February 2008 Sales
HOUSTON PROPERTY SALES CONTINUE TO SLIDE IN FEBRUARY

Sixth consecutive monthly decline is tempered by notable increases in average and median single-family home prices

 

HOUSTON — (March 18, 2008) — Property sales across greater Houston slid for the sixth consecutive month in February, but the decline was not as steep as January’s. While February sales of single-family homes dipped, the prices of those homes rose, according to statistics released by the Houston Association of REALTORSâ (HAR).

Total property sales for February 2008 registered 5,266, which represents a 13.1 percent drop compared to February 2007; it’s an improvement over last month’s 17.2 percent fall. Properties sold during the month totaled just over $1 billion compared to $1.1 billion in sales one year earlier, a 7.9 percent decline. The average price of a single-family home rose 5.6 percent last month from February 2007 to $206,140, representing the biggest increase since last August. The median price of a single-family home increased 3.1 percent to $151,430.

“Houston continues to feel the ripple effects of the national mortgage crisis,” said Michael Levitin, HAR Chairman and principal of HTownRealty.com. “However, many area Realtors are actually reporting brisk sales, which supports our contention that real estate is local, meaning some parts of town are doing well and others not so well. For Sale signs have gone up in many neighborhoods in recent weeks and sales of luxury homes remain high, so we’re hopeful that the overall numbers will soon show signs of improvement. With interest rates at historic lows, pricing that’s affordable and a good selection of inventory, this is still an excellent time for home buyers to invest.”

February Monthly Market Comparison
All listing categories combined, Houston’s overall housing market in February saw mixed results. Both average and median single-family home sales prices rose on a year-over-year basis while total property sales and total dollar volume fell.

The number of available homes (active listings) at the end of February was 51,308 properties, a 12.8 percent increase over February 2007. The figure was up 599 properties from January 2008, reflecting the sales slowdown, but only about half the increase observed between December 2007 and January 2008.

Month-end pending sales – those listings expected to close within the next 30 days – reached 4,323, which was down 10.1 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 February came in at 6.1 months, a slight increase from January’s 6.0-month figure. This compares to the February 2007 single-family homes inventory of 5.1 months.

 
ALL CATEGORIES February 2007 February 2008 PERCENT CHANGE
Total property sales 6,058 5,266 -13.1%
Total dollar volume $1,141,637,135 $1,051,418,592 -7.9%
Average single-family sales price $195,148 $206,140 +5.6%
Median single-family sales price $146,940 $151,430 +3.1%
Total active listings 45,466 51,308 +12.8%
Total pending sales 4,807 4,323 -10.1%
Months inventory* 5.1 6.1 +18.3%
* 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 $206,140 in February, up 5.6 percent versus the same period last year when it was $195,148. The overall median price of single-family homes in February was $151,430 compared to the national single-family median price of $201,100, according to statistics released by the National Association of REALTORS®. These data continue to illustrate the higher value and lower cost of living found in the Houston market.

Additionally, total sales of single-family homes in Houston in February came in at 4,431, which was 10.2 percent lower than February 2007 but a slight improvement over last month’s 12 percent decline.

Improved year-over-year sales activity continued to be observed in Houston’s low- and high-end single-family home markets, with increases of 11.1 percent among homes priced below $80,000 and 11.0 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 February 2008, existing single-family home sales totaled 3,646, which was a 10.0 percent drop from February 2007. At $141,500, the median sales price for existing homes in the Houston area was up 1.8 percent compared to the same period last year. The average sales price of $190,553 for the month represented an increase of 5.0 percent from last year’s level.

The Days on Market statistic for February remained unchanged from 92 a month earlier but in excess of the 84 days recorded in February 2007.

Townhouse/Condo Update
At $129,900, the median price in the townhouse/condominium segment in Houston rose 3.9 percent from February 2007 to 2008. The average sales price for which a townhouse or condominium sold in the greater Houston area was $163,641 last month, flat compared to February 2007.

However, there was a downturn in the number of townhouses and condominiums that sold in February. In the greater Houston area, 442 units were sold last month versus 519 properties in February 2007, translating to a 14.8 percent decrease in year-over-year sales.

Houston Real Estate Milestones in February

  • Sixth consecutive monthly decline in property sales;
  • Average and median single-family home prices increased by 5.6 and 3.1 percent, respectively;
  • Sales of single-family homes below $80,000 and above $500,000 remained up.
 
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.