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Houston home sales surge 30 percent in August

Houston home sales surge 30 percent in August

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Photo by Ralph Bivins

Houston home sales were up more than 30 percent in August, one of the largest increases ever reported by the Houston Association of Realtors.

A total of 5,543 single-family homes were sold in August, up 30.2 percent from the 4,257 houses sold in August 2010, the association said. 

Part of the reason for the unusually large increase is the fact that August of last year was incredibly horrible for housing. Last summer, home sales plummeted after the expiration of the home buyer tax credit.

 Part of the reason for the unusually large increase is the fact that August of last year was incredibly horrible for housing. Last summer, home sales plummeted after the expiration of the home buyer tax credit. 

"The Houston real estate market's vital signs appear to be quite healthy as we move from the summer buying season into the fall, but we must remain mindful that we are still comparing 2011 home sales to that period last year when transactions slowed dramatically after the tax credit expired," said Carlos Bujosa, HAR chairman and vice president at Transwestern.

When the market was peaking in 2007 and 2007, Houston had over 7,000 single-family home sales in the months of August.

But the summer of 2011 has been impressive with notable increases in June, July and August.

And in the starter-home market, the sales increase was phenomenal. August sales of homes priced below $80,000 skyrocketed 45.4 percent, the association reported. Sales of homes that make up the luxury market—priced from $500,000 and up—jumped 22.4 percent for the month, compared to August of last year.

“We are feeling really positive,” said Cheri Fama, executive vice president of John Daugherty Realtors. “Our company has exceeded our goals and our sales are up 27 percent above last year.”

Corporate relocations have brought thousands of jobs to Houston, providing a boost to the housing market, Fama said. Houston has gained over 60,000 new jobs in the last year.

Exceptionally low interest rates – with 30-year-home loans below 5 percent – have also encouraged buying, Fama said.

The number of properties listed for sale dropped to 48,752 sales, an 11.5 percent decrease from August of last year, the Houston realty group reported.

The median price of a home sold in August was $159,000, up slightly from the $158,500 median in August of 2010. The median is the midpoint with half the homes selling for more and half for less.