Area Home Sales Cool Down in July As Homebuyer Tax Credit Expires Houston

Association of Realtors (HAR) Releases July Market Update 

Sales of single family homes in Houston fell sharply in July after an artificial boost due to the federal tax credit came to a close.

Following four consecutive months of comparable sales gains, the Houston market sold 25 percent less single family homes in July 2010 than July 2009, according to the Multiple Listing Service Market Update released by the Houston Association of Realtors (HAR).

The same trend occurred in two areas of northeast Houston. Single family home sales in HAR Area #1 (Atascocita/Humble) and Area #32 (Kingwood) were down 27 percent and 31 percent, respectively, in July.

The growth spurt in HAR Area #40 (Montgomery County Southwest) finally cooled after a huge gain in single family home sales in this area that has lasted all year. The number of homes sold in Area #40 in July was up less than one percent versus last year.

“Home buying came earlier and at a heftier pace than we would normally have seen in Houston during the spring and summer months because of the tax credit, but indicators showed that sales would decline once the credit expired, so this comes as no surprise,” said Margie Dorrance, HAR chair and principal at Keller Williams Realty Metropolitan. She added that “it is encouraging that pricing has remained strong.”

While the median price of a single-family home in Houston dipped one percent in July, the median price at $160,880 is the highest it has been in a year. Area #1 followed Houston’s lead with a 1.7 percent decline in median price to $149,900 for July. Area #32 was flat with a median price of $176,180 which was on par with July of last year.

The bright spot was Area #40 which had a four percent increase in median price in July versus a year ago. The area which includes the Oakhurst subdivision in Kingwood also had the largest increase in available homes or active listings. At the end of July, Area #40 had 432 single family homes for sale which is 40 percent more than last year.

Houston, by comparison, had 26 percent more active listings in July versus 2009; Area #32 grew 17 percent to 550 homes on the market; and Area #1 with 1,477 homes for sale had 30 percent more active listings this July than last year.

These figures apparently reflect additional housing inventory that is remaining on the market as a result of reduced consumer interest following the expiration of the homebuyer tax credit. Historically low mortgage rates also are fueling an increase in listings as homeowners are hoping to sell their current residences to trade up or downsize.

July Market Updates

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