The Houston real estate market continued to exert strength in October, as single-family home prices topped records and sales posted double-digit growth, according to the Houston Association of Realtors.

The overall median price of single-family homes reached $142,000 in October, which was an increase of 7.2 percent compared to the prior year, and a record for the month. The median is a typical market price where half of the homes sold for more and half sold for less than that figure.

For existing homes, the median sales price in the Houston area was $135,500, an increase of 6.7 percent compared to the same period last year.

Total property sales, which includes single-family homes, townhomes, multifamily homes, country homes, high-rise properties and lots listed on the MLS, totaled 6,423 in October, up 13.1 percent from a year ago.

Additionally, year-to-date total property sales reached 66,040, which is an increase of 9 percent over the same period of 2004.

For the month of October, existing single-family home sales totaled 4,556, which was a 13.8 percent increase from October 2004.

“Despite the two hurricanes and interest-rate increases, the resilient Houston-area real estate market remains on track to mark 2005 as the best year ever in housing sales,” said Toni C. Nelson, HAR chair and division vice president for Coldwell Banker United, Realtors. “Interestingly, October was the second month in a row for the month’s inventory indicator to decrease, and by a good margin, so that could signal a potential tightening in the market and a possible shift to even more of a seller’s market.”

The number of available homes (active listings), at the end of October was 43,303 properties, which was an increase of only 0.1 percent versus last October but down 1.1 percent from last month, likely due to hurricane-related impact.

The month’s inventory of single-family homes for October continued its downward trend to 5.7 months, which remains low, signaling more of a seller’s market, and also shows that demand is more than keeping up with the available supply of homes.

Additionally, the number of townhouses and condos that sold in October continued last month’s trend and increased this month compared to last year’s sales, with 570 units being sold last month, versus 542 properties in October 2004.

The overall median price in the townhouse/condo segment in Houston rose by 4.3 percent, from $106,450 in October 2004 to $111,000 last month.

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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