HOUSTON — (By Michelle Leigh Smith for Realty News Report)— Home sales surged to a record high in March, with monthly transactions for the month increasing 24.4 percent over March of last year, according to the Houston Association of Realtors.
Low mortgage rates motivate today’s buyers to purchase homes with a sense of urgency. The realization that these times of 3 percent mortgages will not last forever adds fuel to the frenzy.
When a quality home goes on the market it often receives multiple offers from eager buyers.
“Houston’s real estate market was tight before the Big Freeze, but now it’s crazy! Inventories are at record lows, and we are seeing strong demand,” says Ann Martin, Vice President, Roger Martin Properties.
With 9,347 single-family homes sold in March, compared to 7,511 a year earlier. March 2020 was the best March ever for Houston home sales and it was the third-best sales month in the history of Houston realty.
The inventory of homes for sale hit a record low 1.4-months supply compared to 3.4 months a year earlier.
“The inventory shortage is causing stress for many folks,” said HAR Chairman Richard Miranda with Keller Williams Platinum. “Hopefully we begin to see an uptick in new listings sooner than later.”
Selling a home took significantly less time than it did a year ago. The average Days on Market fell to 45 days, from 65 days a year ago.
“We’re finding that it feels like one of the busiest times ever. Anyone who has any piece of real estate is interesting in selling and we are seeing sales at record highs. It’s going gangbusters,” said Loren Miner, an agent with Eastwood Realty.
Many homes sell for more than asking price.A recent national report from Redfin, says a record high 39 percent of homes sold for more than the asking price.
“All the bids we’ve received have been one to three percent over asking price,” says Rocio Salinas, a Realtor with Whitewall Real Estate Group based in the East End, a team that is powered by Keller Williams Houston Central. “I am continuing to see it grow – people are waiving appraisals.”
“Multiple bids are not only common, but expected in home sales and even rentals,” says Realtor Tikila Adolph of the Adolph Group. “One of our agents’ rental listing received $200 over the listed price. Home inventory is scarce and so are the materials to build the homes. Many of the builders have sold out on lots and homes before they are even available!”
What about for condos and townhouses?
“Condos have always been tricky because of the mandatory association fees and dues. But they have definitely increased in sales and leasing,” says Adolph. “Our buyers find that townhomes offer a great alternative to a smaller home than a standalone property.”
“Homes are normally closing between $5,000- to $20,000 above asking price,” says Adolph, an ordained minister who founded The Adolph Group with her husband, Willie Adolph at Equity House Properties. “One of our listings was on the market for two days, and closed within 30 days with a loan that was more than $20,000 over the asking price. Was the home underpriced? “No, we based our listing price on the value of the homes sold and on the market with similar square footage. It just seems there’s a demand for homes within the range of $150,000 and $300,000. This is definitely a sellers’ market. Which unfortunately, leaves our buyers with little or no room for negotiation.”
Strong sales volume among homes at the high end of the market pushed pricing to record highs. The single-family home average price climbed 19.9 percent to $370,847 while the median price rose 16.0 percent to $290,000.
The single-family median price climbed 16 percent in March to $290,000 – also a record high, HAR reported.
Becky Davis and her husband, Mark Standridge, both top-producing agents with the Bayou City Life Group at Compass, says Davis. “I have single family home sales inside the loop, in Sugar Land and in Cypress. It’s crazy, with the multiple offers and buyers having to pay additional amounts in order to win the deal. Everything has been very consistent. We went gangbusters in the fourth quarter of 2020 – as much as in the preceding three quarters. We started off really strong this year as well. The problem is the low inventory – you can’t sell it if it’s not out there. We have been working with some buyers for months, to find just the right property.
Heidi Dugan, a veteran at Greenwood King Properties, describes her March as exceptional. “It was like the old days, when the people moved here from New Orleans after Katrina and when oil was booming. March was my best month since Covid began. Last year, the entire year I sold $60 million. Usually, I sell $90 to $100 million annually. This year it’s only April and I’m over $40 million, so I expect to finish at least $100 million. It’s hard with the multiple bids, but I am closing like crazy. I spend a lot of time managing expectations and explaining that the buyers need to go in above list price and possibly remove some contingencies.”
At the end of the first quarter, homes sales are running 16.9 percent ahead of 2020’s record pace
The sales pace is not expected to decline any time soon. As March came to a close, Houston’s pending sales were up 61 percent.
April 14, 2021 Realty News Report Copyright 2021
File: Houston Homes Sales Up – Best March in Real Estate History
Photo credit: Ralph Bivins, Realty News Report Copyright 2021
For more about Texas real estate, check out the book Houston 2020: America’s Boom Town – An Extreme Close Up by Ralph Bivins. Available on Amazon http://tiny.cc/4a2g6y