HOUSTON – (Realty News Report) – 2017 was the best year in the history of Houston realty sales, according to year-end numbers released by the Houston Association of Realtors.
The association reported 79,117 single-family homes were sold in the Houston area last year, up 3.5 percent over the 76,450 sales in 2016.
By comparison, five years ago in 2012 when Houston was still shaking off the impact of the recession, annual sales totaled only 53,592 homes.
The record-setting annual sales total was achieved even as Hurricane Harvey disrupted the market for several weeks in the late summer.
“It knocked us down for about a month,” said housing analyst David Jarvis of John Burns Real Estate Consulting.
The storm inflicted severe damage to more than 90,000 homes, Jarvis said, adding a total of about 180,000 houses total suffered some degree of damage.
Harvey tightened rental housing significantly. In September, leasing was up 86 percent as flood victims found alternative shelter. Also, many apartment complexes went to 100 percent occupancy immediately.
The inventory of homes for sale is tight. Single-family homes inventory shrank from a 3.4-months supply to 3.2 months.
In December, the single-family median home price was $230,000, up 1.7 percent from the $226,050 median in December of 2016. The median price is the midpoint, indicating half the homes sold for more and half for less.
The HAR year-end report showed the market has considerable strength heading into the new year. Pending home sales were up 24 percent in December.
Economist Frank Nothalf of the CoreLogic firm told reporters at the IBS home builders convention this week that Houston will be the national leader in home construction in 2018.
Consumers will also face higher mortgage rates this year, said National Association of Home Builders Chief Economist Robert Dietz. NAHB expects 30-year fixed-rate mortgages will increase to an average 4.31 percent in 2018 and 4.82 percent in 2019.