Houston Housing Inventory Drops to 13-Year Low as Jan. Sales Soar

by Peter Thomas Ricci


Housing inventory in Houston fell to a 13-year low in January, as home sales and prices continued to rise.

Well, what do you know – more good real estate news for Houston! In a housing market that seems immune to bad news, Houston posted another stellar month of real estate in January, though some are beginning to worry about the city’s low housing inventory.

Indeed, housing inventory for Houston continued to shrink in January, as strong home sales and a competitive real estate market pushed housing inventory to its lowest level in 13 years, according to the latest data from the Houston Association of Realtors (HAR).

Housing inventory for the month stood at just 3.6-months supply, the lowest level since December 1999, while home sales were positive for the 20th consecutive month, with single-family home sales rising 28.3 percent year-over-year.

Houston Housing Inventory Plunges on Strong Sales

Indeed, the falling housing inventory in Houston has been one of the major trends for the marketplace in the last six months. In August 2012, housing inventory fell below five months, and in December it fell below four months.

Some other stats from HAR’s report included:

  • Pending sales in January were up 13.5 percent from the year before, which likely signals positive home sales again in February.
  • Active listings were down in January by 20.3 percent from last year to 33,532.
  • The average price for single-family homes rose 3.4 percent to $200,296, the highest level ever for a January in Houston; median price, which rose 7.2 percent to $150,000, also represented an all-time high.
  • Foreclosure sales declined 11.9 percent yearly, but at 19.6 percent of all January sales, they still made up the largest share wince February 2012.
  • Finally, luxury properties continued to receive the most attention from buyers, with demand increasing as price rose. Though home sales for homes priced $1 to $79,999 increased 7.9 percent; homes priced $80,000 to $149,999 increased 22.1 percent – yet, homes priced $150,000 to $249,999 increased 37.9 percent, homes priced $250,000 to $499,999 increased 41.2 percent, and finally, homes priced $500,000 to $1 million and above saw home sales increase 56.2 percent.

Danny Frank – Houston Market Gaining “Momentum”

Danny Frank, the chairman of HAR, said that Houston’s real estate market seems to be picking up momentum, though housing inventory should be monitored.

“We are maintaining a watchful eye on the local housing supply because a significant decline from current inventory levels could potentially have an adverse effect on sales and drive prices disproportionately higher,” Frank said. “Market conditions right now are excellent for those considering selling their homes, especially as further growth in hiring continues to drive more potential buyers to the Houston area every day.”

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