By Olivia Pulsinelli – Assistant managing editor, Houston Business JournalNov 13, 2019, 2:52pm EST
All of the major home-sale metrics remained strong in October, a time of year when activity often begins to slow.
The Houston Association of Realtors cited low mortgage interest rates and other positive conditions as factors helping boost sales.
Sales of single-family homes totaled 7,231 in October, up 8.1 percent compared to October 2018, HAR reported Nov. 13. So far this year, sales are up 4.2 percent from 2018, a record-setting year. Sales of all properties totaled 8,579, up 6.2 percent year over year.
Among single-family homes, sales increased among all homes priced between $150,000 and $749,999. However, sales were flat in the luxury market — homes priced at or above $750,000.
Click through the slideshow above to see the top 10 most expensive homes sold in October.
Both the median and average price for a single-family home inched up year over year, reaching records for an October in Houston. The average price was $298,354, up 1.3 percent, and the median increased 2.1 percent to $239,900. However, those are some of the smallest increases prices have seen this year, which HAR said indicates prices are starting to moderate toward the end of the year.
Total dollar volume among all property sales increased 7.9 percent year over year to nearly $2.45 billion.
Meanwhile, forward-looking metrics also continued to increase year over year. Single-family inventory is at a 4-month supply, up 0.1 months from October 2018 and down only slightly from the 4.3-month supply reached in June and July. Inventory estimates the number of months it would take to sell all the home listings on the market today based on the pace of sales over the past 12 months. For comparison, housing inventory nationwide currently stands at a 4.1-month supply. Single-family pending sales and total active listings also jumped 19.7 percent and 6.9 percent, respectively.
One area where sales did fall was the townhouse/condominium sector, which has seen alternating months of up and down sales all year. Sales rose 8.2 percent year over year in September but fell 3.2 percent in October. The average price also dropped 5.2 percent to $199,045, but the median price increased 6.8 percent to $164,500. Inventory is at a 4.7-month supply, up from 4.3 months a year earlier.
“Consumers continue to take advantage of attractive buying conditions, between low interest rates, a healthy supply of homes on the market and a strong overall Houston economy,” HAR Chair Shannon Cobb Evans with Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Gary Greene said in a press release. “Interest rates are currently forecast to remain low into the new year, so it’s possible that we get through the holidays without too much of a seasonal slowdown in home sales, but we’ll just have to see how things go.”
As of Nov. 7, the 30-year fixed mortgage rate was 3.69 percent, down slightly from 3.78 percent the prior week, according to Freddie Mac data cited by HAR. A year earlier, the rate was more than an entire percentage point higher, at 4.94 percent.