Houston real estate sales rose for the 15th straight month in December, helping the single-family sector to break more sales and price records, according to statistics released by the Houston Association of Realtors.

There were 7,136 total property sales recorded last month in the metro area, a 1.1 increase over December 2005. Total sales figures include single-family homes, townhomes, multifamily homes, country homes, high-rise properties and lots listed on the MLS.

Sales of both new and existing single-family home sales, which now have posted growth from their year-earlier levels for the 35th straight month, came in at a record 5,884 in December, up 2.3 percent from last year’s 5,752.

The overall median price of a single-family home also hit a new high in December at $150,000, up 1.4 percent from 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.

Separately, sales of existing single-family homes totaled 4,763 last month, up 3.1 percent from December 2005, while the median sales price gained 1.9 percent to $141,500.

“Our members are reporting strength in the greater Houston region across all geographic areas and market segments,” said Rob Cook, HAR chairman and broker/owner of Robert D. Cook Properties, in a statement. “We enter 2007 with sustained strength in the local economy and job growth, which will further the real estate market for the benefit of both buyers and sellers. …”

For 2006 as a whole, some 87,435 properties changed hands, up 9.6 percent from 2005 when 79,012 properties were sold. The overall median sales price for a Houston property registered $149,610 for the year, or an increase of 5.4 percent compared to 2005.

The number of available homes (active listings) at the end of December was 43,438 properties, which was an increase of 9.8 percent versus last December and the sixth month with a year-over-year increase, after 10 consecutive previous declines. The figure was a decrease of 2,633 properties from last month, and shows new listings are staying in equilibrium with increased sales activity, HAR reported.

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, dropped to 5 months in December. 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 December increased slightly compared to last year’s sales, with 671 units being sold last month, versus 669 properties in December 2005, or a scant 0.3 percent increase. The overall median price in the townhouse/condo segment rose an enormous 21.7 percent during the period to $149,700.

The Multiple Listing Service of the Houston Association of Realtors includes residential properties and new homes listed by 25,000 Realtors throughout Harris, Fort Bend and Montgomery counties, as well as parts of Brazoria, Galveston, Waller and Wharton counties.

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