Falling oil prices in Houston were anticipated to noticeably impact the single-family housing market; however recent data suggests only the luxury sector has taken a hit.

“Mid-range housing actually saw a healthy sales volume in January,” said Mario Arriaga of First Group.

According to the Houston Association of Realtors (HAR), the volume of single-family sales priced between $150,000 and $249,999 increased by nearly 9 percent in January on a year-over-year basis, while the number of homes that sold for $500,000 and above dropped by 9.3 percent.

  • Luxury homes in Houston are considered those starting at $500,000.
  • Foreign nationals are one buyer type driving Houston condo sales.
  • The metro's median home price remains at $200,000 or higher.

Falling oil prices in Houston were anticipated to noticeably impact the single-family housing market; however, recent data suggests only luxury home sales activity has taken a hit.

“Mid-range housing actually saw a healthy sales volume in January,” said Mario Arriaga of First Group.

According to the Houston Association of Realtors (HAR), the volume of single-family sales priced between $150,000 and $249,999 increased by nearly 9 percent in January on a year-over-year basis, while the number of homes that sold for $500,000 and above dropped by 9.3 percent.

January represented the fifth straight month where the number of luxury transactions declined on a year-over-year basis. Last month actually performed better than December and November, when luxury sales activity declined by 17.2 percent and 22 percent, respectively.

Houston condo sales spike

The performance of the condo/townhouse sector during January also stood out among HAR’s data.

With 393 units sold last month, condo/townhouse sales activity increased by 15.6 percent year-over-year, with a median price of $140,000.

Driving a portion of condo sales, specifically those in the Galleria and River Oaks District, are foreign national buyers.

According to Nancy Almodovar, CEO of Nan & Co. Properties buyers from Mexico and Latin America are looking to purchase units, often on a pre-sale basis, as second or investment homes, while another portion are relocating to Houston.

Single-family home sales fall

Overall last month there were 4,024 single-family home sales, 3,403 of which were existing properties. The first figure equates to a 2.1 percent year-over-year drop in activity.

On a more positive note, the volume of single-family pending sales was up 9.1 percent last month, with 5,714 pending transactions. Additionally, last month’s median home price of $200,000 was the highest recorded by any January.

Consistent year-over-year sales activity coupled with continued price growth appears to be influencing more owners to list, as single-family inventory grew by more than 30 percent last year. Entering February single-family inventory sat at 3.3 months.

Email Erik Pisor

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