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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®
January 2008 Sales
2008 OPENS WITH A CONTINUED DECLINE IN HOUSTON PROPERTY SALES

January sales of single-family homes hit the lowest level in three years while year-over-year average home prices continue to rise

 

HOUSTON — (February 19, 2008) — Consumer worries about the nation’s real estate crunch and the traditionally sluggish Christmas-New Year holiday period combined to slow property sales across greater Houston during the first month of 2008. On the heels of one of the best years on record, January sales of single-family homes dipped to the lowest level since January 2005, according to statistics released by the Houston Association of REALTORS? (HAR).

Total property sales for January 2008 registered 4,353, which represents a 17.2 percent drop compared to January 2007 and marks the fifth consecutive monthly decline; it’s an improvement over last month’s 23.5 percent fall. Properties sold during the month totaled more than $811 million compared to nearly $890 million in sales one year earlier, an 8.8 percent decline. The average price of a single-family home rose 4.9 percent last month from January 2007 to $190,233, representing the biggest increase since last August. The median price of a single-family home dipped 2.8 percent to $139,000.

“It’s not unusual to see a decline in property sales at the beginning of a new year, when consumers are generally recovering from holiday spending,” said Michael Levitin, HAR Chairman and principal of HTownRealty.com. “The latest numbers suggest that consumers may also be reacting to news reports about the troubled national real estate landscape, despite the fact that Houston has enjoyed a comparatively robust housing market, thanks largely to local job growth. Home buyers in Houston stand to benefit from low interest rates, affordable pricing and a good selection of inventory.”

January Monthly Market Comparison
All listing categories combined, Houston’s overall housing market in January saw mostly negative results. The average single-family home sales price rose while the median price dropped slightly on a year-over-year basis; both total property sales and total dollar volume fell.

The number of available homes (active listings) at the end of January was 50,709 properties, which was a 13.4 percent hike versus last January. The figure was an increase of 1,143 properties from December 2007, reflecting the sales slowdown.

Month-end pending sales – those listings expected to close within the next 30 days – reached 4,269, which was down 11.3 percent from last year and signals another likely decline in sales next month, based on volatility in sales figures. The month’s inventory of single-family homes for January came in at 6.0 months, a slight increase from December’s 5.9-month figure which was the lowest level Houston recorded since April 2007. This compares to the January 2007 single-family homes inventory of 5.1 months.

 
ALL CATEGORIES JANUARY 2007 JANUARY 2008 PERCENT CHANGE
Total property sales 5,105 4,353 -17.2%
Total dollar volume $889,882,307 $811,658,699 -8.8%
Average single-family sales price $181,282 $190,233 +4.9%
Median single-family sales price $143,000 $139,000 -2.8%
Total active listings 44,685 50,709 +13.4%
Total pending sales 4,812 4,269 -11.3%
Months inventory* 5.1 6.0 +18.1%
* Months inventory estimates the number of months it will take to deplete current active inventory based on the prior 12 months sales activity. This figure is representative of the single-family homes market.
 
Single-Family Homes Update
The average sales price for single-family homes was $190,233 in January, up 4.9 percent versus the same period last year when it was $181,282. The overall median price of single-family homes in January was $139,000, the lowest level since January 2005 and 35.1 percent below the national single-family median price of $217,600, according to statistics released by the National Association of REALTORS®. These data continue to demonstrate the higher value and lower cost of living found in the Houston market.

Additionally, total sales of single-family homes in Houston in January came in at 3,620, which was 12.0 percent lower than January 2007 but an improvement over last month’s 16.5 percent decline.

The most dramatic year-over-year sales activity was observed in Houston’s low- and high-end single-family home markets, with increases of 32.5 percent among homes priced below $80,000 and 30.3 percent among homes priced above $500,000.

HAR also reports existing home statistics for the single-family home segment of the real estate market. In January 2008, existing single-family home sales totaled 2,980, which was a 10.6 percent drop from January 2007. At $129,900, the median sales price for existing homes in the Houston area was down 2.9 percent compared to the same period last year. The average sales price of $174,737 for the month represented an increase of 3.0 percent from last year’s level.

The Days on Market statistic for January rose to 92, the longest period since February 2004 and well in excess of the 81 days recorded in January 2007.

Townhouse/Condo Update
At $128,250, the median price in the townhouse/condominium segment in Houston rose 9.6 percent from January 2007 to 2008. The average sales price for which a townhouse or condominium sold in the greater Houston area was $160,455 last month, which was a 9.1 percent year-over-year increase from January 2007.

However, there was a notable downturn in the number of townhouses and condominiums that sold in January. In the greater Houston area, 344 units were sold last month versus 487 properties in January 2007, translating to a 29.4 percent decrease in year-over-year sales.

Houston Real Estate Milestones in January

  • Single-family home sales at lowest level since January 2006;
  • Biggest increase in average single-family home prices since August 2007.
 
The computerized Multiple Listing Service of the Houston Association of Realtors® includes residential properties and new homes listed by 26,000 Realtors throughout Harris, Fort Bend and Montgomery counties, as well as parts of Brazoria, Galveston, Waller and Wharton counties. Residential home sales statistics as well as listing information for more than 53,000 properties may be found on the Internet at http://www.har.com.

The information published and disseminated to the HAR Multiple Listing Services is communicated verbatim, without change by Multiple Listing Services, as filed by MLS participants.

The MLS does not verify the information provided and disclaims any responsibility for its accuracy. All data is preliminary and subject to change. Monthly sales figures reported since November 1998 includes a statistical estimation to account for late entries. Twelve-month totals may vary from actual end-of-year figures. (Single-family detached homes were broken out separately in monthly figures beginning February 1988.)

Founded in 1918, the Houston Association of Realtors® (HAR) is a 27,000-member organization of real estate professionals engaged in every aspect of the industry, including residential and commercial sales and leasing, appraisal, property management and counseling. It is the largest individual membership trade association in Houston, as well as the second largest local association/board of Realtors® in the United States.