Overall home sales in Houston for the month of January totaled 3,760, an increase of 0.5 percent over last January’s total of 3,743, according to the Houston Association of Realtors. By a slight margin, this represents the highest number of sales the region has ever recorded in the month of January.

Single-family home sales, however, decreased 2 percent last month to 2,991 from last January’s 3,053. The median price of single-family homes dropped to $126,000 in January, compared to $129,000 last January.

The number of available properties in January 2004 consisting of single-family homes, town homes, multifamily, country homes, high-rise properties and lots listed on the MLS topped out at 37,272, representing the highest level of inventory ever recorded in the month of January. Available properties totaled 34,012 during January 2003.

“Three factors support any real estate economy: job growth, continued low interest rates and a good balance of available property,” said HAR Chairman and Stewart Title Chief Economist Ted C. Jones, Ph.D. “Having each of these factors currently in place, the business climate in Houston portends a healthy real estate market for 2004.”

All listing categories combined, Houston’s market as a whole showed an increase across the board, including sales, available inventory, pending sales and overall total dollar volume.

The computerized Multiple Listing Service of the Houston Association of Realtors includes residential properties and new homes listed by 18,000 Realtors throughout Harris, Fort Bend and Montgomery counties, as well as parts of Brazoria, Galveston, Waller and Wharton counties.

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