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®
March 1997 Sales
First Quarter Resale Home Sales Keep Pace With Records Set Last Year
 
With 7,575 homes sold during the first quarter of 1997, resale home sales in Houston are just 0.2 percent behind a record-setting 1996 despite a significantly lower inventory and rising interest rates.

The Houston Association of Realtors (HAR) Multiple Listing Service (MLS) also reported 8,989 contracts were opened during the first quarter of 1997, a 2.1 percent decrease compared to 9,185 during the same time period last year. Contracts opened, also referred to as pended, are a good indicator of closed sales 30-60 days ahead.

Despite the rising interest rates, the Houston market continues to be vigorous, said Robin Mueck, 1997 chairman of the Houston Association of Realtors. In fact its a paradox of real estate that as interest rates begin to rise, we often see more people buying than we do when rates are steady and low. Theres a sense of urgency in the market now - not only is it becoming more expensive to borrow money, but home prices are rising as well.

The median price of single-family homes sold in March was $88,000, up almost 5 percent over last March. The median price means that half the homes sold for more, half for less. This increase contributed to a 1.3 percent increase in the total dollar volume sold for March, $337,987,659, despite fewer sales. The average days on the market for single-family homes sold was 107.5.

The MLS reported 3,031 sales closed in March, a decrease of 3 percent over last March. Buyers opened 3,391 contracts in March, just 0.7 percent behind last March. The number of homes available remains below 30,000 for the fourth-straight month, coming in for March at 29,885. This is the longest stretch of below-30,000 inventory since the early 1980's.

Several areas experienced significant increases in single-family home sales during the first quarter. Montgomery County Southwest, including Magnolia and The Woodlands, posted a 36.2 percent increase over 1996, and the Fort Bend Central area, including First Colony and New Territory, increased sales by 26.3 percent compared to first quarter last year. The Northwest area, located between Interstate 45 and FM 249 and Beltway 8 to the south and Spring Cypress to the north, led all areas with 423 sales during the quarter, contributing to a 5 percent increase in sales over 1996.

Most areas in and around Houston continue to develop at the great pace set by 1996, said Mueck. This is a good indication that 1997 could develop into another outstanding year for the Houston real estate market.
 
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.