Hurricane Harvey causes declines in August home sales

by Rincey Abraham

cityscape of Houston in late afternoon light

The Houston real estate market saw major declines in August as the city was hit with torrential rain and flooding from Hurricane Harvey.

Single-family home sales dropped 25.4 percent in August compared to last year while total property sales dropped 24.2 percent, according to the Houston Association of Realtors. This is the first month of declines in nearly a year.

However, 2017 has been such a strong year for the Houston market that on a year-to-date basis, home sales are still 1.8 percent above 2016 levels at this point.

“Hurricane Harvey dealt a severe blow to the Houston area and Texas Gulf coast and it will probably be several weeks until we can gauge the storm’s full impact on our housing market,” said HAR Chair Cindy Hamann. “Home sales were humming throughout the first three weeks of August, but the moment Harvey struck the region, everything came to a screeching halt.”

Although overall sales numbers dropped in August, prices continued to increase. The median single-family home price rose to $231,700, a 3 percent increase from last year, while the average price increased 2.6 percent to $296,418.

Townhome and condominium sales fell 31.4 percent in August. The median home price increased 2.0 percent to $159,000 while the average price dropped slightly, a 1.1 percent decrease to $196,230.  

The number of days on homes spent on the market was unchanged in August at 50 while single-family home inventory grew from a four-month supply to 4.4 months. Townhome and condo inventory also grew from a 3.7-month supply 4.6 months. However, HAR expects inventory to decline significantly in the upcoming months as residents’ demands for undamaged and repaired homes will most likely outpace supply.

“HAR continues to encourage anyone who has housing available for temporary occupancy (up to 12 weeks) to please post it on our Harvey Temporary Housing page as soon as possible to provide housing to those in need,” Hamann added.

  August 2016 August 2017 Change
Total property sales 9,335 7,077 -24.2%
Total dollar volume $2,562,458,783 $1,993,970,105 -22.2%
Total active listings 38,086 42,822 12.4%
Single-family home sales 7,927 5,917 -25.4%
Single-family average sales price $288,920 $296,418 2.6%
Single-family median sales price $225,000 $231,700 3.0%
Single-family months inventory 4.0 4.4 0.4 mos.
Single-family pending sales 6,680 6,295 -4.7%
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