How would you describe the real estate market in Houston these days? According to the folks at HAR, it's "frenzied," "aggressive," and a "buying bonanza."
We at Houstonia have been reporting on the Bayou City's booming real estate market for months now: First there was the market's resiliency through the business-squashing pandemic. This time it's the city's skyrocketing high-end home sales, and with them, the average home price in the city.
According to the latest numbers, the sales volume for homes priced above $750,000 nearly doubled in March from the year prior, with an 89.9-percent year-over-year increase. This trend has been going on for months, but the March numbers represent the starkest change this calendar year. In February luxury sales increased by nearly 65 percent and by about 74 percent in January.
The next bracket of homes—still a good $200,000 above the average home price in Houston–saw even more dramatic increases: Those in the $500,000 and $750,000 range saw a 96.8-percent increase in sales from 2020.
Overall $4 billion worth of property sales were completed in March. That's up nearly 56 percent from last year around the onset of the pandemic. And it's no surprise: Homes are selling for more money (about 20 percent more) and more of them are selling (about 17 percent more) than they did last year.
With all of this activity, the median price of a home in Houston increased to about $290,000 by the end of March—about $40,000 more than this time last year.
But this isn't exactly good news—at least not for the non-luxury homebuyer.
“The inventory shortage is causing stress for many folks," HAR Chairman Richard Miranda with Keller Williams Platinum said in a statement. "Hopefully we begin to see an uptick in new listings sooner than later.”
Overall Houston is in a bit of an inventory crisis, which is part of what's driving the frantic demand for housing. Don't you remember this from Econ 101?
New listings are coming on the market at a slower rate than in years past. And at the current buying rate, HAR estimates that today's listings will be sold-out in about a month's time. This is the lowest inventory in Houston has seen in history, according to HAR.
Homes sales below $250,000 are becoming more rare as well—yes, even in the city that everyone says is so affordable to live in. Home sales in the $150,000–250,000 range saw about an 8-percent decrease in sales. And homes sales in the$100,000–149,000 range plummeted by more than 30 percent last month.
Now, these trends are occurring all over the country. It's true. Inventory is low, prices are rising, and buyers are motivated thanks to record low interest rates. But as of March, Houston is still outpacing national numbers, according to the National Association of Realtors. Click here to read that full report.
But, if you're in the market, you might not have time to wait and read. You should probably go ahead and make that offer—and make it fast!