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Boosted By Population Growth, Houston Home Sales Continue to Churn, Despite Energy Crash

HOUSTON – Houston’s home sales, boosted by robust population growth, are keeping pace with last year, despite the downturn in the energy industry.

Last year was one of the strongest years on record for Houston home sales, so the 2016 market is showing resiliency and strength by keeping up with 2015.

The Realtors said the $150,000 to $250,000 price band is demonstrating exceptional increases in sales. And the inventory of homes for sale has ticked up slightly, providing relief from over a year of having and incredibly low supply of houses for sale.

“Houston is such a fantastic city for first-time homebuyers for many reasons,” says Amy Bernstein of Bernstein Realty. “One of the main reasons is there are so many choices in types of housing, price ranges, locations throughout the city and now, compared to previous years, there is increased inventory to choose from.”

An increase in new listings in March gave single-family homes inventory a boost, with levels climbing from a 2.8-months supply to 3.6 months. For perspective, the national supply of homes reported by the National Association of Realtors currently stands at 4.4 months.

“Positive home sales in the $150,000 to $250,000 price range and increasing housing inventory suggest that we are in a more sustainable market,” said HAR Chairman Mario Arriaga with First Group.

Houston area led the nation in population growth in 2015, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, with the addition of over 159,000 new residents. Greater Houston Partnership reports that since April 2010, Houston has added over 736,000 residents and that energy industry layoffs have been offset by job creation in other sectors.

Home prices showed mixed readings in March. The single-family home average price declined 1.6 percent to $272,658. The median price—the figure at which half of the homes sold for more and half sold for less—rose 2.4 percent to $215,000, the highest price ever for a March.

So far this year, Houston’s home sales are running 1 percent higher than sales in the first quarter of last year, the Houston Association of Realtors reported. Through the first quarter, 14,699 homes were sold, compared to14,553 in the first quarter of last year.

In March, 6,001 home sales were reported, or 136 fewer deals (2.2 percent) than the 6,137 sales in March 2015, HAR reported.

April 13, 2016

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