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Houston Home Sales Rebounded in 2011

By Ralph Bivins

HOUSTON — Houston’s home sales were up 4 percent in 2011, over the prior year, the Houston Association of Realtors reported Tuesday.

The city’s strong job growth, boosted by the energy industry, provided the basis for the rebound. With another increase in December, Houston ended 2011 with seven consecutive months of sales increases.

“2011 ended on a very promising note,” said Wayne Stroman, HAR chairman and President/CEO of Stroman Realty.  The key to sustaining that positive momentum in 2012 will be continued improvement in Houston’s employment numbers.”

The Houston housing market concluded calendar year 2011 with noteworthy gains in sales volume along with strong pricing. Single-family home sales rose 4.0 percent for the year while sales of all property types increased 4.3 percent. On a year-to-date basis, the average price rose 0.9 percent to $213,723 while the median price ticked up 0.7 percent to $155,000. Total dollar volume for full-year 2011 climbed 5.2 percent to $13 billion compared to full-year 2010.

Month-end pending sales for December totaled 2,907, up 3.0 percent from last year and a signal that a further increase in demand is likely when the January figures are tallied. The number of available properties, or active listings, at the end of December fell 14.1 percent compared to December 2010. This absorption of housing inventory accounted for a 20.2 percent decline in months inventory to the lowest level since December 2009—5.8 months versus 7.2 months in December 2010. That means it would take 5.8 months to sell all the single-family homes on the market based on sales activity over the past year. The figure is significantly better than the national inventory of single-family homes of 7.0 months reported by the National Association of Realtors.

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