Houston Housing Collapse Continues…Median April Prices Hit All Time High

Houston Housing Collapse Continues…Median April Prices Hit All Time High

Inventory has crept up YOY to 3.6 mos but that is flat from March and only up from 3.2 mos in January. As a reminder 6mos is considered “equilibrium” so we are still solidly in a sellers market nowhere near a buyers market. We have to remember that 2015 was a record setting year for the Houston housing market so the fact YTD home sales are 1.6% AHEAD of 2015  is definatly good news. With oil climbing and the IEA now realizing (please note sarcasm) low prices will cause supply cuts  , we can expect oil prices to continue to inch higher. That is a tailwind for the city of Houston as it indicates the worse of the oil damage may be behind it.

The average sales price is falling slightly (median is rising) due to the mix of homes being sold:

The average price declined 1.0 percent to $278,544, while the median price rose 3.3 percent $217,000, a record high for an April in Houston. Days on Market (DOM), or the number of days it took the average home to sell, edged up to 55 days versus 51 in 2015.

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Broken out by housing segment, April sales performed as follows:

  • $1 – $79,999: decreased 12.8 percent
  • $80,000 – $149,999: decreased 19.3 percent
  • $150,000 – $249,999: increased 7.8 percent
  • $250,000 – $499,999: increased 2.1 percent
  • $500,000 and above: decreased 15.7 percent

The days on market, (DOM) while edging up YOY is down significantly from February’s 62 days and March’s 58. The market remains healthy.  The health of the mid range price market ought to help $HHC in Bridgeland as that is the level they are focusing the initial buildout of the MPC (most MPC’s do this to generate population in the MPC quickly). As the slug of initial home are built and sold (land bought in 2014-15) I think we should gradually see things start to accelerate there (additional land sales).

We are now a full year into the oil price collapse and the Houston housing market has remained resilient and in fact is on pace in term of total home sales to surpass 2015’s record numbers……..


Houston Realtors:

MLS Report for April 2016

Home sales are up year-to-date; mid-range housing remains the sweet spot

HOUSTON (May 11, 2016) The Houston real estate market continues to display healthy equilibrium despite instability in the energy industry. Overall single-family home sales volume was virtually flat in April, however mid-range homes scored another month of positive sales and the supply of homes available for sale grew some more. The average price was down slightly while the median price rose to an all-time April high.

Single-family home sales declined a fractional 0.6 percent versus April 2015, with a total of 6,310 sales compared to 6,349 a year earlier, according to the latest monthly report prepared by the Houston Association of Realtors (HAR). On a year-to-date basis, home sales are 1.6 percent ahead of last year’s pace. New listings helped inventory grow from a 2.9-months supply to 3.6 months.

“There is little to complain about in the April HAR sales report, especially when you take into account the fact that we are comparing current home sales to the Houston housing market’s record 2015 performance,” said HAR Chairman Mario Arriaga with First Group. “Indicators continue to point to more sustainable market conditions, as mid-range homes sell well and consumers find that they have more homes from which to choose than they did at this time last year.”

Home prices delivered mixed readings in April. The single-family home average price declined 1.0 percent to $278,544. The median price-the figure at which half of the homes sold for more and half sold for less—rose 3.3 percent to $217,000, the highest price ever for an April.

April sales of all property types in Houston totaled 7,583, down 2.0 percent from the same month last year. Total dollar volume for properties sold in March declined 1.6 percent to $2.01 billion.

April Monthly Market Comparison

Houston’s housing market figures were mixed in April compared to those from a year earlier, but continue to support what are considered more sustainable market conditions. On a year-over-year basis, single-family homes sales, average price and total dollar volume were down slightly while inventory levels grew and the median sales price rose to an April record high.

Month-end pending sales for single-family homes totaled 8,213, an increase of 2.3 percent compared to last year. Total active listings, or the total number of available properties, at the end of April climbed 16.7 percent from April 2015 to 34,402.

April’s increase in new listings gave single-family homes inventory a boost, with levels climbing from a 2.9-months supply to 3.6 months. For perspective, housing inventory across the U.S. currently stands at a 4.5-months supply, according to the latest report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

Total property sales 7,741 7,583 -2.0%
Total dollar volume $2,049,590,794 $2,016,963,688 -1.6%
Total active listings 29,486 34,402 16.7%
Single-family home sales 6,349 6,310 -0.6%
Single-family average sales price $281,352 $278,544 -1.0%
Single-family median sales price $210,000 $217,000 3.3%
Single-family months inventory* 2.9 3.6 22.6%
Single-family pending sales** 8,027 8,213 2.3%

* Months inventory estimates the number of months it will take to deplete current active inventory based on the prior 12 months sales activity. This figure is representative of the single-family homes market.
** Effective May 2015, in an effort to be consistent with industry standards, the Houston MLS is now including all categories of pending sales in its reporting. Previously, the Houston MLS did not include “option pending” and “pending continue to show” listings in its reporting of pending sales. The new methodology is now all-inclusive for listings that went under contract during the month.

Todd Sullivan is a Massachusetts-based value investor and a General Partner in Rand Strategic Partners. He looks for investments he believes are selling for a discount to their intrinsic value given their current situation and future prospects. He holds them until that value is realized or the fundamentals change in a way that no longer support his thesis. His blog features his various ideas and commentary and he updates readers on their progress in a timely fashion. His commentary has been seen in the online versions of the Wall St. Journal, New York Times, CNN Money, Business Week, Crain’s NY, Kiplingers and other publications. He has also appeared on Fox Business News & Fox News and is a RealMoney.com contributor. His commentary on Starbucks during 2008 was recently quoted by its Founder Howard Schultz in his recent book “Onward”. In 2011 he was asked to present an investment idea at Bill Ackman’s “Harbor Investment Conference”.
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