The Houston real estate market put the wraps on 2010 with signs of improvement despite six consecutive months of declining sales.
According to the latest monthly data compiled by the Houston Association of REALTORS (HAR), December sales of single-family homes throughout the Houston market slipped 3.9 percent when compared to December 2009. Positive sales activity was recorded in three of the five segments of the housing market, with the $150,000 to $250,000 segment experiencing its first growth since last May.
“We need to carefully watch how the Houston real estate market performs over the next couple of months before being able to truly determine how 2011 might pan out, but the December report contains encouraging signs,” says Carlos P. Bujosa, HAR chairman and VP at Transwestern. “A slowdown in declining sales and improvement in pending sales bode well for real estate, however rising oil prices and concerns about the employment landscape are also factors to consider as we look ahead. Mortgage interest rates are edging up, and that might spur prospective homebuyers into making purchases earlier in the year.”
Prices of single-family homes across Greater Houston continued their upward march in December while sales volume sustained the smallest reduction since the declines began last July following expiration of the homebuyer tax credit. The average price achieved an all-time high for a December in Houston and the second highest level for all of 2010.
Luxury home sales again helped push the latest pricing gains. The average price of a single-family home edged up 2.2 percent from December 2009 to $221,613 while the December single-family home median price—the figure at which half of the homes sold for more and half sold for less—rose 4.0 percent from one year earlier to $157,500. Foreclosure property sales reported in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) declined 14.3 percent in December compared to one year earlier.
Foreclosures comprised 20.1 percent of all property sales in December, remaining consistent with the levels they held for much of 2010. The median price of December foreclosures fell 7.8 percent to $82,750 on a year-over-year basis.
December sales of all property types in Houston totaled 5,131, down 3.0 percent compared to December 2009. Total dollar volume for properties sold during the month was basically flat at $1.08 billion.
For more insight, view the entire release from HAR.