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Making Real Estate History: 2016 was the Best Year Ever for Home Sales in Houston, Realtors Say

HOUSTON – The Houston home market, avoiding serious damage from the decline in the energy industry and weak job growth, registered record-setting home sales in 2016, the Houston Association of Realtors reported.

The HAR reported 76,449 home sales in 2016, up 3 percent from the 74,174 sales in 2015. Last year was the strongest year ever for single-family sales in Houston.

The 2016 sales total shattered the previous record of 75,470 homes sold in 2014, HAR reported.

“We could not be happier with the Houston housing market’s 2016 performance,” said HAR Chair Cindy Hamann with Heritage Texas Properties. “The year began on a cautionary note because of energy-related layoffs that did affect our higher-priced housing. But what we saw by the end of 2016 is the reflection of a truly diversified Houston economy that continues to benefit from hiring in other industries and a steady influx of consumers from markets across the country and around the world.”

The new year appears to be starting strong, with great momentum from a late-year stock market surge and a stabilizing energy sector.

Amy Bernstein

Amy Bernstein

“We did have very active period after the election. December is usually very slow,” said Amy Bernstein of Bernstein Realty. “But in our office we did see a very busy December.”

HAR reported 6,628 Houston homes were sold in December, the highest single-family sales total ever recorded in a December.

“Based on how 2016 closed and especially on how 2017 began, I do expect 2017 to be a very good year,” Bernstein said. We are seeing more relocation activity again in our relo depart. We’re seeing a lot of buyers that were on the fence that are ready to buy early in 2017. Our phones are busy. Our emails are busy. If the first week of January is an indicator of what is to follow then 2017 will be a very good year.”

Oil prices squeezed Houston’s economy severely in 2016. West Texas Intermediate crude fell from $107 a barrel in June of 2014 to a low of $26 a barrel in February 2016. Scores of energy companies filed for bankruptcy. Thousands of Houstonians were laid off.

Despite all the negative reports, 2016 brought no catastrophe for Houston housing. Weakened, but positive job growth and low mortgage rates kept the wheels turning.

The upper-end home market had a bumpy road for a time in 2016. But sales of homes priced over $500,000 were up 23 percent in November.

In December, the single-family home median price (the figure at which half of the homes sold for more and half sold for less) rose 2.7 percent to $225,903. That marks the highest median price ever for a December. The average price increased 4.3 percent to $294,512, which also represents a December high.

At year end, the inventory of homes for sales remained extremely tight – a 3.3-months supply.

Jan. 11, 2017 Realty News Report Copyright 2017

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