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

December 2002 Sales
Sales of Existing Homes in Harris County Up in 2002
Houston-Area Real-Estate Market Continues to Grow
HOUSTON (January 15, 2003) - Sales of single-family resale homes in Harris County rose 1.2 percent during 2002 compared to 2001, according to the Houston Association of Realtors'® Multiple Listing Service. In 2001, single-family homes sold by Realtors topped out at 29,252 and increased by 1.2 percent to 29,604 in 2002.

Beyond Harris County, the real-estate market throughout the greater Houston area and surrounding counties also showed strong gains throughout 2002, resulting in the greatest amount of homes sold by Realtors in one year. The total number of Realtor listings closed in the Houston-area MLS in 2002 surpassed 2001's figure of 56,980 by 5.7 percent, closing the year at 60,247.

Available inventory listed by Realtors in the MLS system also experienced growth. The year began with an available inventory of 27,786 active listings. Figures increased steadily throughout the year, peaking at 34,027 in October and finishing in December at 32,347. The peak in 2001 occurred during September with 29,625 listings. The overall yearly average number of available listings during 2002 also rose to 31,366, representing the highest amount of inventory since 1996. There was an average of 27,953 available listings during 2001.

"Traditionally, high inventory is an indicator of slowing sales, however this is not the case," said Dovie Morgan, chairman of the Houston Association of Realtors. "New home builders and traditional do-it-yourselfers are now realizing the value of using a Realtor to market their property."

During 2002, new homes accounted for 14 percent of single-family home sales. This represents 18 percent more new homes listed by Realtors than in 2001.

The median price for single-family homes in 2002 was $131,638, representing an increase of 5.7 percent over 2001's figure of $124,356. Record high prices and sales totals translated into a total dollar volume for 2002 of approximately $10,025,649,810 billion, an increase of 14.2 percent from 2001's total of $8,775,799,298 billion.

"Houston's real estate market contributed more than $10 billion to the economy during 2002," said Morgan. "After all, the housing market is what some economists say is fueling our economy."

A recent article in the December 30 issue of Fortune magazine stated that real estate is currently defying history. Traditionally, the housing market generally slumps along with stocks during a recession. Despite sagging stocks and recession, the housing market has weathered the storm. Housing is expected to contribute 40 percent of projected GDP growth in 2002, more than twice what it usually adds.
Year-to-Date Comparison
2001 2002 Percent Change
Total home sales 56,980 60,247 + 5.7%
Total dollar volume $ 8.8 billion $ 10 billion + 14.2%
Peak median price, single-family home $131,250 $137,500 + 4.8%
Avg. no. of active listings per month 27,953 31,366 + 12.2%
The MLS system serves as an aggregate for Houston and it's surrounding counties. Sales activity may be brisk in one area, and not necessarily the other. The following chart illustrates the sales activity for single-family homes in each of the major counties that represent the majority of the listings in the MLS including Harris, Fort Bend, Brazoria and Montgomery counties.
Resale Homes Listed by Realtors
# of Sales
2001 2002 % Change
Harris 29,252 29,604 +1.2 %
Fort Bend 4,746 4,955 + 4.4 %
Montgomery 3,561 3,642 +2.3%
Brazoria 1,263 1,399 +10.8%
Median Price
2001 2002 % Change
$112,000 $112,000 +6.0%
$137,900 $145,000 +5.2%
$132,300 $137,500 +3.9%
$127,000 $132,551 +4.4%

New Homes Listed by Realtors
# of Sales
2001 2002 % Change
Harris 3,332 3,954 +18.7%
Fort Bend 1,249 1,313 +5.1%
Montgomery 699 806 +15.3%
Brazoria 223 363 +62.8%
Median Price
2001 2002 % Change
$197,260 $191,950 +2.7%
$205,775 $209,250 +1.7%
$173,190 $178,167 +2.9%
$177,415 $190,505 +7.4%
December market comparison (includes all Realtor listings in the greater Houston-area and surrounding counties)
December 2001 December 2002 Percent Change
Total property sales 4,396 4,967 +13%
Total dollar volume $706,575,269 $886,696,289 +25.5%
Active listings 26,583 32,347 +21.7%
Pending sales 2,629 2,604 -1%
The computerized Multiple Listing Service of the Houston Association of Realtors includes residential properties and new homes listed by more than 17,000 Realtors throughout Harris, Fort Bend and Montgomery counties, as well as parts of Brazoria, Galveston, Waller and Wharton counties. For specific questions regarding a certain area, contact your Realtor. The information published and disseminated to the HAR Multiple Listing Services is communicated verbatim, without change by Multiple Listing Services, as filed by MLS participants. The MLS does not verify the information provided and disclaims any responsibility for its accuracy. All data is preliminary and subject to change. Monthly sales figures reported since November 1998 include a statistical estimation to account for late entries. Twelve-month totals may vary from actual end-of-year figures. (Single-family detached homes were broken out separately in monthly figures beginning February 1988.)

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 34,000 listings can be found on the Internet at