A powerful close to a record-breaking year in Houston real estate

by Kerrie Kennedy

December is traditionally a time when real estate markets go into hibernation, but Houston’s December market performed more like a bull than a bear.

According to new data from the Houston Association of Realtors, December 2019 delivered the year’s strongest percentage increase in single-family home sales, climbing 14.3 percent year-over-year. Sales of homes priced between $425,000 and $500,000 were 27.2 percent higher when compared to December 2018, homes in the $150,000 to $250,000 range rose 13.7 percent, and homes in the luxury segment ($750,000 and above) increased 12.7 percent.

Prices also set new highs in December. The median price for a single-family home rose 4.6 percent to $251,000 while the average price went up 2.5 percent to $312,922.

It was a stellar close to a stellar year that surpassed 2018’s record volume by almost five percent.  “During the latter half of 2019, we had a sense that we were headed toward a record year for Houston real estate, but no one expected it to be this strong a finish,” said new HAR Chairman John Nugent.  “Townhomes and condominiums had a roller coaster ride and the luxury market cooled a bit, but overall, 2019 was a phenomenal year.”

According to HAR’s report, total dollar volume for 2019 climbed 6.7 percent from 2018 to a record-setting $30 billion. Total transactions also set records in 2019, with sales of all property types totaling 102,593, the first time that total property sales in Houston have ever broken the 100,000 level.

Other records set throughout the year in Houston included:

  • May: Record high average price of $322,143
  • June: Record high median price of $252,700
  • July: Greatest one-month sales volume of all time with 8,918 single-family homes sold.

Low interest rates, a healthy job market and a stable supply of homes — rising from a 3.6-months supply in January to a peak of 4.3 months in June and July — were all factors that contributed to a ground-breaking year for Houston real estate, according to the report.

While December also brought a slight decrease in inventory (3.4 months supply from 3.5 months), the National Association of Home Builders recently predicted 2020 will mark a period of growth in housing starts. “As long as the Houston economy remains healthy and we see some growth in housing inventory, we expect 2020 to get off to a positive start,” Nugent said.

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