Houston Housing Cools With Temperatures

After a sizzling summer for the Houston housing market, things were bound to pull back a bit with the onset of fall and that is what has happened.  The Houston Association of Realtors (HAR) says single-family home sales for September were down 5.8 percent compared with the same month a year ago, to a total of 6,548.  However, home sales are still up 5.6 percent for the year-to-date compared with last year.

Prices are still climbing, as well.  "The single-family average price is now $295,000 and our median price is up to $232,000," says Kenya Burrell-VanWormer, HAR chairwoman.  "So we're experiencing highs as it relates to sales price."

As for the sales decline, Burrell-VanWormer notes that the figures are still skewed by the impact of Hurricane Harvey.  "We had numbers for August that didn't really reflect a true market because of some of the changes we experienced with Harvey," she says.

Regardless of Harvey's impact, one thing hasn't changed.  Houston is still a seller's market.  "We still have very low inventory and very high demand in our marketplace," says Burrell-VanWormer.  "A healthy market is usually driven by about a six-month inventory supply, and we are at a four-month supply."

Another factor impacting the market is steadily rising interest rates, which have brought the average rate on a 30-year mortgage to five percent, a nearly 8-year high.  Despite that news, Burrell-VanWormer remains fairly bullish on the Houston market.  "Houston still has a very strong economy, and I think that's what is really going to drive us toward the end of the year," she says.  "We do have a healthy supply of homes...it's not the most homes that we've ever had on the market, but it's still healthy enough to sustain our marketplace."

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