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Spring Has Sprung: Strongest May Ever For Home Sales in Houston

HOUSTON – (By Michelle Leigh Smith for Realty News Report) – Houston Realtors had their best May ever as low mortgage rates and a more ample inventory of homes for sale churned up the housing market.

The Houston Association of Realtors reported 8,346 single family homes were sold in Houston in May, up 2.8 percent over the 8,117 sold in May of last year. By comparison, the Houston market has broken the 8,000 sales per month mark only a handful of times.

So far this year, home sales are running 2.7 percent ahead of the year-to-date home sales of 2018. And 2018, as it was widely reported, was a record sale for home sales in Houston.

“The Houston housing market remains strong and smart buyers are looking for, and in many cases, getting good deals,” says Realtor Michael Magana, with Carnan Properties.

The prices of a single-family home reached historic highs in May. The median price (the figure at which half of the homes sold for more and half sold for less) rose 2.4 percent to $249,993 and the average price climbed 5.8 percent to $323,023. The last pricing highs were reached almost a year ago, in June 2018, HAR reported.

Richard Ray, a top producer at John Daugherty Realtors, echoes this enthusiasm and has sold several properties in ultra-hot Lindale Park on the near northside.  “My buyers want to be there because they can ride the light rail downtown to the office,” says Ray, who sells between 60-70 homes a year.  “I’m working with several new buyers from Boston and Memphis – they are moving here for new jobs. I am placing my buyers with young families in Pearland, Katy and Sienna Plantation because schools are the big driver.”

“Houston’s real estate market is surging into summer,” said Roger Martin of Roger Martin Properties.  “Inventory is finally hitting some of our tighter neighborhoods.  We have seen multiple offers on our listings.”

The inventory of homes for sale has been extremely thin for many months. Total active listings, or the total number of available properties, went up 10.1 percent to 43,624, HAR said. The increase in inventory is creating brisk sales momentum.

Realtor Trish Figueroa, with eXp-Realty. “I’m seeing homes in the 300K and below range get under contract rather quickly.”

The Jean and Jack Shabot/Berkshire Hathaway Team report their best May ever.  They have sold homes for the last 22 years, concentrating in the Bellaire, Meyerland, Westbury, Maplewood, Willow Meadows, an, d the Willow Meadows area.

Lower mortgage rates cast optimism over the market, despite the drag on the economy fostered by the Trump administration’s tariffs policies which  create tensions and other economic uncertainty.

On Thursday, Freddie Mac reported 30-year mortgages averaged 3.82 percent for the week ending June 13, down from 4.62 percent a year ago.

“Mortgage rates were mostly unchanged from last week due to easing of trade tensions with Mexico which helped stabilize markets. These historically low rates should provide continued opportunities for current homeowners to refinance their mortgages – which combined with new homebuyer activity – will help sustain the momentum in the housing market in 2019,”said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist.

For Realtor Kathlyn Curtis and her team at Why I Love Houston, they see the stable job outlook as motivating buyers and instilling confidence about putting down roots.  “In luxury markets like the Central Houston (MLS Area 16), we have two times the available inventory as properties that have sold over the last six months, says Curtis, part of the  Keller Williams Memorial firm.

“In the Memorial Villages (MLS Area 24), we have nearly three times the available inventory. Why?  Most homeowners in Central Houston and Memorial are sophisticated and tapped in, directly or indirectly, to the oil and gas market, which has suffered tremendously over the last few years in Houston,” Curtis said. “If those homeowners were considering selling during a down time in oil and gas, they likely chose to wait for a better market. I think we are seeing a large uptick in available luxury real estate because these business savvy homeowners have been holding out for several years and now, they are trying to take advantage of a “good” market.”

June 13, 2019 Realty News Report Copyright 2019

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