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 governments 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 Houstons 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. Thats 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 months 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.
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 Houstons 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.
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.