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 Januarys. 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; its an improvement over last months 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 were hopeful that the overall numbers will soon show signs of improvement. With interest rates at historic lows, pricing thats 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, Houstons 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 months inventory of single-family homes for February came in at 6.1 months, a slight increase from Januarys 6.0-month figure. This compares to the February 2007 single-family homes inventory of 5.1 months.
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.
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