It’s not a big surprise, given the trends we saw toward the end of last year, but that doesn’t make this fact any less astounding: Houston’s real estate market saw record sales and dollars spent in 2020. It’s like it somehow forgot we were in the middle of a pandemic or something. 

According to numbers released by Houston Area Realtors this week, 115,523 properties sold in Houston last year—about 96,000 of which were single-family homes. 

To put that in perspective: In 2019 Houston saw record home sales, too—surpassing 100,000 properties sold for the first time in history. However, 2020’s sales eclipsed 2019’s numbers by more than 11 percent. 

Dollars spent on homes also skyrocketed last year. Home sale dollar volume—the total amount of money spent—reached a record-breaking $35.3 billion (yes, with a “B”) last year, which represents an 18-percent increase from last year, when volume hovered just under $30 billion.

The increases are bolstered by low interest rates—motivating individuals who are spending record time at home to make a change—compounded with a boom in home sales in the $500,000 to $750,000 range. 

According to HAR, this upper-level price point saw more than an 80-percent jump in sales compared to last year. Sales of luxury homes (those over $750,000) also increased by more than 54 percent. And if you do this math, this trend helped drive the median sales price up in the city by about 6 percent to $324,069.

In a statement from HAR Chairman Richard Miranda, with Keller Williams Platinum, it’s clear even the experts didn’t think this would have been possible at the onset of the pandemic. 

“When the coronavirus pandemic struck, we expected the real estate business to hit a brick wall and never fathomed the possibility of 2020 becoming a record year for the Houston market,” he says. But about two months in, after real estate was deemed an essential business, the tides turned, leaving April and May as the only negative months in terms of sales for the year that felt full of negatives. 

But this trend might not last for long. Miranda added that in order to keep it up, more homes must go on the market. “As we enter 2021, we find ourselves in critical need of inventory if we are to sustain a healthy pace of home sales,” he says. 

Currently there are not enough homes on the market to backfill sold homes to maintain these types of buying trends. And for those of us looking for a reasonably priced inner-city home and/or those who like to tout that “Houston is an affordable place to buy a home,” that probably isn’t exactly a bad thing. 

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