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 nations 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; its an improvement over last months 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.
Its 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, Houstons 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 months inventory of single-family homes for January came in at 6.0 months, a slight increase from Decembers 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.
Houston Real Estate Milestones in January