HOUSTON - (Jan. 19, 2010) - The Houston real estate market closed out 2009 with a more realistic snapshot of local conditions, ending three months of sales readings that appeared high when compared to the fall of 2008 due to Hurricane Ike's crippling effects on housing back then.
According to the latest monthly data compiled by the Houston Association of REALTORS® (HAR), December volume of single-family home sales across the greater Houston area dipped 2.1 percent compared to December 2008. That represents the first decline since last August. Total December property sales were flat on a year-over-year basis.
At $152,550, the December single-family home median price-the figure at which half of the homes sold for more and half sold for less-rose 5.2 percent from one year earlier, representing the eighth consecutive monthly increase in median price. The average price of a single-family home in Houston appreciated for a third straight month, reaching $219,214, up 15.1 percent versus December 2008. That figure represents the second highest for all of 2009 and the highest for a December in Houston.
Foreclosure property sales made up 21.0 percent of all single-family home sales in the Houston area in December compared to 25.5 percent a year earlier and the 2009 peak of 34.0 percent last January. The median price of December foreclosure sales reported in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) rose 4.2 percent to $89,900 on a year-over-year basis.
Sales of all property types in Houston for December totaled 5,267, flat compared to December 2008. Total dollar volume for properties sold during the month was $1.1 billion versus $976 million one year earlier, representing an increase of 12.9 percent.
"The December housing data suggests that we are finally out from under the veil of Hurricane Ike and probably seeing some of the seasonality that typically affects real estate markets during the holidays," said Margie Dorrance, HAR chair and principal at Keller Williams Realty Metropolitan. "Houston begins 2010 on strong footing compared to much of the country, and between the homebuyer tax credit and low interest rates, we anticipate healthy growth in the months ahead, provided there is stability in the local job market."