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Houston homeownership rate rockets to 15-year high, says report

Houston homeownership rate rockets to 15-year high, says report

Home for sale sold sign
Texas' homeownership rate has hit a new high mark. Photo by Ariel Skelley/Getty

Propelled in large part by rock-bottom interest rates for mortgages, the homeownership rate in Houston is knocking on the door of its highest level in at least 10 years.

An August 12 report from the Texas A&M Real Estate Center shows that in the second quarter of 2020, the Houston metro area experienced its highest homeownership rate since the center started recording the regional rate in 2005. The area’s homeownership rate was 68.2 percent in the second quarter of this year, up from 65.5 percent in the previous quarter and up from a low of 57.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2017.

The upward trend mirrors what's happening statewide. In June, Texas' homeownership rate hit a new high mark.

According to the report, a record 67.5 percent of Texans owned their homes in the second quarter of this year, up from 64.5 percent in the first quarter and from the record low of 60.8 percent in the fourth quarter of 1997.

“Despite falling sales in April and May, Texas’ second-quarter homeownership rate was the highest since recordkeeping began in 1996. Texas now lags the national rate by only half a percent, the smallest in eight years,” James Gaines, the center’s chief economist, says in an August 12 release.

Here's how the numbers break down in the state's other large cities:

Among the state’s four major metro areas, Austin saw the steepest climb in the homeownership rate. The rate jumped to 65.3 percent during the second quarter of 2020 from 59.4 percent in the previous quarter. Since the real estate center began tracking Austin’s homeownership rate in 1996, the highest rate was 69.3 percent in the third quarter of 2006 and the lowest rate was 49.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 1996.

The homeownership rate in DFW hit 64.7 percent in the second quarter of this year. That’s up from 62.7 percent in the first quarter of 2020 and slightly below the high mark of 65 percent in the first quarter of 2010. The real estate center started tracking DFW’s homeownership rate in 2005.

In the San Antonio area, the second-quarter homeownership rate was sandwiched between its highest-ever and lowest-ever rates since 1996. The rate for this year’s second quarter stood at 66.2 percent, up from 66 percent in the previous quarter. Since 1996, the highest rate was 76 percent the fourth quarter of 2004 and the lowest rate was 56.3 percent in the first quarter of 1996.

Spikes in homeownership rates across the state’s four major metro areas came despite a recent jump in median sale prices. Real estate platform Zillow reports that as of the end of June, the median sale price of a single-family home was:

  • $256,400 in Houston, up 1.7 percent from the same time a year ago.
  • $246,753 in San Antonio, up 3.8 percent from the same time a year ago.
  • $289,000 in DFW, up 2.3 percent from the same time a year ago.
  • $342,345 in Austin, up 3.7 percent from the same time a year ago.

Gaines says pent-up demand and record-low mortgage rates pushed statewide home sales up 29.4 percent in June.

“Texas homes are selling at a record pace. A dwindling supply of active listings and a resurgence in home sales pulled Texas’ months of inventory down to an all-time low of 2.8 months,” according to the real estate center’s report.