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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 2009

Houston Property Sales and Prices Maintain Third Straight Month in the Black in November

Year-over-year comparisons remain distorted due to Hurricane Ike, but longer-term view continues to show signs of recovery

HOUSTON — (December 15, 2009) — The effects of Hurricane Ike and simultaneous economic downturn affecting Houston’s real estate market in November 2008 continue to distort year-over-year comparisons which reflect yet another month of double-digit increases. However, longer-term analysis aimed at gleaning a more realistic view of market conditions shows November 2009 real estate activity to be comparable to that seen at the cusp of the recession, in the fall of 2007.

November marked the third straight month in which property sales volume and pricing recorded gains. According to the latest monthly data compiled by the Houston Association of REALTORS® (HAR), November volume of single-family home sales across the greater Houston area rose 32.8 percent compared to November 2008. Total property sales climbed 37.1 percent in November on a year-over-year basis.

In addition to the comparative affects on sales data from last year’s natural disaster and economic recession, HAR member REALTORS® report that at least some of the month’s homebuying activity can be attributed to consumers scurrying to beat the original November 30 homebuyer tax credit deadline before Congress voted to extend and expand the program.

At $150,000, the November single-family home median price—the figure at which half of the homes sold for more and half sold for less—rose 8.7 percent from one year earlier, representing the seventh straight monthly increase in median price. The average price of a single-family home in Houston was $198,948, up 6.7 percent last month versus November 2008. The median price reached the highest level ever for a month of November in Houston.

Foreclosure property sales continued to decline in November, making up 15.8 percent of all single-family home sales in the Houston area compared to 27.4 percent in November 2008 and the 12-month peak of 34.0 percent in January of this year. The median price of November foreclosure sales reported in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) rose 9.5 percent to $93,000 on a year-over-year basis.

Sales of all property types in Houston for November totaled 5,353, up 37.1 percent compared to November 2008. Total dollar volume for properties sold during the month was $1.0 billion versus $714 million one year earlier, representing an increase of 44.5 percent.

“This is the third month in a row in which a year-over-year comparison exaggerates the local housing landscape because Hurricane Ike continued to hurt the Houston real estate market last November,” said Vicki Fullerton, HAR chair and broker of record at RE/MAX of The Woodlands & Spring. “We are very encouraged that property sales activity appears to be close to levels reached right before the recession took hold, and expect more realistic year-over-year data in the months ahead so we can again compare apples to apples.”

November Monthly Market Comparison
The month of November brought Houston’s overall housing market positive results when all listing categories are compared to November of 2008. Total property sales, total dollar volume and both median and average single-family home sales prices were all up on a year-over-year basis.

The number of available properties, or active listings, at the end of November fell 4.0 percent from November 2008 to 45,452. That housing inventory represents 28 more active listings than one month earlier, in October 2009.

November’s month-end pending sales—those listings expected to close within the next 30 days—totaled 2,741, which was 12.8 percent lower than last year. While such a decrease typically portends a decline in sales volume for the following month, the Hurricane Ike effect and interest in the homebuyer tax credit make it tricky to forecast. The months inventory of single-family homes for November came in at 6.0 months, down from 6.1 months one year earlier, and remains healthier than the national months inventory of single-family homes of 7.0 months, reported by the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR).

CATEGORIES November 2008 November 2009 PERCENT CHANGE
Total property sales 3,904 5,353 37.1%
Total dollar volume $713,994,683 $1,031,455,912 44.5%
Total active listings 47,354 45,452 -4.0%
Total pending sales 3,144 2,741 -12.8%
Average single-family sales price $186,449 $198,948 6.7%
Median single-family sales price $138,000 $150,000 8.7%
Months inventory* 6.1 6.0 -1.8%
* 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 $150,000, the median sales price for single-family homes rose for the seventh consecutive month, up 8.7 percent from November 2008. That represents the highest median price ever recorded in a month of November in Houston. The national single-family median price reported by NAR is $173,100, illustrating the continued higher value and lower cost of living that consumers enjoy in the Houston market. The average price of single-family homes in November was $198,948, an increase of 6.7 percent from one year earlier.

November sales of single-family homes in Houston totaled 4,519, up 32.8 percent from November 2008. This is the third consecutive monthly increase in sales volume and, again, is considered an anomaly because of Hurricane Ike’s disruption of thousands of real estate transactions last fall.

HAR also reports existing home statistics for the single-family home segment of the real estate market. In November 2009, existing single-family home sales totaled 3,721, a 34.8 percent increase from November 2008. At $142,000, the median sales price for existing homes in the Houston area rose 13.6 percent compared to last year. The average sales price of $182,883 climbed 12.3 percent from its November 2008 level.

Townhouse/Condo Update
The number of townhouses and condominiums sold in November rose dramatically compared to one year earlier—again, the product of the market interruption caused by Hurricane Ike. In the greater Houston area, 502 units were sold last month versus 286 properties in November 2008, translating to a 75.5 percent boost in year-over-year sales.

The median price of a townhouse/condominium rose 13.7 percent year-over-year to $134,500. The average price climbed 5.3 percent to $162,708 from November 2008 to November 2009.

Lease Property Update
Demand for single-family home rentals fell 9.0 percent in November compared to a year earlier. Year-over-year townhouse/condominium rentals declined by 2.9 percent.

Houston Real Estate Milestones in November

  • Single-family homes sales increased for a third consecutive month, by 32.8 percent;

  • Existing single-family home sales increased for a third consecutive month, by 34.8 percent;

  • Total property sales increased for a third consecutive month, by 37.1 percent;

  • The median price of a single-family home was up for the seventh straight month, reaching the highest level ever recorded in a     November ($150,000);

  • Month’s inventory of single-family homes dropped from 6.1 to 6.0 months compared to the national average of 7.0 months


    The computerized Multiple Listing Service of the Houston Association of Realtors® includes residential properties and new homes listed by 24,000 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 50,000 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 24,000-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 local association/board of Realtors® in the United States as well as the largest individual membership trade association in Houston.