Houston Association of Realtors Releases May Housing Report
Area Home Sales Continue to Climb
In May, single family home sales in northeast Houston rose for the third straight month in response to record-low mortgage rates and the lingering effects of the federal home buyers’ tax credit, according to the Houston Association of Realtors (HAR).
The HAR monthly report for May showed a 22 percent gain versus last year in home sales in both HAR Area #1 (Atascocita/Humble) and Area #32 (Kingwood). HAR Area #40 (Montgomery County Southwest) was up 14 percent, slightly behind the Houston market overall which sold 19 percent more single family homes sold than last year.
“The homebuyer tax credit was a real shot in the arm for the Houston real estate market, but we are beginning to see sales volume trend toward more seasonal levels now that the incentive has expired,” said Margie Dorrance, HAR chair and principal at Keller Williams Realty Metropolitan. “This is still an excellent time to buy a home, as mortgage interest rates are at the lowest levels in more than half a century, and the Houston market in particular offers so many different varieties of properties to meet every consumer’s unique needs.”
In response to the tax credit of $8,000 for first-time buyers and $6,500 for resale buyers, active listings were up in all areas. Listings in the Houston market and Area #1 jumped 17 percent versus a year ago. Area #40 recorded a huge 32 percent gain in listings and Area #32 had a 14 percent increase in the number of homes on the market versus last year.
The only negative statistic was a decline in median prices for single family homes. The Houston market saw its first decline in median home prices in a year: down 1.4 percent. Whereas, local areas were down more dramatically: Area #1 -6.6 percent; Area #32 -11.5 percent and Area #40 -3.8 percent. These results are most likely a reflection of first time home buyers heading for the suburbs and buying lower price point homes, according to Lisa Dempsey, Keller Williams Realty Northeast senior team leader.
Dempsey said she expects the effects of the home buyers’ tax credit to impact area home sales for several more months. The U.S. Senate is considering extending the closing deadline for the tax credit until September 30 for those who signed a contract to purchase a home by April 30. That would give busy settlement offices more time to catch up with the high volume of transactions.