The Houston Association of Realtors March housing report released last week was filled with good news for the Houston area.
As predicted by a surge of mortgage applications nationwide last month, closed sales of single family homes in the Houston market climbed 11 percent in March versus a year ago.
The three HAR areas served by Keller Williams Realty Northeast saw sales gains as well. Nine percent more homes were sold in both Area 1 (Atascocita/Humble) and Area 32 (Kingwood) compared to last year. Area 40 (southeast Montgomery County) exceeded the market’s results with a hefty gain of 17.4 percent more homes sold this March.
Dramatic gains were also seen in the number of active listings on the market. Listings in the Houston market were up 7 percent in March versus 2009 with Area 40 seeing the same increase. In Areas 1 and 32, listings grew by 10 percent compared to last year.
A lot of this activity has to do with the federal government’s home buyer’s tax credit which requires a signed contract by April 30, but that is not the only thing fueling home sales, according to real estate experts.
“We are seeing more people move into the community, who are not typical relocations,” says Lisa Dempsey, senior team leader for Keller Williams Realty Northeast. “Job transfers are getting rarer because many companies have cut their relocation packages. People from other parts of the country are coming here simply because it is a prosperous place to live and raise their families.”
The March HAR report also indicated improvements in area home values. The median price of a single family home in the Houston market rose by more than 6 percent for the second month in a row. Area 32 saw a slight 2.4 percent increase in median home prices versus last March while Area 40 had a huge 28 percent gain.
The only decline was seen in Area 1 where median home prices fell 3.5 percent. First time home buyers snapping up houses at lower price points is the likely cause of the median price dip in Area 1 – one of the fastest growing areas in Texas and the nation in 2009.