DataMarkets & Economy

Is Houston’s housing market getting sluggish?

Price per square foot dropping across the city, Trulia says
  • Declining oil prices – affecting 4.3 percent of Houston’s employment force – are upsetting home sellers.
  • Houston wasn’t the fastest market in the nation one year ago, but it’s no. 1 for real estate market slowdown, according to Trulia.
  • Median home prices in Gufton, MacGregor and Med Center neighborhoods all dropped year-over-year in April.

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Med Center, Houston/Flickr user Vtelwin

Med Center, Houston/Flickr user Vtelwin

This is a contributing article from Trulia

Prices have boosted in many hot markets throughout the U.S. for the past few years, Houston included. However, declining oil prices — affecting 4.3 percent of Houston’s employment force — are upsetting home sellers.

Houston wasn’t the fastest market in the nation one year ago, but it’s no. 1 for real estate market slowdown now, according to Trulia. In April 2015, 49.9 percent of homes stayed on the market after one month, but time on the market grew year-over-year to 66.3 percent of homes on the market after one month – a 16.3 percent bump.

Houston isn’t alone in the oil economy factor: four out of the five metros with the largest share of employment in oil and natural gas extraction saw an increase in idle homes, too. Oklahoma City, Tulsa and Fort Worth’s home on the market after one month increased between 1.6 and 2.3 percentage points. Bakersfield, home of the largest oil economy in the U.S., remained flat over the past year.

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Houston neighborhoods dropping

In April, the median asking price in Houston hit $182,500, with median prices reaching over $500,000 in some hotspots. However, some expensive submarkets faced drops in both median price and price per square foot, Trulia’s data reveals.

Last April, the median price for homes in Gulfton posted at $459,000, falling to $410,000 in April 2016. The median price per square foot in Gulfton previously posted over $203 and dropped to $171 this year.

The median price in MacGregor dropped from $365,900 to $350,000 year-over-year. And while the median price per square foot was over $213 last April, it dropped to just over $190 in April 2016.

In Med Center, the median price on homes for sale dropped steadily over twelve months, landing at $490,572 from $550,000 last year. The median price per square foot in 2015 was over $296, which fell to $280 this year.

More homes, better inventory

While many metros are struggling with limited inventory, Houston’s in increasing. As inventory falls, homes move off the market faster, but in Houston, the lack of speed is leading to more homes on the market.

Houston is a more affordable in comparison to major metros, and more inventory helps keep competition at bay.

Rentals with better value

Like buyers, Houston renters are catching a break. Affordable rentals increased by 1.9 percent year-over-year, according to Trulia. In the Astrodome neighborhood, rents fell from a median $1,365 last April to $1,300 this April. Apartments in Astrodome on the market are increasing in size, too, from 948 to 964 square feet year-over-year.

Some neighborhoods saw rent growth, but leaseholders are receiving more for their dollar than they did last April. In Westbranch, for instance, median rent grew from $1,290 to $1,450 per month year-over-year, but apartment listings grew from 942 to 1,459 square feet.

Jennifer Riner is a reporter for Inman who also writes on assignment for Trulia.