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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 May 2008
May Brings Continued Blend Of Sluggish Sales And Appreciating Pricing To The Houston Housing Market

Townhome/condo prices reach an all-time high while the average sales price of a single-family home increases to the second highest level ever

HOUSTON — (June 17, 2008) — Single-family home sales across greater Houston fell again in May while the average price of those properties rose for the fourth consecutive month to the second highest level ever, according to statistics released by the Houston Association of REALTORS® (HAR). Sales of single-family homes slid 15.3 percent on a year over year basis, with May marking the ninth straight monthly decline. But the number of closed sales was the highest since last August.

The average price of a single-family home rose by 0.6 percent last month to $214,732 from $213,430 in May 2007. That’s the second highest average price since the figure peaked at $218,583 in June 2007. At $155,000, the median price of a single-family home in May represented the highest point for 2008, but was unchanged from one year earlier.

Sales of all property types for May 2008 totaled 7,110, reflecting a 17.1 percent drop compared to May 2007. Total dollar volume for properties sold during the month was recorded at $1.4 billion versus $1.7 billion one year earlier, a 14.9 percent decline.

“Appreciating home prices remain the bright spot in our monthly report of property sales activity in the Houston market, with homeowners deriving solid value from their properties,” said Michael Levitin, HAR chairman and principal of “Buyers are benefiting from an attractive selection of housing inventory from which to choose along with historically low interest rates. We continue to look forward to the start of a turnaround in overall sales performance later this year.”

May Monthly Market Comparison
All listing categories combined, Houston’s overall housing market saw mixed results in May. 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 May was 53,305 properties, a 3.2 percent increase over May 2007. The figure was up 225 properties from April 2008.

Month-end pending sales – those listings expected to close within the next 30 days – totaled 4,828, which was 15.6 percent lower than last year and hints at the possibility of another sales decline next month. The month’s inventory of single-family homes for May came in at 6.6 months, a slight increase from April’s 6.4-month figure. This compares to the May 2007 single-family homes inventory of 6.0 months.

Total property sales 8,574 7,110 -17.8%
Total dollar volume $1,746,802,462 $1,487,163,376 -14.9%
Average single-family sales price $213,430 $214,732 +0.6%
Median single-family sales price $155,000 $155,000 0.0%
Total active listings 51,676 53,305 +3.2%
Total pending sales 5,722 4,828 -15.6%
Months inventory* 6.0 6.6 +9.6%
* 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 $214,732 in May, up 0.6 percent versus the same period last year when it was $213,430. The overall median price of single-family homes in May was $155,000 compared to the national single-family median price of $200,700 reported by the National Association of REALTORS®. These data continue to illustrate the higher value and lower cost of living that prevail in the Houston market.

Additionally, total May sales of single-family homes in Houston came in at 5,996, which was 15.3 percent lower than May 2007. Positive year-over-year sales activity continued in Houston’s low-end single-family home market, with a 12.6 percent increase among homes priced below $80,000.

HAR also reports existing home statistics for the single-family home segment of the real estate market. In May 2008, existing single-family home sales totaled 5,154, which was a 12.8 percent drop from May 2007. At $198,663, the average sales price for existing homes in the Houston area dipped 0.6 percent compared to the same period last year. The median sales price of $147,000 for the month was unchanged from last year’s level.

The Days on Market (DOM) statistic for May dropped to 78 from 84 a month earlier, slightly exceeding the 72 days registered in May 2007. The DOM is at its lowest level since last September.

Townhouse/Condo Update
Both median and average pricesin Houston’s townhouse/condominium segment reached the highest levels of all time. The median price rose 16.2 percent to $156,900 from May 2007 to 2008. The average sales price for which a townhouse or condominium sold in the greater Houston area was $177,911 last month, up 8.5 percent compared to May 2007.

The number of townhouses and condominiums sold in May reached the highest level since August 2007, but were down from one year earlier. In the greater Houston area, 614 units were sold last month versus 762 properties in May 2007, translating to a 19.4 percent decrease in year-over-year sales.

Houston Real Estate Milestones in May

  • Second highest average single-family home sales price ($214,732);

  • Highest average and median sales prices for townhouses/condominiums;

  • Largest number of single-family home sales since August 2007;

  • Largest number of townhouse/condominium sales since August 2007;

  • Sales of single-family homes below $80,000 continued to rise by 12.6 percent;

  • Lowest Days on Market since September 2007.

  • 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.