Houston homebuyers faced higher prices, lower inventory in September

by Jason Porterfield

Houston homebuyers expecting to catch a break last month encountered a tighter-than-usual September housing market, reflecting nationwide trends in pricing and inventory.

The median listing price for the month was up 7% to $332,000 year-over-year in the Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land metro area, according to realtor.com’s September Monthly Housing Trends Report. Active listings were down 32.6% from the same period last year, while new listings dropped by 6.5%. Homes in the Houston area spent a median 52 days on the market, down from 59 in September 2019.

Homebuyers in all 50 of the nation’s largest markets encountered similar situations. September typically brings increased inventory and lower prices. This year, buyers encountered a 21% decrease in listings from the beginning of 2020, along with a 17% price increase to about $20,000 more than anticipated.

“Many buyers tend to put their home search on hold after the start of the school year, but remote learning and the desire for more space continued to fuel buyer interest in September,” said Danielle Hale, chief economist at realtor.com. “Unseasonably high buyer interest coupled with historically low inventory and favorable mortgage rates are creating a perfect storm in the housing market. While this is good news for anyone looking to sell their home, it has created tremendous competition among buyers.”

The number of people looking for homes has grown, too. There were 25% more buyers on the market in September than at the beginning of the year. In a typical September, that number increases by 7%.

Nationally, the typical home sold in 54 days in September, three days faster than in August and 12 days faster than over the same period last year. It was the first time since 2016 that homes sold faster in September than in August. In the west, homes sold seven days faster than in September 2019. Sales occurred 13 days faster in the northeast, 11 days faster in the south and nine days faster in the midwest.

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