Storm Fails to Defeat Realty Sales Momentum

HOUSTON — (Realty News Report) Neither snow, nor ice, nor gloom of night can keep Houston Realtors from doin’ deals.

Houston home sales were up 1.2 percent in February, despite a disruptive storm that knocked out power, froze pipes and left homes damaged in mid-February.

“The Houston housing market showed resiliency again last month, coming through strong despite the brutal winter storm that caused widespread power outages, property damage and briefly held up transactions and showings,” said HAR Chairman Richard Miranda with Keller Williams Platinum.

Some sellers pulled homes off the market after broken pipes led to water damage in thousands of homes.

Despite Snow and Ice, Feb. Sales up 1.2 Percent

According to the latest Houston Association of Realtors (HAR) Market Update, 6,049 single-family homes sold in February compared to 5,979 a year earlier.

Pricing reached historic highs, with the single-family home average price rising 16.2 percent to $349,963 and the median price increasing 12.6 percent to $275,900.

Sales of all property types totaled 7,464 – up 1.9 percent from February 2020. Total dollar volume for the month rose 17.3 percent to $2.4 billion.

Mortgage rates have been rising slightly, although they remain very low in the long-term perspective.

However, the uptick could inject urgency into the market as fence-sitters jump into the buying mode to make a purchase before rates increase more significantly.

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose above 3 percent for the first time in seven months last week. According to Freddie Mac, the 30-year fixed-rate average climbed to 3.02 percent. It was 2.97 percent a week earlier and 3.29 percent a year earlier. The last time it was above 3 percent was in July of 2020.

Buyers snap up inventory at a rapid pace. The total number of available properties for sale – fell 37.9 percent as fewer new listings entered the market. At the end of February some 23,933 homes were for sale, compared to 38,517 in February of last year, HAR reported.

Facing the Terror of Shrinking Inventory

Since last summer, industry leaders have voiced panic about low inventory and predicted sales would decline because of the under supply. But buyers kept on buying despite the tight inventory and Houston’s sales in 2020 reach the highest annual total ever.

Single-family homes months of inventory registered an historic low 1.6-months supply, which is a strong sellers market. A balanced  market is when there is a 6-month supply of homes for sale.

Regarding inventory, the HAR chairman said in a press release Wednesday: “As we head into spring,  we urgently need more listings to enter the marketplace or we risk having extremely limited inventory for consumers that want to buy a home now, especially with the prospect of rising mortgage interest rates.”

Home prices continue to rise. The single-family median price climbed 12.6 percent to $275,900 – also a record high. The single-family average price reached a record high, rising 16.2 percent to $349,963, up from $301,301 a year ago.

During the February winter storm, Houston Realtors pushed ahead to keep transactions on track if possible.

Man with a Plan and a Closing Van  

“One of the title companies we use has a really nice outfitted Mercedes Sprinter van with Wi-Fi, scanner, fax and printer, so we were able to do funding from the van,” says Realtor Amanda Anhorn with Greenwood King Properties. “They were able to bring the closing to my seller. They hop in the big club chairs, sign the paperwork and go back in to their work from home office.”

The closing van is  the brainchild of Houston closing attorney Charles H. Mansour, an independent fee attorney underwritten by Fidelity National Title.

“It has been a huge hit among agents, lenders, buyers/sellers, etc. and has the tag line ‘Closer to Home,’” according to Hillary Stryker of the Mansour organization.

March 11, 2021 Realty News Report Copyright 2021

File: Storm Fails to Defeat Realty Sales Momentum

File: HAR. Houston Assn. of Realtors. Storm Fails to Defeat Realty Sales Momentum, sales up 1.2 percent. Greenwood King. Charles H. Mansour


Related posts

Bury the Hatchet: Don’t Clear-Cut Urban Tree Canopy

Realty News Report

RNR Real Estate Briefs – Texas & more

Realty News Report

De Rigueur: East River Gains a Fitness Studio

Realty News Report

Leave a Comment