Houston Home Prices Reach a Seven-Month High in April
Single-family home sales volume is second highest of 2009
HOUSTON (May 19, 2009) Average and median home prices for the greater Houston area reached the highest levels since September 2008 in April, and sales volume was the second highest for 2009, reflecting a continuation of the traditional spring uptick in real estate activity. Compared to one year earlier, however, overall April property sales fell 24.3 percent and sales of single-family homes dropped 22.5 percent, according to new monthly data prepared by the Houston Association of REALTORS® (HAR).
At $149,050, the April single-family home median price the figure at which half of the homes sold for more and half sold for less held steady versus one year earlier. When foreclosures are removed from the analysis, the median price of traditional single-family homes rose slightly to $170,000. The average price of a single-family home in Houston dropped 5.8 percent last month to $194,222 compared to April 2008.
Sales of foreclosure properties, which typically sell below market prices, continue to taper. In April 2009, foreclosures made up 23.6 percent of all single-family home sales in the Houston area compared to 34.0 percent in January, 28.0 percent in February and 24.5 percent in March. The median price of April foreclosure sales reported in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) tumbled 8.6 percent from $91,000 to $83,153 on a year-over-year basis.
Sales of all property types in Houston for April totaled 4,898, off 24.3 percent compared to April 2008. Total dollar volume for properties sold during the month was $920 million versus $1.3 billion one year earlier, a 28.9 percent decline.
Demand for rental properties rose again in April, with leases of single-family homes up 8.0 percent on a year-over-year basis and leases of townhouses and condominiums up 12.2 percent.
The housing industry recovery will be a gradual process, but Houston continues to demonstrate the strength of its home values compared to other communities around the country where pricing ballooned and then bottomed out, said Vicki Fullerton, HAR chair and broker of record at RE/MAX of The Woodlands & Spring. Many HAR members are reporting growing activity among first-time home buyers who are taking advantage of historically low interest rates and the federal governments $8,000 tax credit. The real estate business typically picks up during the spring and summer months, she added.
April Monthly Market Comparison
The month of April brought Houstons overall housing market negative results when all listing categories are compared to April of 2008. Total property sales and total dollar volume fell on a year-over-year basis, as did average and median single-family home sales prices.
The number of available properties, or active listings, at the end of April fell 14.7 percent from April 2008 to 45,269. That is 499 fewer active listings than March 2009 and signals that inventory levels remain balanced.
Month-end pending sales those listings expected to close within the next 30 days totaled 3,685, which was 25.3 percent lower than last year and suggests the likelihood of a decline in sales when the May numbers are tallied. The months inventory of single-family homes for April came in at 6.1 months, down 5.7 percent from one year earlier. The national months inventory of single-family homes rose slightly to 9.8 months, according to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR).
Single-Family Homes Update
At $194,222, the average sales price for single-family homes dropped 5.8 percent from April 2008, when it was $206,239. However, the figure is at its highest level since last September. The median price of single-family homes in April was $149,050, unchanged from one year earlier. The national single-family median price reported by NAR is $175,200, illustrating the continued higher value and lower cost of living that prevail in the Houston market.
April sales of single-family homes in Houston totaled 4,200, down 22.5 percent from April 2008, and accounted for the 20th consecutive monthly drop. After several months of double-digit increases, year-over-year sales of single-family homes priced at $80,000 and below dipped 2.1 percent in April, reflecting the slowdown in foreclosure-related transactions.
HAR also reports existing home statistics for the single-family home segment of the real estate market. In April 2009, existing single-family home sales totaled 3,519, a 21.8 percent decrease from April 2008. At $178,141, the average sales price for existing homes in the Houston area fell 5.2 percent compared to last year. The median sales price of $139,000 for the month was unchanged from one year earlier.
The number of townhouses and condominiums sold in April fell compared to one year earlier. In the greater Houston area, 384 units were sold last month versus 570 properties in April 2008, translating to a 32.6 percent decrease in year-over-year sales. However, that represents the highest sales volume for all of 2009.
The average price of a townhouse/condominium dipped to $167,121, down 1.5 percent from one year earlier. However, that represents the highest price since last August. The median price declined 3.4 percent to $135,000 from April 2008 to April 2009, but is unchanged from last month.
Lease Property Update
Demand for single-family rentals increased again in April, demonstrating that rentals remain a viable housing option for buyers who may not yet be qualified or comfortable making a home purchase at this time. Single-family home rentals rose 8.0 percent last month compared to a year earlier. Year-over-year townhouse/condominium rentals rose 12.2 percent.
Houston Real Estate Milestones in April
At $194,222, the average price of a single-family home reached its highest level since September 2008;
At $149,050, the median price of a single-family home rose to the highest level since September 2008;
Volume of single-family home sales reached the second highest level of 2009;
Volume of townhouse/condominium sales reached the highest level of 2009;
At $167,121, the average price of a townhouse/condominium rose to the highest level since August 2008;
Single-family home rentals rose 8.0 percent;
Rentals of townhouse and condominium units increased 12.2 percent;
Months inventory of single-family homes dipped from 6.4 to 6.1 months compared to the national average of 9.8 months;
Active listings fell 14.7 percent, representing a generally balanced supply of housing inventory.