HOUSTON – (By Michelle Leigh Smith for Realty News Report) – July was the third best month for home sales in history of Houston realty.
With 10,159 single-family home sales closed, July 2021 was only the third time that monthly sales have surpassed the 10,000-mark, the Houston Association Realtors reported.
“We are pleased to see the continued strength in the housing market continue through July,” says Paul Kilian, Senior Vice President at Sotheby’s International Realty. “Record breaking numbers have been the theme lately and the low interest rates and high buyer demand have been a big driver.”
Currently, the average 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage is 2.87 percent, according to the Freddie Mac weekly survey.
“July sales were very strong,” says Amanda Anhorn with Greenwood King Properties. “My July was similar to the months before. Those buyers who were looking back in May got offers accepted in June. Most of my listings had multiple offers. I think the suburbs are still strong (Katy, Humble and the Woodlands). August showings have slowed. I’m not sure if it is buyer fatigue, people vacationing or if they are focused on getting their children ready to head back to school. I don’t expect the previous pace to continue. I think we are getting back to a normal market.”
Over 10,000 Homes Sold in July
July’s total property sales – including single-family, townhomes, condos and lots – totaled 12,283 properties, down 3.7 percent from 12,865 sales in July of 2020, the Houston Realtors organization said.
Lisa Barnes, a listing broker and agent with Coldwell Banker says her July was fantastic. “I am seeing a bit of a slowdown in early August, as people try to squeeze in that last hurrah of vacation before school starts. Today it was almost a surprise to be able to sit down and catch up with people in the office. I am personally still somewhat busy. I am getting some rental call and calls from people who were waiting to see if prices would go down. I am showing a property to an investor tomorrow.”
The median price of a single-family home sold in July was $309,910, up about 14 percent from July of last year, the HAR reported.
Melinda Gordon of Bernstein Realty says, “Every price point has been up! If a home is priced realistically, there are often multiple offers, which then drives the price up,” says Gordon, a native Houstonian who grew up in Meyerland.
Will the sales surge go on forever?
“I get that question a lot!” Gordon says. “No one has a crystal ball! Until there is more inventory, there is no way for the surge to go away. At some point there will be more homes than buyers and things will settle down.”
Jean Shabot, with Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Premier Properties says, “Yes, the market is not continuing at the fast and frenzied state as this past spring and early summer. One reason is that inventory is slowly building up. The market is still very strong. There is a tremendous shortage of affordable homes and rentals. In that sense, the market is stressed. Interest rates are great. That is what has propelled this crazed market. July was a good month with record sales. There is a shortage of inventory. Investors are and have been coming out of the woodwork. 330,000 families moved to Texas during the pandemic from across the country. In the last ten years, 1.1 million people moved into the Houston area.”
Houston’s single-family homes inventory reached a 1.8-months supply in July, down from 2.9 months a year earlier.
“I had two closings in July and 3 under contracts,” says Sonia G. Ponce, an agent with Houston Center for Real Estate. “My sold properties were $475,000 and $250,000, and both are investment properties.”
July’s fervor of strong home sales impacts related industries like the home interior business as well.
“The home interiors business has seen an uptick in sales during the Covid times,” says Tracey Shingledecker, who owns Back Row Home with Kelly O’Donnell.
Hardy Pollard, an agent with Nan & Co. says, “My July sales were actually the best I have had this year. I represented a $1 million-dollar-buyer in the very beginning of July which was great. I did notice that the first 2 weeks of July slowed down considerably.”
The numbers are particularly high in view of the 7.4% unemployment rate, up from 3.5 in February of 2020. Houston lost 361,000 jobs at the beginning of the pandemic and recouped 213,500 of those.
Patrick Jankowski, Senior Vice President of Research with the Greater Houston Partnership says that over the last year, “We’ve sold 130,000 homes – that’s condos, duplexes, single family homes. Prices are up by as much as $100,000 over what they were this time last year. That is an absolutely phenomenal number. The problem is the lack of inventory.
“We have half of what we should have in supply,” says Jankowski. “We have 10.5 months of supply, opposed to 19.6 months of supply that we had in January of 2018. According to Zonda, there have been 12,174 new home starts. That’s the best quarter we’ve had since 2018.”
“If the region continues to conduct business as usual [no energy transition], the economy will continue to contract,” says Jankowski. “Houston could lose another 270,000 jobs over the next 30 years, according to estimates from McKinsey & Co. That could rise to 370,000 jobs if the world accelerates to low-carbon future, and as many as 650,000 if the world takes dramatic steps to prevent global temperatures from rising by more than 1.5 degrees Celsius.”
Aug 12, 2021 Realty News Report Copyright 2021
Photo: By Ralph Bivins, Realty News Report Copyright 2021
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File: Over 10000 Homes Sold in Houston