4 percent; sales of homes in the $80,000-$150,000 range climbed 26.2 percent; sales of homes between $150,000 and $250,000 increased 35.8 percent; sales of homes ranging from $250,000-$500,000 advanced 32.5 percent; and sales of homes that make up the luxury market—priced from $500,000 and up—jumped 22.4 percent.
The average price achieved the second highest level for an August in Houston. At $217,047, the average price of single-family homes rose 0.7 percent compared to last August. The highest August level historically was $222,638 in 2008.
At $159,000, the median sales price for single-family homes was statistically flat versus August 2010 and down fractionally from June and July’s $160,000 level, which was the highest median price of 2011 and the highest level in two years. The national single-family median price reported by NAR is $174,000.