Real estate sales in Houston, Texas, were up for the 13th straight month in October compared to year-ago levels, as single-family sales and prices hit new highs for the month, the Houston Association of Realtors reported.

Total property sales — which include single-family homes, townhomes, multifamily homes, country homes, high-rise properties and lots listed on the MLS — registered 6,792 last month, up 6 percent from the same month last year.

Sales of new and existing single-family homes posted an October record at 5,600 units, up 7.3 percent from the year-ago total of 5,218 sales. Additionally, the median home price for a single-family home reached a monthly record for October of $146,000, up 2.8 percent from October 2005, despite sinking from $150,000 in September. The median is a typical market price where half of the homes sold for more and half sold for less than that figure.

“As we near the end of the year, we remain hopeful that these promising trends remain … We continue to count our blessings for a healthy marketplace,” said Lorraine Abercrombie, HAR chair and marketing director for Greenwood King Properties. “We keep a close eye on the nation, not as an indicator of the Houston market, but to make comparisons for those who may be considering a move from the east or west coasts to the Houston area. Fortunately, we can still share good news with them.”

Separately, existing single-family home sales totaled 4,766 last month, up 7.6 percent from a year earlier. The median sales price for existing homes in the Houston area grew 3 percent from a year ago to $139,000, although this was down from $143,000 in September.

The number of available homes (active listings) at the end of October was 46,673 properties, which was an increase of 7.8 percent versus last October and the fourth month with a year-over-year increase. The figure was an increase of 173 properties from September, which is an increase of more than 3,300 homes in the last five months and shows new listings are keeping up with increased sales activity.

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 5.5 months in October. 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.

Additionally, the number of townhouses and condos that sold in October increased compared to last year’s sales, with 617 units being sold last month, versus 566 properties in October 2005, for a 9 percent increase. The overall median price in the townhouse/condo segment inched up 0.9 percent year-over-year in October to $115,000, although this figure was down from $124,530 in September.

The Multiple Listing Service of the Houston Association of Realtors includes residential properties and new homes listed by 24,000 Realtors throughout Harris, Fort Bend and Montgomery counties, as well as parts of Brazoria, Galveston, Waller and Wharton counties.

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