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

May 1998 Sales
May Home Sales Scorch Previous Houston Housing Records
The Houston real estate market chalked up all-time record highs for closed sales, total dollar volume and median price in May, resulting in the best month ever for the industry, according to statistics reported today by the Houston Association of Realtors Multiple Listing Service (MLS).

Houston home buyers purchased 4,596 homes in May, an 8.3 percent increase over the previous high of 4,243 set in July 1997, and a 21.6 percent increase over the previous May total of 3,779. The total dollar volume for homes sold in May was a record $590,477,902, the highest total ever for one month. The volume in May represents a 13.0 percent increase over the previous monthly record also set last July, and bested the May record set last year by more than $100 million.

While the current market appears to be similar to the boom of the 80s, the crucial difference is in the listing inventory,* noted George Stephens, 1998 chairman of the board of the Houston Association of Realtors. *In the 80s, we were closing 3,000 and 4,000 sales a month, but the inventory of homes for sale was consistently above 40,000. It will be interesting to see how the market in 1998 deals with the challenge of less than a five-month inventory coupled with record demand.

Active listings dipped in May to 24,743, representing a 4.8-month inventory of homes at the current rate of absorbtion.

The median price for single-family homes sold in May in the Houston area reached $97,000, a new high for any month. The price was 3.2 percent higher than last month¢s median and 6.6 percent higher than last May. The median price means that half the homes sold for more, half for less. MLS also reported the median price for townhomes and condominiums in the Houston area during May was $64,500, up 17.3 percent over last May. The price of high rise residences increased 73.5 percent to $223,000.

The steadily-decreasing inventory of homes for sale and increasing median prices has not deterred Houston home buyers. Single-family homes sold at a scorching rate in May, spending an average of only 82.7 days on the market.

Additionally, home buyers opened 4,055 contracts last month, a new record for the month of May and a 10.5 percent increase compared to 3,669 during the same time last year. Contracts opened, also referred to as pended, are a good indicator of closed sales 30-60 days ahead.

The record number of home sales, a continuing trend towards homes selling more quickly, plus the high number of contracts pending are solid indications that the Houston resale home market will continue to perform at record levels through the summer, added Stephens.

Single-family home sales statistics show that 75 percent of all MLS areas in the seven-county region experienced double-digit growth over last May. Among those areas reporting strong May increases were North Houston (56.5 percent), West Houston (52.5 percent), Brazoria County (50.6 percent), Southwest Montgomery County (41.9 percent), Alief (39.3 percent), North Central Houston, including The Heights (32.7 percent), and Clear Lake (31.9 percent).

The Northwest area, located between Interstate 45 and Texas 249 and Beltway 8 to the south and Spring Cypress to the north, led all areas in May single-family home sales with 244, while the Southwest Montgomery County area trailed slightly with 230.
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