Houston Home Sales Cool Down Amid the Mid-Summer Heat

by Houston Agent

An anticipated property sales slowdown set into the Houston real estate market in July following the expiration of the federal homebuyer tax credit. The credit had propelled local home sales for four straight months beginning in March, however home sales suffered a double-digit decline in July. Despite the drop, the average price of a single-family home still managed to climb to a two-year high.

“Homebuying came earlier and at a heftier pace than we would normally have seen in Houston during the spring and summer months because of the tax credit, but indicators showed that sales would decline once the credit expired, so this comes as no surprise,” says Margie Dorrance, HAR chair and principal at Keller Williams Realty Metropolitan. “It is encouraging that pricing has remained strong and that on a year-to-date basis home sales are actually slightly ahead of 2009 levels.”

According to the latest monthly data compiled by the Houston Association of REALTORS (HAR), July sales of single-family homes throughout the Houston market fell 25.1 percent compared to July 2009. Sales volume faltered in all single-family home pricing segments except among properties under $80,000, which were flat. Sales of all property types combined slid 24.4 percent in July on a year-over-year basis.

The average price of a single-family home rose 2.7 percent from July 2009 to $224,764, the highest price since June 2008. The July single-family home median price—the figure at which half of the homes sold for more and half sold for less—dipped 0.7 percent from one year earlier to $160,880, but still recorded its highest level since July 2009.

Foreclosure property sales reported in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) tumbled 13.5 percent in July compared to one year earlier. The median price of July foreclosure sales declined 6.1 percent to $84,000 on a year-over-year basis.

Sales of all property types in Houston for July totaled 5,056, down 24.4 percent compared to July 2009. Total dollar volume for properties sold during the month was $1.0 billion versus $1.4 billion one year earlier, representing a 23.9 percent drop.

The number of available properties, or active listings, at the end of July rose 18.6 percent from July 2009 to 55,247. That represents 1,313 more active listings than one month earlier, in June 2010, and reflects additional housing inventory that is remaining on the market as a result of reduced consumer interest following the expiration of the homebuyer tax credit.

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