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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 2009

July Marks Houston’s Highest Home Sales Volume in a Year

Month also brings second highest median price of a single-family home; foreclosures recede

HOUSTON — (August 18, 2009) — Seasonal summer home buying and continued activity among first-time homebuyers translated to a significant improvement in single-family home sales across greater Houston in July, with the highest volume since July 2008 and the second highest median price in history. This comes despite year-over-year declines in overall property sales of 5.1 percent and 4.4 percent for single-family homes, according to new monthly data compiled by the Houston Association of REALTORS® (HAR). However, those declines are the smallest recorded since the economic downturn began in the fall of 2007.

At $163,000, the July single-family home median price—the figure at which half of the homes sold for more and half sold for less—rose 1.5 percent from one year earlier to the second highest price ever. The highest median of all time, $164,500, was reached in June 2009. The average price of a single-family home in Houston dipped 1.8 percent last month to $220,030 compared to July 2008. That represents the second highest average price since August 2008.

Foreclosure property sales continued to slow in July, making up 16.6 percent of all single-family home sales in the Houston area compared to 18.0 percent in July 2008 and 34.0 percent in January of this year. The median price of July foreclosure sales reported in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) declined 2.8 percent from $92,664 to $90,000 on a year-over-year basis.

Sales of all property types in Houston for July totaled 6,744, off 5.1 percent compared to July 2008. Total dollar volume for properties sold during the month was $1.4 billion versus $1.5 billion one year earlier, representing a decline of 6.2 percent—the smallest since November 2007.

“Strong pricing performance, an easing decline in sales volume and the slowdown of foreclosure sales make for very positive indicators about the state of Houston’s real estate market,” said Vicki Fullerton, HAR chair and broker of record at RE/MAX of The Woodlands & Spring. “We look forward to further improvement as the tax credit incentive, historically low interest rates and an attractive variety of housing inventory continue to draw buyers to the marketplace.”

July Monthly Market Comparison
The month of July brought Houston’s overall housing market mixed results when all listing categories are compared to July of 2008. Total property sales, total dollar volume and average single-family home sales prices were down on a year-over-year basis while median single-family home sales prices rose to the second highest level ever.

The number of available properties, or active listings, at the end of July fell 13.4 percent from July 2008 to 46,598. That is 609 more active listings than one month earlier, in June 2009, and continues to reflect balanced housing inventory levels.

Month-end pending sales—those listings expected to close within the next 30 days—totaled 3,909, which was 17.8 percent lower than last year and portends another decline in sales when the August numbers are tallied. The month’s inventory of single-family homes for July came in at 6.5 months, down from 6.7 months one year earlier. The national month’s inventory of single-family homes fell slightly to 9.4 months, according to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR).

Total property sales 7,108 6,744 -5.1%
Total dollar volume $1,532,595,492 $1,437,300,889 -6.2%
Average single-family sales price $224,104 $220,030 -1.8%
Median single-family sales price $160,550 $163,000 1.5%
Total active listings 53,779 46,598 -13.4%
Total pending sales 4,758 3,909 -17.8%
Months inventory* 6.7 6.5 -2.8%
* 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 $163,000, the median sales price for single-family homes reached the second highest level ever, up 1.5 percent from July 2008, when it was $160,550. The national single-family median price reported by NAR is $181,600, illustrating the continued higher value and lower cost of living that the Houston market offers consumers. The average price of single-family homes in July was $220,030, slipping 1.8 percent from one year earlier.

July sales of single-family homes in Houston totaled 5,788, down 4.4 percent from July 2008, and accounted for the 23rd consecutive monthly drop. However, that volume is the highest since July 2008, and the 4.4 percent decline is the smallest fluctuation since the market downturn started in late 2007. Year-over-year sales of single-family homes priced between $150,000 and $250,000—the second busiest segment of the housing market—rose 1.2 percent in July.

HAR also reports existing home statistics for the single-family home segment of the real estate market. In July 2009, existing single-family home sales totaled 4,928, a 2.5 percent decrease from July 2008. At $155,000, the median sales price for existing homes in the Houston area rose 3.3 percent compared to last year. The average sales price of $206,401 for the month was flat compared to one year earlier.

Townhouse/Condo UpdateThe number of townhouses and condominiums sold in July fell compared to one year earlier. In the greater Houston area, 550 units were sold last month versus 586 properties in July 2008, translating to a 6.1 percent decrease in year-over-year sales. However, that still represents the highest sales volume since August 2008.

The median price of a townhouse/condominium dipped 1.5 percent year-over-year to $133,000. The average price rose 2.6 percent to $169,838 from July 2008 to July 2009.

Lease Property Update
Demand for single-family home rentals rose slightly in July, up 6.7 percent compared to a year earlier. Year-over-year townhouse/condominium rentals were unchanged.

Houston Real Estate Milestones in July

  • At $163,000, the median price of a single-family home was the second highest of all time;

  • Sales of single-family homes priced between $150,000 and $250,000—the second busiest segment of the housing market—rose     1.2 percent;

  • Volume of single-family home sales reached the highest level since July 2008;

  • Volume of single-family home sales reached the highest level since August 2008;

  • Month’s inventory of single-family homes dipped from 6.7 to 6.5 months compared to the national average of 9.4 months;

  • Active listings fell 13.4 percent, representing a generally balanced supply of housing inventory.

  • The computerized Multiple Listing Service of the Houston Association of Realtors® includes residential properties and new homes listed by 23,000 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 23,000-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.