No slowdown in sight for the housing market

Home buyers kept Houston-area REALTORS® hopping in February, generating a 15.5 percent increase in sales compared to the same month last year, according to the latest monthly data compiled by the Houston Association of REALTORS® (HAR). The buying spree held local housing inventory to the same level as January — 3.6 months — which is the lowest supply of homes on the market since December 1999.

February marked the 21st consecutive month of increased home sales, with average and median prices reaching the highest levels for a February in Houston.

Contracts closed on 4,407 single-family homes during the month. All housing segments saw gains except for those priced below $80,000. That suggests the likelihood of an exhausted supply of available homes at that price point. Homes selling from $250,000 to $500,000 registered the greatest sales volume increase, accounting for the price appreciation.

“The recent flurry of home buying and reduced inventory may seem unusual, but is exactly what the Houston market experienced back in the late 1990s,” said HAR Chairman Danny Frank with Prudential Anderson Properties. “The difference is that now we are seeing multiple offers and bidding wars. We are still in a seller’s market, and I would advise anyone who is considering selling their home to consult a REALTOR® who can price it right and handle all the details and paperwork, including sorting through whatever offers may come in.”

The single-family home average price increased 9.6 percent year-over-year to $220,445, the highest level for a February in Houston. The median price—the figure at which half of the homes sold for more and half sold for less—rose 7.9 percent to $161,700, also a record high for a February.

Foreclosure property sales reported in the HAR Multiple Listing Service (MLS) declined 23.4 percent compared to February 2012. Foreclosures currently make up 15.8 percent of all property sales, down from 19.6 percent one month earlier. The median price of foreclosures climbed 7.7 percent to $85,000.

February sales of all property types in Houston totaled 5,324, a 17.2 percent increase over the same month last year. Total dollar volume for properties sold rocketed 26.5 percent to $1.1 billion versus $887 million a year earlier.

February delivered positive results to Houston’s overall real estate market when all sales categories are compared to February 2012. On a year-over-year basis, total property sales, total dollar volume and average and median pricing were all up.

This article is supplied by Houston Association of Realtors (HAR).

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