Home sales in Houston, Texas, grew for the sixth straight month in March, and sales and prices for single-family houses broke March records, the Houston Association of Realtors reported.

Total property sales, which includes single-family homes, townhomes, multifamily homes, country homes, high-rise properties and lots listed on the MLS, totaled 8,015 in March, up 22.4 percent from a year ago.

Total single-family home sales set a March record at 6,542, up 22 percent from the year-ago level of 5,363 sales. March was also the third-best month ever for Houston’s single-family home sales.

The overall median price of single-family homes reached a record for the month of March at $143,310, which was an increase of 5.4 percent compared to a year ago. The median is a typical market price where half of the homes sold for more and half sold for less than that figure. 

“You never want to claim good weather as the reason for anything — that is just tempting fate in Houston — but the early heat up in temperatures and the relatively few number of days with rain have definitely contributed to the early heat up in housing sales,” said Lorraine Abercrombie, HAR Chair and Marketing Director for Greenwood King Properties. “Almost all of the analysts and industry experts predicted that 2006 would be a very strong year but would not match last year’s amazing sales. So far, Houston is exceeding those expectations, and, if all the factors continue to line up, 2006 will be the best year ever for real estate in the region.”

The number of available homes (active listings) at the end of March was 41,948 properties, which was a decrease of 2.8 percent versus last March. The figure was an increase of approximately 1,100 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, rose slightly to 5.3 months in March, which 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 March reporting the 17th consecutive decline in year-over-year months inventory figures.

Existing single-family home sales totaled 5,529 in March, which was a 22.9 percent increase from March 2005. The median sales price for existing homes in the Houston area was $136,990, an increase of 7 percent compared to the same period last year.

The overall median price in the townhouse/condo segment in Houston was flat for March, with the median sales price for both March 2005 and March 2006 being $117,500.

Additionally, the number of townhouses and condos that sold in March increased substantially compared to last year’s sales, with 720 units being sold last month, versus 582 properties in March 2005, or a 23.7 percent increase in year-over-year sales.

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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