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MLS Press Release

Media Contacts

Public Relations Manager
3693 Southwest Freeway
Houston, TX. 77027
Phone: 713-629-1900 x258
E-mail: david.mendel@har.com
Chief Communications Officer
3693 Southwest Freeway
Houston, TX. 77027
Phone: 713-629-1900 x155
E-mail: matt@har.com
Multiple Listing Service of the Houston Association of REALTORS® includes residential properties and new homes listed by 36,000 REALTORS®
December 1997 Sales
Houston housing market sets new record for sales
 
HOUSTON – (January 20, 1998) The Houston housing market capped a record setting 1997 with the best December for resale home sales in the history of the city.

There were 41,033 resale homes sold through the Houston Association of Realtors Multiple Listing Service in the greater Houston area in 1997 including a record 3,752 in December. This compares with 37,560 homes sold in 1996 and 3,054 in December of that year.

The number of pended sales (houses with contracts expected to close in the next 90 days) remains high at 2,784 demonstrating no weakening in the strong trend. The number of available listings has dropped to 24,536… the lowest number of resale houses available in the greater Houston area in more than two decades.

"This puts the punctuation on the strong market we’ve seen this year," explained George Stephens, chairman of the board of the Houston Association of Realtors and broker/president of ERA Stephens Properties.

"All of the economic indicators, which have been positive straight across the board, have converged so that sellers are able to sell and buyers are able to buy," Stephens explained.,

Recent record-low interest rates have helped keep buyers strong in what is becoming a sellers’ market.

"These figures should serve as the starting gun for anyone considering getting on the home-buying track," Stephens said. "All indicators are that prices will only increase in the coming year." Stephens suggested that consumers can get a complete picture of houses available in the area including prices and features at www. har.com. The free service can track homes by several criteria and does not require any type of sign-up or identification.

Resale housing inventory (homes of all classes available for sale) in the greater Houston area peaked at 37,751 units in May of 1993. The market has not seen that number fall consistently below 30,000 until summer 1997. Of the 24,536 listings available at the end of December, only 15,681 were single family homes.

The combined forces of strong employment, high consumer confidence and low interest rates helped the Houston market absorb a large housing oversupply over the past decade. The result is dramatically demonstrated in the December 1997 to December 1996 comparisons. Total sales were up 23 percent, with townhouse/condominiums sales spiking 29 percent. New home indicators are strong with an increase of nearly 30 percent in residential lot sales through the MLS in a December to December comparison.

Traditionally a slow time for sales, December finished the year as the fifth busiest home sales month in 1997.

"You don’t expect December to be one of your strongest months. This is another indicator that a strong spring is ahead," Stephens said.

The Great Northwest Houston area, bounded by Interstate 45, Texas 249, Beltway 8 and Spring Cypress, lead all areas in total sales for the thirty-third straight month with 199 sales and another 144 sales pended. Southwest Montgomery County with 175 sales and 144 pended sales followed closely behind and Fort Bend, Friendswood, West Houston and Memorial areas also posted solid gains.

The median sales price in the region overall is $95,000. This meant that half the homes sold for less than this price and the other half sold for more than the median. The average sales price in December was $122,593, up 3 percent from last December.
 
The computerized Multiple Listing Service of the Houston Association of Realtors includes residential properties and new homes listed by 10,000 Realtors throughout Harris, Fort Bend and Montgomery counties, as well as parts of Brazoria, Galveston, Waller and Wharton counties. All reported MLS data is preliminary and subject to changes. The Houston Association of Realtors is the largest trade association in Houston and the largest local Realtor association in the nation. Residential home sales statistics, as well as listing information for more than 22,000 homes, can be found on the Internet at http://www.HAR.com.

Media Contacts

Public Relations Manager
3693 Southwest Freeway
Houston, TX. 77027
Phone: 713-629-1900 x258
E-mail: david.mendel@har.com
Chief Communications Officer
3693 Southwest Freeway
Houston, TX. 77027
Phone: 713-629-1900 x155
E-mail: matt@har.com