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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 July 2008

Houston Area Home Prices Soar In July As Property Sales Record Another Monthly Drop

The average price of a single-family home sees its biggest increase in more than two years; median single-family home pricing hits a record high

HOUSTON — (Aug. 19, 2008) — Declining property sales tempered by strong single-family home average and median pricing prevailed across the greater Houston area for the eleventh consecutive month in July, according to statistics released by the Houston Association of REALTORS® (HAR). Sales of single-family homes slid 12.0 percent on a year over year basis – a smaller decline than the market has experienced in the past two months.

The average price of a single-family home rose by 8.0 percent in July to $226,072, second only to last month’s all-time record high of $227,274. The figure represents the biggest jump in average price since June 2006. The median price of a single-family home rose 3.4 percent last month to $161,370, surpassing its previous high of $160,000 in June 2007. Last month HAR reported a record median single-family home sale price of $162,000 for June 2008, however the revised figure for that month is $160,800. The median price is where half of the homes sold for more and half sold for less.

Sales of all property types for July 2008 totaled 7,052, reflecting a 12.7 percent drop compared to July 2007. Total dollar volume for properties sold during the month was $1.5 billion versus $1.6 billion one year earlier, a 6.7 percent decline.

“As we approach the one-year mark from when property sales began to slow, we continue to note positive signs in the form of strong pricing and stabilizing inventory,” said Michael Levitin, HAR chairman and principal of “Consumers from across the country and around the world are setting their sights on Houston, Texas as an extremely desirable place to buy a home during these challenging economic times.”

July Monthly Market Comparison
All listing categories combined, the month of July brought Houston’s overall housing market a continuation of mixed results. Both average and median single-family home sales price rose on a year-over-year basis, however total property sales and total dollar volume were down.

The number of available homes, or active listings, at the end of July was 53,779 properties, a 1.5 percent increase from July 2007. That’s 13 fewer active listings than June 2008.

Month-end pending sales – those listings expected to close within the next 30 days – totaled 4,758, which was 13.8 percent lower than last year and strongly suggests the likelihood of another sales decline next month. The month’s inventory of single-family homes for July came in at 6.7 months, unchanged from a month earlier. This compares to the July 2007 single-family homes inventory of 6.2 months.

Total property sales 8,082 7,052 -12.7%
Total dollar volume $1,644,337,747 $1,533,859,760 -6.7%
Average single-family sales price $209,264 $226,072 +8.0%
Median single-family sales price $156,000 $161,370 +3.4%
Total active listings 52,976 53,779 +1.5%
Total pending sales 5,520 4,758 -13.8%
Months inventory* 6.2 6.7 +8.3%
* 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 $226,072, the average sales price for single-family homes reached the second highest level on record in July, increasing 8.0 percent from the same period last year when it was $209,264. That’s the biggest pricing increase since June 2006. The overall median price of single-family homes in July was $161,370 compared to the national single-family median price of $206,500 reported by the National Association of REALTORS?. These data continue to underscore the higher value and lower cost of living that prevail in the Houston market.

Additionally, total July sales of single-family homes in Houston came in at 6,008, which was 12.0 percent lower than July 2007. Positive year-over-year sales activity continued in Houston’s low-end single-family home market, with a 5.6 percent increase among homes priced below $80,000. Sales of homes priced above $500,000 rose by 9.4 percent on a year-over-year basis.

HAR also reports existing home statistics for the single-family home segment of the real estate market. In July 2008, existing single-family home sales totaled 5,135, which was a 10.8 percent decrease from July 2007. At $209,413, the average sales price for existing homes in the Houston area rose 6.2 percent compared to the same period last year. The median sales price of $150,000 for the month was unchanged from one year earlier.

The Days on Market (DOM) statistic for July increased to 83 from the 72 days registered in July 2007.

Townhouse/Condo Update
The average price of a townhouse/condominium in the greater Houston area increased to $166,547, up 4.7 percent from one year earlier and the highest figure for the month of July. The median price rose 11.0 percent to $135,000 from July 2007 to 2008. That figure is also a high for the month of July.

The number of townhouses and condominiums sold in July was down from one year earlier. In the greater Houston area, 595 units were sold last month versus 658 properties in July 2007, translating to a 9.6 percent decrease in year-over-year sales.

Houston Real Estate Milestones in July

  • Second highest average single-family home sales price ever ($226,072);

  • Highest ever median single-family home sales price ($161,370);

  • Highest average sales price for townhouses/condominiums for the month of July ($166,547);

  • Highest median sales price for townhouses/condominiums for the month of July ($135,000);

  • Sales of single-family homes priced below $80,000 increased by 5.6 percent;

  • Sales of single-family homes priced above $500,000 increased by 9.4 percent

  • 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.