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

March 2008 Sales
Houston Property Sales Retreat Further In March

Single-family home prices hold up amid seventh consecutive monthly slide in overall property sales; home sales reach highest level of 2008


HOUSTON — (April 15, 2008) — Total property sales across greater Houston tumbled for the seventh consecutive month in March while sales of single-family homes edged up to the highest level so far this year, according to statistics released by the Houston Association of REALTORS® (HAR).

Sales of all property types for March 2008 totaled 6,098, which represents a 17.3 percent drop compared to March 2007. Total dollar volume for properties sold during the month was recorded at $1.2 billion compared to $1.4 billion one year earlier, a 16.7 percent decline. The average price of a single-family home continued to increase, growing by 2.0 percent last month from March 2007 to $208,105. The median price of a single-family home was flat at $151,000.

“Home buyers and other consumers are tightening their belts during some of the toughest economic times we’ve experienced in decades,” said Michael Levitin, HAR chairman and principal of “Many of those postponing home purchases are opting to rent for now, while those who have sold homes recently are reaping the rewards of pricing that has held steady even as sales have cooled. Houston continues to fare better than the rest of the country on the housing front and new employment figures show us leading the way with strong, sustainable job growth. Throw in historically low interest rates and Houston’s comparatively low cost of living and there’s every reason to believe that local consumer confidence will improve and help boost the real estate market.”

March Monthly Market Comparison
All listing categories combined, Houston’s overall housing market in March saw mixed results. The average single-family home sales price rose on a year-over-year basis while the median price held steady; total property sales and total dollar volume dropped.

The number of available homes, or active listings, at the end of March was 52,270 properties, a 9.2 percent increase over March 2007. The figure was up 962 properties from February 2008, reflecting the continuing sales slowdown.

Month-end pending sales – those listings expected to close within the next 30 days – reached 4,585, which was 18.9 percent lower than last year and suggests the possibility of another sales decline next month. The month’s inventory of single-family homes for March came in at 6.3 months, a slight increase from February’s 6.1-month figure. This compares to the March 2007 single-family homes inventory of 5.5 months.

Total property sales 7,371 6,098 -17.3%
Total dollar volume $1,458,033,306 $1,214,883,676 -16.7%
Average single-family sales price $204,088 $208,105 +2.0%
Median single-family sales price $151,080 $151,000 -0.1%
Total active listings 47,872 52,270 +9.2%
Total pending sales 5,653 4,585 -18.9%
Months inventory* 5.5 6.3 +15.1%
* 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 average sales price for single-family homes was $208,140 in March, up 2.0 percent versus the same period last year when it was $204,088. The overall median price of single-family homes in March was $151,000 compared to the national single- family median price of $193,900, according to statistics released by the National Association of REALTORS®. These data continue to illustrate the higher value and lower cost of living found in the Houston market.

Additionally, total March sales of single-family homes in Houston came in at 5,113, which was 16.4 percent lower than March 2007 and the steepest decline since sales began to slide last September.

Improved year-over-year sales activity continued in Houston’s low-end single-family home markets, with a 4.1 percent increase among homes priced below $80,000. However, after enjoying monthly gains since last fall, sales of homes priced above $500,000 fell 15.7 percent in March.

HAR also reports existing home statistics for the single-family home segment of the real estate market. In March 2008, existing single-family home sales totaled 4,206, which was a 15.7 percent drop from March 2007. At $190,954, the average sales price for existing homes in the Houston area rose 1.4 percent compared to the same period last year. The median sales price of $140,000 for the month was unchanged from last year’s level.

The Days on Market statistic for March dropped to 87 from 92 a month earlier but exceeded the 80 days recorded in March 2007.

Townhouse/Condo Update
At $126,950, the median price in the townhouse/condominium segment in Houston fell 6.2 percent from March 2007 to 2008. The average sales price for which a townhouse or condominium sold in the greater Houston area was $159,012 last month, down 9.7 percent compared to March 2007.

March sales of townhouses and condominiums reached the highest level since August 2007 but were down from one year earlier. In the greater Houston area, 538 units were sold last month versus 588 properties in March 2007, translating to an 8.5 percent decrease in year-over-year sales.

Houston Real Estate Milestones in March

  • Seventh consecutive monthly decline in property sales;
  • Largest number of single-family home sales of 2008;
  • Average single-family home prices increased by 2.0 percent while median single-family home prices remained flat;
  • Sales of single-family homes below $80,000 continued to rise by 4.1 percent while the series of monthly sales increases among homes priced above $500,000 ended with a 15.7 percent decline.
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.