The Houston market continues its rebound in 2017. 2016 ended setting new sales records both in number of properties (89,296, +2.3%) and dollar volume ($24.55 B, +4.2%) sold. Higher priced homes above $500K have especially rebounded. We now have a 3.5 month supply of housing for sale, compared to 3.4 months a year ago, and having peaked at 4.0 months supply in July. So we continue to have a strong sellers market. The national average is 4.6 months, so our market is tighter than most. We currently have 35,685 properties for sale, up 7.6% from February of 2016.
The median price also continues to go up, where half the houses sell for more, and half for less. The February median sales price was $220,000, which is 7.3% higher than a year ago, and indicating that prices are increasing at a strong pace. Pending sales are up 13.7% from February a year ago, indicating that the market has forward momentum.
Sales of houses priced under $100,000 were down 15.8% from February 2016 as a result of little inventory available in this price range. Sales of $100,000 to $150,000 houses were down 9.4 %, again a sign of too little inventory available to investors and entry level buyers, rather than market softness. We continue to find that entry level priced homes attract multiple offers the first few days on the market. Most owner occupant buyers are using FHA loans, and so the tighter appraisals are limiting what sellers can get for the property compared to what buyers are willing to pay, and the time between going under contract and closing can be 60 to 90 days. Investors are also actively paying retail prices for single family rentals.
Houses selling for $150,000 to $250,000 saw a 9.4 % increase in number sold. Sales of houses selling for $250,000 to $500,000 increased 21.1%, while those $500,000 to $750,000 increased 19.8%. Houses priced at $750,000+ saw increased sales of 27.9% compared to a year ago. It’s clear that the economy related slow down in higher end home sales has ended. We finally see tightening inventory for lease and sale property inside the loop, even in townhomes, which compete directly with the over built luxury apartment sector as an alternative to ownership.
The number of single family homes leased through HAR.com went up 8.5% from last February, though the average rent dropped 2.1% to slightly to $1652 from a year ago.