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

MLS Report for November 2008

Houston Property Sales Volume and Prices Decline in November Amid Growing National Economic Woes

NAR�s chief economist still pegs Houston as one of the nation�s top-performing real estate markets in 2009

HOUSTON � (Dec. 16, 2008) � The ailing U.S. economy sent ripples across the greater Houston area in November as fewer properties were bought and sold versus one year earlier. According to new monthly data compiled by the Houston Association of REALTORS® (HAR), overall property sales fell 33.7 percent last month when compared to November 2007, with sales of single-family homes down 31.7 percent. Rental properties remained in demand for the month, with leases of single-family homes up 16.0 percent and townhouses/condominiums up 2.8 percent on a year-over-year basis.

The average price of a single-family home dropped 7.0 percent last month to $187,766 from $201,862 in November 2007. At $137,500, the median price of a single-family home in November fell 7.7 percent year-over-year. The median price represents the figure at which half of the homes sold for more and half sold for less. However, on a year-to-date basis, home prices are 2.0 percent above 2007 levels, continuing to place Houston on more solid footing than markets throughout California, Florida and Nevada that have experienced double-digit home depreciation since the housing market downturn began more than a year ago.

Sales of all property types in Houston for November 2008 totaled 3,906, off 33.7 percent compared to November 2007. Total dollar volume for properties sold during the month was $719 million versus $1.1 billion one year earlier, a 37.4 percent decline.

�These are some of the toughest economic times our country has ever experienced, and Houston consumers are understandably cautious as they absorb news about layoffs, declining oil prices and other negative financial reports,� said Michael Levitin, HAR chairman and principal of �Many are opting to rent property for the time being.�

During a late November stop in Houston, National Association of REALTORS® Chief Economist Lawrence Yun praised the stability of Houston home prices and predicted that Houston and Denver would be the nation’s top performers in 2009. Yun forecast at least a five percent increase in Houston home pricing, also noting that local month’s inventory has held around six months while the national rate has been approximately 10 months, another positive indicator. He stated that despite weakness in the oil patch, overall local job growth would help Houston maintain its healthier performance relative to the nation.

�We are encouraged by Dr. Yun�s outlook for our market and hope that as Congress and the Obama administration iron out details of the federal financial bailout plan, local consumers realize that 2009 promises to be a sound time to buy or sell a home in Houston,� added Levitin.

November Monthly Market Comparison
The month of November brought Houston�s overall housing market disappointing results when comparing all listing categories to November of 2007. Total property sales and total dollar volume fell, as did average and median single-family home sales prices.<

The number of available properties, or active listings, at the end of November fell 9.3 percent from November 2007 to 47,354. That�s 1,662 fewer active listings than October 2008, and is seen as an indication that inventory levels are balanced and that home prices should remain stable.

Month-end pending sales � those listings expected to close within the next 30 days � totaled 3,144, which was 24.4 percent lower than last year and suggests another likely sales decline next month. The month�s inventory of single-family homes for November came in at 6.1 months, unchanged from one year earlier and the lowest level since February of this year.

ALL CATEGORIES November 2007 November 2008 PERCENT CHANGE
Total property sales 5,887 3,906 -33.7%
Total dollar volume $1,149,143,778 $719,143,878 -37.4%
Average single-family sales price $201,862 $187,766 -1.6%
Median single-family sales price $146,000 $142,000 -2.7%
Total active listings 53,407 49,016 -8.2%
Total pending sales 4,562 3,579 -21.5%
Months inventory* 6.2 6.3 0.0%
* 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

At $187,766, the average sales price for single-family homes dropped 7.0 percent from November 2007 when it was $201,862. The median price of single-family homes in November was $137,500, off 7.7 percent from one year earlier. That compares to the national single-family median price of $181,800 reported by the National Association of REALTORS®. These data continue to demonstrate the higher value and lower cost of living that prevail in the Houston market.

Additionally, total November sales of single-family homes in Houston came in at 3,401, down 31.7 percent from November 2007 and the fifteenth straight monthly drop.

HAR also reports existing home statistics for the single-family home segment of the real estate market. In November 2008, existing single-family home sales totaled 2,833, a 28.3 percent decrease from November 2007. At $164,694, the average sales price for existing homes in the Houston area fell 12.1 percent compared to last year. The median sales price of $125,200 for the month was also down 8.7 percent from one year earlier.

Townhouse/Condo Update
The number of townhouses and condominiums sold in October fell compared to one year earlier. In the greater Houston area, 421 units were sold last month versus 534 properties in October 2007, translating to a 21.2 percent decrease in year-over-year sales.

The average price of a townhouse/condominium dipped to $155,235, down 4.2 percent from one year earlier. The median price fell 9.8 percent to $118,250 from November 2007 to 2008.

Lease Property Update
Demand for single-family and townhouse/condominium rentals increased again in November. Single-family home rentals rose 16.0 percent in November compared to a year earlier, while year-over-year townhouse/condominium rentals were up 2.8 percent.

Houston Real Estate Milestones in November

  • Lowest month�s inventory of single-family homes since February 2008 (6.1 months);

  • Fewest active listings since December 2006 (30,167).

  • The computerized Multiple Listing Service of the Houston Association of Realtors� includes residential properties and new homes listed by 26,000 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 more than 53,000 properties may 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 27,000-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.