HTX Real Estate 2013
Real Estate Record Shattered

Houston home sales break an all-time record: Has a white-hot market reached its peak?

Houston home sales break an all-time record: A white-hot market sizzle

The Houston Association of Realtors reported 7,794 single-family home sales in May — the most homes sold in any month in Houston’s history.

The May sales total surpassed the previous monthly record established in June 2006 when 7,688 single-family homes were sold in the Houston area, the realty association reported.

“The market isn’t just red hot, it’s white hot,” says Shad Bogany, chairman of the Texas Association of Realtors. “The Houston market is one of the best in the country.”

Low mortgage rates and strong job growth have generated a frenzy of home selling over the last two years in Houston. Energy firms and other companies have expanded, adding more than 110,000 new jobs to the Houston economy over the last 12 months.

 “The market isn’t just red hot, it’s white hot." 

Home prices pushed upward into record-setting territory last month. The median home price, the point where half the homes sold for more and half for less, was $188,000 in May, up about 12 percent from May of last year. It is the highest median price on record, the Houston realty association reported.

Strong home sales are being reported across the city, says Heritage Texas Properties’ Chaille Ralph.

“We have 10 offices across Houston and all of our offices are seeing a lot of activity,” Ralph says.

Many homes are getting multiple offers as soon as they hit the market and houses are selling at prices above the initial listing price, notes Ralph, who is chair-elect of the Houston Association of Realtors.

The inventory of homes for sale is exceptionally tight.  Houston has a 3.3-month supply of homes for sale, down from a 5.5-month supply a year ago.

The inventory has been depleted as homes sell at the brisk pace and home builders have been very modest in starting new homes in recent years. Plus, many home buyers have refinanced their homes loans with rates below 4 percent and they are reluctant to sell after getting rates that are lower than they’ve been in more than 50 years.

The inventory of homes for sale is at its lowest point in 13 years. The Houston market is classified as a “sellers’ market,” meaning that the upper hand belongs to the sellers, not the buyers.

Home sales in May represented a 28 percent jump over the number of homes sold in May of last year.  Sales of condominiums and townhomes were up 16 percent this May over May of last year.

Pending sales activity recorded by the Houston Association of Realtors indicates that the sales surge is going to continue throughout the summer.

But mortgage interest rates have been edging up, moving above 4 percent. While 4 percent mortgages are exceptionally low by historical standards, additional rate increases could put a damper on the momentum.