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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®
MLS Report for August 2008

Houston Area Housing Market Contracts Further In August

Sales of single-family homes priced below $80K continue to excel while other segments slow

HOUSTON — (Sept. 23, 2008) — Property sales across the greater Houston area suffered the biggest year-to-year decline ever in August, according to statistics released by the Houston Association of REALTORS® (HAR). August, which marked the twelfth consecutive monthly drop, saw sales of single-family homes slide 20.1 percent on a year- over-year basis.

However, home values remained the bright spot in the HAR monthly report. The average price of a single-family home rose by 4.3 percent in August to $223,933, the third highest level on record. The median price of a single-family home rose 0.6 percent last month to $160,000, tying the third highest level originally established in June 2007. The median price is where half of the homes sold for more and half sold for less.

Sales of all property types for August 2008 totaled 6,641, reflecting a 20.8 percent drop compared to August 2007. Total dollar volume for properties sold during the month was $1.4 billion versus $1.7 billion one year earlier, a 16.9 percent decline.

“The disappointing sales numbers for August indicate that consumers are taking a conservative approach to the real estate market and may continue to do so until after the presidential election,” said Michael Levitin, HAR chairman and principal of HTownRealty.com. “The federal government’s bailout plan for the financial markets, beginning earlier this month with mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, should help boost consumer confidence. However, the devastating effects of Hurricane Ike have left many throughout the greater Houston area struggling to rebuild their homes and lives, which may well mean a further sales slowdown.”

August Monthly Market Comparison

All listing categories combined, the month of August brought Houston’s overall housing market a continuation of mixed results. Both average and median single-family home sales price rose on a year-over-year basis, however total property sales and total dollar volume fell.

The number of available homes, or active listings, at the end of August was 52,831 properties, a 1.2 percent decrease from August 2007. That’s 948 fewer active listings than July 2008 and an indication that inventory levels are balanced and that home prices should remain strong.

Month-end pending sales – those listings expected to close within the next 30 days – totaled 4,299, which was 16.6 percent lower than last year and strongly suggests the likelihood of another sales decline next month. The month’s inventory of single-family homes for August came in at 6.7 months, unchanged for the third straight month. This compares to the August 2007 single-family homes inventory of 6.2 months.

ALL CATEGORIES AUGUST 2007 AUGUST 2008 PERCENT CHANGE
Total property sales 8,388 6,641 -20.8%
Total dollar volume $1,726,573,670 $1,434,906,447 -16.9%
Average single-family sales price $214,637 $223,933 +4.3%
Median single-family sales price $159,000 $160,000 +0.6%
Total active listings 53,468 52,831 -1.2%
Total pending sales 5,157 4,299 -16.6%
Months inventory* 6.2 6.7 +6.9%
* 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

At $223,933, the average sales price for single-family homes reached the third highest level on record last month and the highest figure for the month of August, increasing 4.3 percent from the same period last year when it was $214,637. The overall median price of single-family homes in August was $160,000 compared to the national single-family median price of $210,900 reported by the National Association of REALTORS®. These data continue to underscore the higher value and lower cost of living that prevail in the Houston market.


Additionally, total August sales of single-family homes in Houston came in at 5,636, which was 20.1 percent lower than August 2007. Positive year-over-year sales activity continued in Houston’s low-end single-family home market, with a 1.1 percent increase among homes priced below $80,000. Sales of homes in the $80,000 to $150,000 range, however, tumbled 24.7 percent on a year-over-year basis


HAR also reports existing home statistics for the single-family home segment of the real estate market. In August 2008, existing single-family home sales totaled 4,814, which was a 17.3 percent decrease from August 2007. At $207,642, the average sales price for existing homes in the Houston area rose 3.4 percent compared to the same period last year. The median sales price of $150,000 for the month was unchanged from one year earlier.

The Days on Market (DOM) statistic for August increased to 81 from the 74 days registered in August 2007.

Townhouse/Condo Update

The number of townhouses and condominiums sold in August fell compared to one year earlier. In the greater Houston area, 563 units were sold last month versus 736 properties in August 2007, translating to a 23.5 percent decrease in year-over-year sales.



The average price of a townhouse/condominium in the greater Houston area increased to $169,045, up 6.0 percent from one year earlier and the highest figure for the month of August. The median price rose 9.7 percent to $136,000 from August 2007 to 2008. That figure is also a high for the month of August.

Houston Real Estate Milestones in August

  • Third highest average single-family home sales price ever and highest for the month of August ($223,933);

  • Third highest median single-family home sales price and highest for the month of August ($160,000);

  • Highest average sales price for townhouses/condominiums for the month of August ($169,045);

  • Highest median sales price for townhouses/condominiums for the month of August ($136,000);

  • Sales of single-family homes priced below $80,000 increased by 1.1 percent.

  • 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.