Houston Short Sale Real Estate

Jul 1, 2011

HOUSTON (August 16, 2011) What do you get when you compare seasonal summer home buying in a single month to the same month a year earlier shortly after a home buyer tax credit expired? If it's July 2011 in Houston, Texas, it's a nearly 17 percent increase in home sales. Last year's third quarter slowdown in home sales continues to make this year's generally "typical" real estate activity appear slightly more positive than it otherwise would be considered. July marked the third time in 2011 that sales volume entered positive territory. It also saw the average price of a single-family home reach its highest level for a July in Houston.

According to the latest monthly data compiled by the Houston Association of REALTORS (HAR), July sales of single-family homes rose 16.7 percent versus one year earlier. That third increase of the year followed gains in January and June. All segments of the housing market, from the sub-$80,000 to the $500,000 and above, experienced positive sales. On a year-to-date basis, sales declined 2.2 percent. Compared to July of 2009, a year with no unusual market factors like Hurricane Ike in 2008 and the 2010 tax credit, single-family home sales were down 12.2 percent.

"It is still premature to label this latest increase in home sales a true positive indicator, but with the effects of last year's tax credit fading and local employment figures strengthening, we should soon have an accurate reading on the Houston real estate market," said Carlos P. Bujosa, HAR chairman and VP at Transwestern. "I believe the year-to-date and July 2009 comparisons probably yield the most realistic picture of what's happening locally, and that places Houston in an enviable position when you see how other real estate markets around the country continue to struggle.

The average price of a single-family home rose 0.7 percent from July 2010 to $224,110, an all-time high for a July in Houston and the second highest average price of 2011. The July single-family home median pricethe figure at which half of the homes sold for more and half sold for lessincreased 0.3 percent year-over-year to $160,000. That is unchanged from June and remains the highest that the median price has been this year.

Foreclosure property sales reported in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) increased 13.5 percent in July compared to one year earlier. Foreclosures comprised 19.6 percent of all property sales, up slightly from the June level but lower than the first five months of the year. The median price of July foreclosures was unchanged at $84,000 on a year-over-year basis.

July sales of all property types in Houston totaled 5,962, up 17.1 percent compared to July 2010. Total dollar volume for properties sold during the month increased 18.7 percent to $1.27 billion versus $1.07 billion one year earlier.

July Monthly Market Comparison

The month of July brought Houston's overall housing market largely positive results when all sales categories are compared to July of 2010. However, as has been noted for the past few months, sales volume gains were skewed by the 2010 tax credit that resulted in a decline in home sales after it expired. Total property sales and total dollar volume rose on a year-over-year basis. The average price reached a record high for a July in Houston and the median price edged up year-over-year.

Month-end pending sales for July totaled 3,659, up 12.0 percent from last year. The rate is moving more in line with levels typically seen during the summer home sales months, but still reflects the rapid pace at which 2010 sales went under contract in advance of the tax credit closing deadline.

The number of available properties, or active listings, at the end of July declined 9.5 percent from July 2010 to 50,022. The inventory of single-family homes dipped to 7.6 months compared to 7.7 months one year earlier. That means that it would take 7.6 months to sell all the single-family homes on the market based on sales activity over the past year. The figure is significantly better than the national inventory of single-family homes of 9.5 months reported by the National Association of REALTORS (NAR).

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