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HOUSTON’S MARCH HOUSING NUMBERS SHOW STABILITY DESPITE ONGOING ENERGY JITTERS
Mid-range housing sees sales gains; overall market is ahead year-to-date
HOUSTON — (April 13, 2016) — Despite continued strains in the oil patch, the Houston real estate market demonstrated more sustainable conditions in March, with positive sales among mid-range homes and a growing supply of homes from which buyers can choose.
According to the latest monthly report prepared by the Houston Association of Realtors (HAR), March single-family home sales declined 2.2 percent versus March 2015, with a total of 6,001 sales compared to 6,137 a year earlier. On a year-to-date basis, however, home sales are 1.0 percent ahead of last year’s pace. New listings helped boost inventory from a 2.8-months supply to 3.6 months.
“Overall home sales held steady throughout March, and much of that may be due to an influx of new residents throughout the Houston area even as the energy industry suffered more layoffs,” said HAR Chairman Mario Arriaga with First Group. “Positive home sales in the $150,000 to $250,000 price range and increasing housing inventory suggest that we are in a more sustainable market.”
In its April 2016 report on the Houston economy, the Greater Houston Partnership (GHP) cited U.S. Census Bureau data showing the Houston metropolitan area leading the nation in population growth in 2015, with the addition of over 159,000 new residents. GHP stated that since April 2010, Houston has added over 736,000 residents and that energy industry layoffs have been offset by job creation in other sectors.
Home prices showed mixed readings in March. The single-family home average price declined 1.6 percent to $272,658. The median price—the figure at which half of the homes sold for more and half sold for less—rose 2.4 percent to $215,000, the highest price ever for a March.
March sales of all property types in Houston totaled 7,375, down 1.0 percent from the same month last year. Total dollar volume for properties sold in March fell 2.5 percent to $1.9 billion.
Houston’s Still Setting Records
Metro Houston led the nation in population growth last year, adding more than 159,000 residents, according to recent estimates by the U.S. Census Bureau.
The Dallas-Fort Worth metro, with a net gain of 144,000 residents, ranked second. Atlanta, with a gain of 95,000 residents, ranked third. Since the April ’10 census, Houston has added more than 736,000 residents, the largest gain of any metro area over that period. That’s the equivalent to adding the metro Charleston, SC population (744,526) to the nine-county Houston region.
Last year’s population gains help to explain how Houston managed to eke out modest job growth despite the drop in oil prices, the collapse in the rig count, and the wave of oil industry layoffs. The influx of new residents supported demand for consumer-oriented services such as health care, retail, restaurants, bars, and education. These sectors created enough jobs in ’15 to offset losses elsewhere in the economy. The influx also helped sup-port demand for housing, both single- and multi-family, though that demand has begun to taper in recent months.
See the Economic Overview of Houston here
Courtesy Greater Houston Partnership