The Houston Association of Realtors’ recently released monthly market update shows strong March numbers that, while not yet reflecting the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, point to a robust market better positioned than many to withstand the turmoil ahead.
Single-family home sales in March increased 8.2% year over year, while sales of all property types were up 6.9 percent year over year. Total dollar volume for the month jumped 11% year over year to more than $2.6 billion.
Single-family homes priced between $500,000 and $750,000 led the way in March sales, followed by homes in the $250,000 to $500,000 range. Median prices for single-family homes rose 4.1% year over year to $249,900, while the average price climbed 3.8% to $309,785. Both figures represent the highest prices ever for the month of March.
But the COVID-19 outbreak only began to impact the Houston real estate market in the last week of March, which meant that week’s numbers were offset by sales earlier in the month driven by historically low interest rates. HAR expects to see adjustments in April, when the full effects of the pandemic start to become apparent.
“What’s about to happen to Houston real estate reminds me of Hurricane Harvey in that we are bracing for impact, but don’t yet know what the full extent on the market will be,” said HAR Chairman John Nugent with RE/MAX Space Center.
In the meantime, HAR announced it will unveil a virtual tour feature on its website in the next several days that allows Realtors to host and post virtual open houses and conduct virtual showings. Consumers can watch them live on HAR.com at scheduled times, and Realtors can then share the recordings on their own websites and social media platforms.
“There are consumers out there for whom finding a home is critical, however, HAR has urged all Realtor members to conduct as much business as possible online, using technology such as virtual open houses, virtual tours and electronic signature documents, in the interest of protecting everyone’s health,” Nugent continued. “What’s most important during this pandemic is for everyone to be responsible community stewards and heed the warnings of health experts and local officials.”