HOUSTON — The Houston real estate market eked out a 2.2 percent gain in single-family home sales in February, the first gain since in sales volume since September of last year, the Houston Association of Realtors reported Wednesday.
The association reported that the softness in the Houston market appears to be focused on the upper-end homes. Single-family homes priced between $150,000 and $500,000 showed strength.
“So far in 2016, the Houston housing market has remained healthy despite the ongoing strains facing the energy industry,” said HAR Chairman Mario Arriaga with First Group. “Sales are still down in the luxury home market, but, just as we saw in January, mid-range housing performed well and inventory levels grew. There was also a lot of activity among rental properties.”
The sharp drop in oil prices has hurt the Houston economy. West Texas Intermediate crude was priced at more than $100 a barrel in the summer of 2014. It’s now less than $40 a barrel, a price that is devastating for the many energy firms that have operations in Houston.
Last week, the Texas Workforce Commission released data showing that the Houston metropolitan area gained 15,200 jobs in 2015, not the 23,200 jobs previously estimated. The GHP report also stated that nearly 51,000 jobs were lost in January, a 1.7 percent decline and slightly above what is considered average for that time of year.
The single-family home average price squeezed out a fractional 0.5 percent year-over-year increase, reaching $260,872, the highest figure ever for a February. The median price—the figure at which half of the homes sold for more and half sold for less—was unchanged at $200,000.
February sales of all property types in Houston totaled 5,548, statistically flat compared to the same month last year. Total dollar volume for properties sold in February rose 1.2 percent to $1.4 billion.