Real estate sales in the Houston, Texas, market grew for the eighth straight month in May as single-family sales and prices broke more records, the Houston Association of Realtors reported today.

Total property sales, which include single-family homes, townhomes, multifamily homes, country homes, high-rise properties and lots listed on the MLS, totaled 8,629 in May, up 11.6 percent from May 2005.

“While the rest of the country is talking about bubbles ‘deflating,’ we continue to reach new heights in the greater Houston real estate market,” said Lorraine Abercrombie, HAR chair and marketing director for Greenwood King Properties. “We know that for most people a home is their largest investment, so while we help them achieve their housing dreams, it is also good to know their investment will prove to gain value in the future. These new numbers are definitely good news for our area.”

By category, total sales for single-family homes continued their streak of year-over-year increases, marking 28 consecutive months that sales have been higher than the same month of the previous year. For May 2006, single-family home sales increased by 11.7 percent to 7,199, up from 6,443 a year ago.

The overall median price of single-family homes reached a record for the month of May at $152,000, which was an increase of 5.6 percent compared with May 2005. The median is a typical market price where half of the homes sold for more and half sold for less than that figure.

Additionally, existing single-family home sales totaled 6,187 last month, which was a 13.3 percent increase from May 2005. The median sales price for existing homes in the Houston area was $145,500, an increase of 7.8 percent compared to the same period last year.

The number of available homes (active listings) at the end of May was 43,362 properties, which was a decrease of 3.6 percent versus last May and the sixth consecutive month with a year-over-year decline. The figure was an increase of approximately 900 properties from last month though, which shows there are still plenty of available homes for purchase.

The months inventory of single-family homes, which estimates the number of months it will take to deplete current active inventory based on the prior 12 months’ sales activity, inched up in May to 5.4 months. This statistic signals more of a seller’s market and also shows that demand is more than keeping up with the available supply of homes, as displayed by April reporting the 19th consecutive decline in year-over-year months inventory figures.

Additionally, the number of townhouses and condos that sold in May increased substantially compared to last year’s sales, with 776 units being sold last month, versus 678 properties in May 2005, or a 14.5 percent increase in year-over-year sales. The overall median price in the townhouse/condo segment in Houston was up 4.7 percent for May, with the median sales price for the month being $121,820.

The Multiple Listing Service of the Houston Association of Realtors includes residential properties and new homes listed by 22,000 Realtors throughout Harris, Fort Bend and Montgomery counties, as well as parts of Brazoria, Galveston, Waller and Wharton counties.

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