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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 2005 Sales
Houston Housing Market Bucks National Trend, Closes Out With A Bang
One Out of Every 20 Properties Changed Hands in 2005, Totaling More Than $14 Billion
HOUSTON – (January 12, 2006) – While most of the country saw housing figures slow toward the end of 2005, the Houston market experienced remarkable strength in the final quarter of the year, according to statistics released by the Houston Association of REALTORS® Multiple Listing Service. What can largely be attributed to post-hurricane impact, the last few months of 2005 saw tremendous activity in both the pricing and number of homes sold, as well as in the rental sector.

Full-year 2005 total property sales reached 78,610, which was an increase of 8.9 percent over the same period in 2004, and means that one in every 20 properties in the greater Houston area changed hands during the year. Properties sold throughout the year reached an astonishing total of $14.1 billion, an increase of 15.0 percent from the $12.2 billion sold in 2004. Additionally, total property sales for the month of December totaled 6,809, which was a 7.0 percent increase over December 2004. The number of properties leased through the MLS in the fourth quarter of 2005 increased a surprising 50.0 percent, rising from 2,968 in the last three months of 2004 to 4,451 in Q4 2005. Properties listed through the MLS are more typically single-family homes, high rises, townhouse/condos, rather than apartments.

"While we did not know what ultimate impact the hurricanes would have on the local real estate market, the statistics seem to reflect that many of the people who sought shelter in and around Houston have decided to stay,” said Lorraine Abercrombie, HAR Chair and Marketing & Project Manager for Greenwood King Properties. “Luckily, our market had the available supply of homes for sale and lease to absorb the number of people who needed a place to live. We will continue to help the survivors and anyone else who is interested in buying or selling a property in 2006.”

2005 Annual Market Comparison

For the full-year 2005 Houston housing market, it was another record-breaking year that continued its show of strength that has been sustained since 1992. As previously mentioned, property sales were up 8.9 percent for the year, while total dollar volume of properties sold was up 15.0 percent. The average sales price for a single-family home in 2005 was $188,221, or a 5.7 percent increase on a year-over-year basis, with the median single-family home price of $142,000 increasing by 5.1 percent from 2004.

All Categories Full Year 2004 Full Year 2005 Percent change
Total property sales 72,184 78,610 +8.9%
Total dollar volume $12,248,107,374 $14,080,669,296 +15.0%
Average single-family sales price $178,091 $188,221 +5.7%
Median single-family sales price $135,100 $142,000 +5.1%

December Monthly Market Comparison

All listing categories combined, Houston’s overall housing market in December saw increases across the board including total property sales, average sales prices, median sales price, pending sales – those listings expected to close within the next 30 days – and overall total dollar volume on a year-over-year basis.

The number of available homes (active listings) at the end of December was 39,550 properties, which was decrease of 0.5 percent versus last December and down 6.4 percent from last month, as the market continues to tighten, probably as a result of the hurricanes. Month-end pending sales of properties reached 4,033, which was up 6.0 percent from last year, and already signals a better January 2006, compared to 3,855 properties sold in January 2005. The months inventory of single-family homes for December also continued its downward trend to 5.1 months, which is the lowest point since May 2002, signaling more of a seller’s market and also showing that demand is more than keeping up with the available supply of homes.
All Categories December 2004 December 2005 Percent Change
Total property sales 6,364 6,809 +7.0%
Total dollar volume $1,133,042,056 $1,275,055,499 +12.5%
Average single-family sales price $185,970 $197,104 +6.0%
Median single-family sales price $138,000 $147,000 +6.5%
Active listings 39,758 39,550 -0.5%
Pending sales 3,803 4,033 +6.0%
Months inventory* 5.6 5.1 -8.1%
* Months inventory estimates the number of months it will take to deplete current active inventory based on the prior 12 months sales activity. This figure is representative of the single-family homes market.
Single-family Homes Update

The overall median price of single-family homes reached an all-time record of $147,000 in December, which was an increase of 6.5 percent compared to the prior year, and the average price for single-family homes for the second month in a row reached a new all-time record of $197,104, which was up 6.0 percent versus the same period last year. This is highly unusual because prices typically decrease after the peak summer selling season. The median is a typical market price where half of the homes sold for more and half sold for less than that figure.

Houston’s current median price of $147,000 is 31.1 percent less than the national median price, which reached $213,500 in November, according to statistics released by the National Association of REALTORS®. These data continue to show the tremendous value and lower cost of living afforded to Houstonians.

Additionally, total sales for single-family homes in Houston increased by 5.6 percent to 5,557 in December, up from last year's 5,264. For the full-year 2005, 64,821 single-family homes sold, which was an 8.7 percent increase over the 59,646 homes sold during 2004.

HAR is now also reporting existing home statistics for the single-family home segment of the real estate market. For the month of December 2005, existing single-family home sales totaled 4,671, which was a 7.8 percent increase from December 2004. The median sales price for existing homes in the Houston area was $139,500, an increase of 7.4 percent compared to the same period last year. The average sales price for the month of $181,391 was an increase of 4.2 percent from last year’s level.

Townhouse/Condo Update

The overall median price in the townhouse/condo segment in Houston rose by 2.7 percent, from $118,750 in December 2004 to $122,000 last month. The average sales price for which a townhouse or condo sold in the greater Houston area was $153,899 in December 2005, which was a 4.1 percent increase from the same month last year.

Additionally, the number of townhouses and condos that sold in December increased this month compared to last year’s sales, with 650 units being sold last month, versus 621 properties in December 2004. For full-year 2005, 6,988 townhouse/condos sold, which was a 2.7 percent increase compared to the 6,801 units sold during the same period of 2004. This also makes the townhouse/condo segment the second most active in the region, with 8.9 percent of all properties sold, behind only single-family homes.

Houston Real Estate Milestones in December
  • Reached the all-time highest average sales price for single-family homes in a single     month.
  • Marked the all-time highest median sales price for single-family homes in December.
  • Marked the highest dollar volume of sales in a single year.
    The computerized Multiple Listing Service of the Houston Association of REALTORS® includes residential properties and new homes listed by 22,000 REALTORS throughout Harris, Fort Bend and Montgomery counties, as well as parts of Brazoria, Galveston, Waller and Wharton counties. Residential home sales statistics as well as listing information for about 43,000 properties 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 includes 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.)

    Founded in 1918, the Houston Association of REALTORS® (HAR) is a 23,000-member organization of real estate professionals engaged in every aspect of the industry, including residential and commercial sales and leasing, appraisal, property management and counseling. It is the largest individual membership trade association in Houston, as well as the second largest local association/board of REALTORS® in the United States.