Real Estate Rumblings

Houston's real estate market is unstoppable: Home sales just keep climbing, defying drop off predictions

Houston's real estate market is unstoppable: Home sales keep climbing

home prices home sales off the chart
Home prices have gone off the charts. Sozdaniye-Saytov.tecama.ur

Houston real estate recorded its strongest September on record last month, as the home buying spree showed impressive staying power.

In September, 6,490 single-family homes were sold in the Houston area, a 7 percent increase over sales in September of 2013, the Houston Association of Realtors reports.

Many observers predicted that the Houston housing market would taper off slightly in 2014, after a record-setting year in 2013.  But sales have continued to soar this year and appear to be heading toward another annual record.

The inventory of homes for sale dipped to a 2.9-months supply in September, an extremely thin supply that can make finding a home very difficult in some parts of town. A lot of people are turning to rental properties instead of buying.

 Sales have continued to soar this year and appear to be heading toward another annual record. 

“As long as consumers continue to snap up homes at the current pace, replenishing our housing inventory will be a slow process,” says HAR chair Chaille Ralph of Heritage Texas Properties. “Rental numbers were strong in September, suggesting that many would-be home buyers are continuing to go the lease route until the market bears the homes they’re looking for at the price point that suits them.”

The local economy has been surging as the energy industry has led Houston to be the national leader in job growth. Thousands of people are relocating to the Bayou City every month. Exxon Mobil, for example, is bringing in 2,000 people to work at its new campus near The Woodlands.

The tight inventory pushes up home prices.

The median single-family home price in September was $196,000, up about 8 percent from a year ago, the Realtors association reports. The median means half the homes sold for more and half for less.

Looking back over the last decade, the home price increases have been significant. In September of 2004, the median in Houston stood at $134,900.

Sales of condos and town homes were up about 7 percent in September over a year earlier.

The total volume of all properties sold through the Houston Association of Realtors totaled $2 billion in September, up about 16 percent from a year ago.

Mortgage interest rates remain low, well under 5 percent for 30-year home loans, and that is not expected to change much for the remainder of the year.

Pending home sales, an indicator of near-term future transactions, are up 17 percent, the Realtors association reports.

So Houston’s real estate winning streak is not about to end soon.

Ralph Bivins, editor of Realty News Report, is a former president of the National Association of Real Estate Editors.