Houston real estate market continues post-Harvey rebound

www.chron.com

Home sales rallied for the second straight month after Hurricane Harvey made landfall in late August, stalling or canceling real estate transactions across the Houston area.

Buyers purchased 6,381 single-family homes in October, a 7.5 percent jump over the same time last year, the Houston Association of Realtors said Wednesday in a monthly report.

The median price of a home sold in October was $226,491, up 3.9 percent from last year and a high for any October in Houston.

Demand, combined with flood-damaged homes that have been pulled off the market, constrained inventory that had ticking up in recent months.

Down from the 4.3-month peak reached in the weeks immediately preceding Harvey, inventory was 3.9 months at the end of October. That continues to put Houston into the seller’s market category. Six months of inventory is considered to be a balanced market.

 “The overall Houston real estate market wasted little time recovering from Hurricane Harvey’s devastation, but we’d like to see supply grow to meet ongoing consumer demand for housing,” HAR Chair Cindy Hamann said in the report. “Hopefully, more balanced inventory levels can be restored by early in the new year.”

All segments of the housing market experienced sales gains in October except for homes priced below $150,000. Homes priced from $750,000 and up saw the greatest increase in sales volume.

The townhome and condominium market was up 5.8 percent with 543 units selling during October. The median price for such homes fell 3.1 percent to $153,000. Inventory was 3.9 months.

Portending another month of gains when November’s transactions are tallied, pending sales for single-family homes at the end the end of the month totaled 7,201, up 20 percent compared with last year.

On a year-to-date basis, home sales remain 2.8 percent ahead of the 2016 volume, according to the association’s Multiple Listing Service, which tracks residential property and new home sales listed by Realtors primarily throughout Harris, Fort Bend and Montgomery counties.

The rental market also continued to rise in October, bolstered by flood victims seeking temporary housing.

Single-family home leases jumped 13.6 percent while townhome/condominium leases spiked 34.8 percent. The average rent for single-family homes was up 2.8 percent to $1,776 while the average rent for townhomes/condominiums increased 2.9 percent to $1,533.

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