MLS Press Releases

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Matthew Burrus

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David Mendel

Public Relations Manager

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

October 2003 Sales
Popularity of Urban Living on the Rise in Houston
Year-to-date Homes Sales Still on Track to Break Records
HOUSTON (Nov. 17, 2003) – More Houstonians are embracing the trendy lifestyle of living downtown, according to statistics released today by the Houston Association of REALTORS® Multiple Listing Service. Residential sales, including single-family properties, townhomes/condos and highrises, in downtown Houston* have more than quadrupled within the past seven years, increasing by more than 300 percent. In addition, the median price of these properties has increased by 136.7 percent.

“The popularity of urban living is increasing as young professionals and empty-nesters are realizing the convenience and ease of access to jobs and entertainment located in and around downtown,” said HAR Chairman Dovie Morgan. “Overall, Houstonians are becoming more accustomed to the hassle-free type of lifestyle downtown living provides.”
Seven-Year Comparison of Downtown Properties including Single-family, Townhome/Condo and Highrise Categories (Properties listed on MLS)
Year (Jan. - Oct.) Number of Total Sales Median Price
2003 58 $232,000
2002 64 $205,500
2001 73 $215,000
2000 40 $136,700
1999 30 $98,000
1998 10 $87,256
1997 13 $97,000
“The increase in the number of sales, as well as the increase in median price, illustrates the trend of living downtown,” Morgan said. “As the demand for housing continues to rise in this area, we can expect the median price to rise also.”

U.S. Census Bureau statistics show that Houston, Seattle, Denver, Portland, Atlanta, Memphis and San Diego all experienced greater percentage increases in their downtown populations than in their entire urban areas over the past decade.

“Buildings that once housed companies are being converted into residential housing such as lofts, apartments and condos,” said Minnette Boesel, HAR board member and owner of downtown-based Minnette Boesel Properties. “Once the current road construction and other renovations are completed, I expect the downtown area will really boom.”

All listing categories combined, Houston’s market as a whole showed an increase across the board including sales, available inventory, pending sales and the overall total dollar volume.
October Market Comparison (all categories)
October 2002 October 2003 Percent Change
Total property sales 4,753 5,426 +14.2%
Total dollar volume $766 million $899 million +17.3%
Active listings 34,027 38,628 +13.5%
Pending sales 3,106 $136,980 +15.8%
Year-to-date total sales for 2003 continue to rise ahead of last year’s record-setting pace, with 54,183 listings sold to date. Last year’s existing sales through October 2002 totaled 50,789.

Single-family Homes Update

The median price of single-family homes reached $129,900 in October, compared to $129,000 last October. This represents the highest median price ever recorded in October. Houston’s median price of $129,900 is 32.6 percent lower than the national median price, which reached $172,300 in September, according to statistics released by the National Association of REALTORS®. The median is a typical market price where half of the homes sold for more and half sold for less.

Additionally, total sales for single-family homes increased 14.6 percent to 4,461 from last year’s 3,891. Within this single-family home category, 479 of the homes sold were new homes listed by Realtors, versus 575 new homes sold through the MLS during October 2002.**

Houston Real Estate Milestones
  • Highest number of sales ever recorded in the month of October
  • Highest single-family median price ever recorded in October
  • Highest number of pending sales ever recorded in October
  • * For reporting purposes, downtown Houston is defined as the 77002 and 77010 zip codes.
    **This statistic represents new homes that are listed by Realtors and is not representative of all new homes sold in these areas.
    The computerized Multiple Listing Service of the Houston Association of Realtors includes residential properties and new homes listed by 18,000 Realtors throughout Harris, Fort Bend and Montgomery counties, as well as parts of Brazoria, Galveston, Waller and Wharton counties. The Houston Association of Realtors is the largest trade association in Houston and the second largest local Realtor association in the nation. Residential home sales statistics as well as listing information for more than 35,000 listings can be found on the Internet at

    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.)