HOUSTON – Houston home sales dropped 5.8 percent in February as declining energy market impacted residential sales, the Houston Association of Realtors reported.
The Houston Realtors organization placed the blame for February’s sales decline on “falling oil prices and related layoffs, limited housing inventory, and rising home prices.” HAR said 4,521 houses were sold in February, down from 4,798 in February 2014.
The inventory of homes for sale is low. Houston has a 2.7-months supply now.
“I don’t think we are in a crash mode,” said Shad Bogany, former chair of the Texas Association of Realtors. “I have plenty of buyers and I have no houses to sell them.”
Houston housing has been hot. Last year was the strongest year ever for home sales.
“Houston has had such as accelerated market over the last few years,” said Cheri Fama, president of John Daugherty Realtors. “If we go down a little bit we are just getting closer to normal.”
Home prices achieved record highs for a February. The average price of a single-family home rose 4.5 percent year-over-year to $259,293. The median price—the figure at which half the homes sold for more and half for less—jumped 7.9 percent to $199,400.
“We are witnessing the start of exactly what economists predicted would create a more ‘normalized’ Houston real estate market: declining sales volume, increasing prices, and improvement in housing inventory levels,” said HAR Chair Nancy Furst with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Anderson Properties. “While some local energy jobs have gone away, the Texas Workforce Commission just declared 2014 one of the best years for job creation in Houston, with almost 105,000 jobs added and continued hiring expected this year, albeit at lower levels. No one knows for sure where oil prices will go in the months ahead, but the diversity of Houston’s economy should help our housing market hold its own during this transition.”