MLS Press Release

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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®
February 1998 Sales
Houston Home Sales Surge In February
Statistics Report Record Highs in Sales, Total Dollar Volume and Median Price
 
HOUSTON (March 18, 1998) February home sales figures released today by the Houston Association of Realtors"(HAR) Multiple Listing Service (MLS) set a new high for sales in the month of February, as well as significant increases in total dollar volume, opened contracts and median prices.

"Homes in all parts of the city are selling faster than they were a year ago,"said George Stephens, 1998 Chairman of the Board of the Houston Association of Realtors. "February sales surged more than 30 percent over the previous record for the month, a significant increase that shows the Houston home sales market is no longer as susceptible to traditional swings in the real estate market."The MLS reported 3,200 homes were sold in February, a 31.8 percent increase over last February and a 730-home increase over the previous February record of 2,470, set in 1996. The total dollar volume for homes sold was a february-record $374,105,056, a 40.8 percent increase over last February. This also is the first time that dollar volume in February has crossed the $300 million mark. The previous high, set last February, was $265,742,439. The median price of single-family homes sold in February was a record $92,500, up 6.3 percent over last February"s $87,000. The median price means that half the homes sold for more, half for less.

The median price for townhomes and condominiums in the Houston area during February was $66,000, up 28.2 percent over last February. The median price for high rise properties was up 56.7 percent from last February to $175,500. Home buyers opened 3,506 contracts last month, a 16.4 percent increase compared to 3,011 during the same time last year.

Contracts opened, also referred to as pended, are a good indicator of closed sales 30-60 days ahead. The available inventory increased slightly from January to 25,078. This represents a 5.2 month inventory at the current rate of absorption. Additionally, single-family home sales sold at a hot pace for February, spending an average of only 98.8 days on the market. Over the past four years, single-family homes in February spent an average of 114.8 days on the market. Of the individual MLS areas, all but five zones recorded an increase in February sales while several areas posted significant increases in single-family home sales over last February including Galveston County (67.1 percent), South Katy (57.4 percent), Clear Lake (41.0 percent), Hempstead East (24.5 percent) and Southwest Montgomery County (19.6 percent). 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 in total single-family home sales with 148 sales closed.

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.