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Multiple Listing Service of the Houston Association of REALTORS® includes residential properties and new homes listed by 47,000 REALTORS®

March 1998 Sales
Resale Home Sales Continue The Climb To New Levels
Monthly Sales Records Combine for 9,745 First Quarter Home Sales
HOUSTON (April 15, 1998) - The Houston real estate market continued its steady growth during the first quarter of 1998 on the strength of three consecutive record-setting months including 4,232 resale home sales in March, falling just short of the all-time monthly high set in July of last year.

"The type of growth Houston is experiencing is unprecedented, but not unexpected," said George Stephens, 1998 chairman of the board for the Houston Association of Realtors. "Over the past few years, we have seen Houston's job base expand while mortgage rates have dropped to their lowest level in more than a decade. Houstonians are taking advantage of this opportunity in record numbers."

The Houston Association of Realtors" (HAR) Multiple Listing Service (MLS) reported that 9,745 homes were sold in the first quarter of 1998 for a total dollar volume of more than $1.1 billion. This marks a 28.7 percent increase over first quarter 1997 in the number of homes sold.

During the first quarter of 1998, the median price of single-family homes climbed a steady 7.1 percent from $88,000 in January to $94,265 in March. The median price means that half the homes sold for more, half for less. Homes also spent progressively less time on the block during the first three months of 1998, as average days on the market for single-family homes dropped from 106.8 days to 96.7 days. Buyers opened 10,704 contracts in the first quarter, a 19.1 percent increase from the same period of 1997.

"Because of the enormous increase in the number of open contracts, Houston could continue to see record increases in sales through the second quarter," said Stephens. "Additionally, any increase in interest rates, even a modest one, combined with rising single-family home prices could move any prospective home buyers who've been sitting on the fence to get into the market."

The 4,232 homes sold in March represent a 31.8 percent increase over last March and contributed $510,007,334 to the total dollar volume for the quarter. Buyers opened 4,198 contracts in March, a 16.4 percent increase from March 1997. Available inventory rose to 25,194, a slight increase over February"s 25,078.

MLS also reported the median price for townhomes and condominiums in the Houston area during March was $62,500, up 17.8 percent over last March.

Single-family home sales statistics show that nearly all MLS areas experienced significant growth over last March. Among those areas reporting strong March increases were Far Northeast Houston (130.8 percent), Brazoria County (101.9 percent), Bear Creek (83.2 percent), West Houston (77.8 percent), Fort Bend Central (75.5 percent), Northwest Montgomery County (70.0 percent), Aldine-Westfield area (63.2 percent), Spring Branch (53.5 percent), Clear Lake (50.8 percent), North Houston (48.2 percent), and Galveston County (47.2 percent).

The Northwest Area, located between Interstate 45 and FM 249 and Beltway 8 to the south and Spring Cypress to the north, led all areas in March single-family home sales with 221, while Southwest Montgomery County, including The Woodlands, trailed slightly with 190.
1st Quarter Comparison
  1st Quarter 1997 1st Quarter 1998 Percent Change
Total property sales 7,575 9,745 +28.7%
Total dollar volume $846,312,485 $1,148,599,568 +35.7%
Avg. active listings per month 29,231 25,097 -14.1%
Total contracts opened 8,989 10,704 +19.1%
Average days on market 108.9 100.8 -7.4%
The computerized Multiple Listing Service of the Houston Association of Realtors includes residential properties and new homes listed by 10,000 Realtors throughout Harris, Fort Bend and Montgomery counties, as well as parts of Brazoria, Galveston, Waller and Wharton counties. All reported MLS data is preliminary and subject to changes. The Houston Association of Realtors is the largest trade association in Houston and the largest local Realtor association in the nation. Residential home sales statistics, as well as listing information for more than 22,000 homes, can be found on the Internet at