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Housing Market Proves It Is 'Houston Strong' After Harvey

MLS Report for September 2017

Battered by Hurricane Harvey during the final week of August, the Houston real estate market demonstrated its ‘Houston Strong’ resiliency during the four weeks that followed with a rebound in home sales and the strongest rental activity of all time.

According to the latest monthly report produced by the Houston Association of Realtors (HAR), single-family home sales climbed 4.2 percent compared to last September, coming back from a nearly 24 percent plunge in August. All segments of the housing market enjoyed gains except for homes priced below $150,000, with the greatest sales volume reported among homes in the $500,000 to $750,000 range. On a year-to-date basis, home sales remain 2.3 percent ahead of the 2016 volume despite Harvey’s rampage.

As expected, property flooding and continued consumer demand for homes lowered inventory levels. While housing inventory grew from a 3.9-months supply to 4.1 months year-over-year, it was down compared to the 4.4-months supply immediately preceding Harvey’s arrival.

Market Observations and Pricing

"I don’t think anyone expected to see home sales in positive territory this soon after a natural disaster of Harvey’s magnitude, but the September report speaks volumes about the incredible resiliency of the Houston real estate market,” said HAR Chair Cindy Hamann. “We are still mindful of the terrible property losses suffered across the region and continue to urge anyone who may have housing available for those in need (for up to 12 weeks of occupancy) to please post it on our Harvey Temporary Housing page at www.har.com/temporaryhousing".

Pricing never skipped a beat during or after Harvey. The single-family home median price (the figure at which half of the homes sold for more and half sold for less) rose 5.5 percent to $232,000. The average price increased 5.4 percent to $291,767. Both figures are record highs for a September.

September sales of all property types in Houston totaled 8,150, an increase of 3.4 percent versus the same month last year. Total dollar volume for properties sold jumped 10.2 percent to $2.3 billion.

September Monthly Market Comparison

With surprising but welcome improvement from the Harvey-influenced August report, Houston’s September housing market indicators provided positive readings across the board as single-family home sales, total property sales, median and average pricing, total dollar volume and inventory were all up compared to September 2016.

Month-end pending sales for single-family homes totaled 6,606, an increase of 13.1 percent over last year. Total active listings, or the total number of available properties in the marketplace, rose 7.4 percent from September 2016 to 40,848.

Single-family homes inventory edged up from a 3.9-months supply to 4.1 months year-over-year. However, that is down from the 4.4-months supply that prevailed before Harvey struck, as consumers scrambled for available housing. Housing inventory across the U.S. currently stands at a 4.2-months supply, according to the latest report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

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