Total real estate sales in the Houston, Texas, market rose for the seventh straight month in April, as sales and prices for single-family homes topped 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 7,053 in April, up 5.1 percent from April 2005.

By category, total sales for single-family homes continued its streak of year-over-year increases, marking 27 consecutive months that sales have been higher than the same month of the previous year. For April 2006, single-family home sales increased by 3.3 percent to a record 5,721, up from the year-ago level of 5,537.

The overall median price of single-family homes also reached a record for the month of April at $147,000, which was an increase of 6.9 percent compared to April 2005. The median is a typical market price where half of the homes sold for more and half sold for less than that figure.

“It is times like these that we feel fortunate to work in real estate in the greater Houston area, with our continued growth and affordable market that mean ‘slow and steady wins the race’ in real estate transactions and satisfaction,” said Lorraine Abercrombie, HAR chair, in a statement. “It is great to work in an environment in which sellers can get the best price our market has to bear and buyers can choose from a variety of affordable inventory.”

Additionally, existing single-family home sales totaled 4,904, which was a 3.8 percent increase from April 2005. The median sales price for existing homes in the Houston area was $139,900, an increase of 7.7 percent compared to the same period last year.

The number of available homes (active listings) at the end of April was 44,144 properties, which was a decrease of 3.8 percent versus last April and the fifth consecutive month with a year-over-year decline. The figure was an increase of approximately 550 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, remained at 5.3 months for April. This 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 18th consecutive decline in year-over-year months inventory figures.

The number of townhouses and condos that sold in April increased substantially compared to last year’s sales, with 694 units being sold last month, versus 601 properties in April 2005, or a 15.5 percent increase in year-over-year sales.

The overall median price in the townhouse/condo segment in Houston was up 7.3 percent for April, with the median sales price for the month being $118,000.

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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