By Ralph Bivins
August was the best month for Houston home sales in five years and inventory dropped to a 10-year low, the Houston Association of Realtors reported. Low mortgage rates and a strong local economy combined to lift the real estate market.
The Realtors association reported 6,600 single-family homes were sold in August, the highest monthly sales total since 7,058 homes were sold in August 2007.
Energy firms, including Exxon Mobil, Conoco, Phillips 66 and others have been generating jobs and oilfield service companies, prompted by fracking success in the Eagle Ford Shale and other unconventional drilling plays, have been adding employees.
Pent-up demand for housing uncoiled this year after Houston consumers shook off national economic concerns and became believers in Houston’s comeback, said Robin Mueck, President and CEO of Heritage Texas Properties.
“You’ve had people riding the fence for a real long time. Even with the low mortgage rates, they didn’t buy a home because of the national picture,” Mueck said. “People in Houston, Texas now recognize where we are going. Houston is unique and it’s now national news that Houston is doing well.”
The 6,600 homes sold in August represented a 20 percent gain over the 5,500 sold in August of last year, the Realtors association said.
The inventory of homes for sale declined to 40,504 listings, down 17 percent from the 48,752 homes listed for sale last August. At the current sales pace, it would take 4.9 months to burn off the existing inventory of homes for sale – the lowest inventory since April of 2002.
The national inventory of single-family homes is 6.4 months, according to the National Association of Realtors.
The median price of a single-family home sold in August was $165,000, a 3.8 percent increase over August of last year.
“August rounds out an extremely prosperous summer for the Houston real estate market,” said Wayne Stroman, HAR chairman and CEO of Stroman Realty.
Ralph Bivins, a former president of the National Association of Real Estate Editors, is founding editor of RealtyNewsReport.com.