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Houston Real Estate | Houston’s Housing Market Hits Scorching Pace


Houston real estate

It's fitting that Houston is home to NASA's Mission Control Center and that the city's NBA basketball team is called the Rockets, because home sales in this Texas town continue to skyrocket – with some properties selling at absolutely astronomical prices!

The housing market in Houston has been on fire for several months, but it is gaining even more steam these days because of a lack of inventory. According to the Houston Association of Realtors, the inventory of homes for sale is at its lowest point since 1999, and is down 20% from January 2012. The lack of available properties comes at a time when buyers are eager to purchase homes both within the city itself and in its surrounding suburbs.

This intense desire has ignited bidding wars for some homes, with sellers getting multiple offers on the very same day they list their property for sale. In fact, one realtor recently told a local Houston newspaper that she's received as many as 12 offers on her home!

Despite the super-low supply of homes, there were 4,680 properties sold in Houston during the month of January.  That's a 29% increase from the same month last year.  While housing inventory continues to shrink (down to only a 3.6 months’ supply at the current sales rate), Houston’s home prices keep rising. In fact, the average sales price currently sits at $200,296. That's the highest average for the month of January on the books, according to the local realtors association!

High-end homes – meaning any property priced over $500,000 – are also hot purchases. The Houston Association of Realtors reports sales of these luxury homes are up 52% between January 2012 and January 2013. Existing homes aren't the only hot commodities, though. Houston leads the nation in home building construction permits. Right now, builders are purchasing as many lots as possible, tearing down any existing structures on them, and building new homes on the land.

So why is Houston's housing market so far ahead of the curve when compared to other metropolitan areas around the country? The answer may be job security. Houston's economy wasn't hit nearly as hard as many other major cities around the country because several energy companies are headquarted in the Houston area. Energy-based jobs are usually recession-proof, so while companies located elsewhere were laying off employees, energy businesses in Houston were actually expanding their workforces. These energy companies are continuing to add new jobs, many of which are high-paying positions. Job security combined with high income usually leads to increased consumer confidence, as is the case in Houston right now.  Simply put, people in Houston are not only making a lot of money, but they aren't worried about losing those high paying jobs, so they're more likely to make a long-term investment, like buying a home.

So while January is usually a slow month for real estate transactions in other cities, in Houston, business is booming, and the housing market isn't expected to cool down anytime soon!  Pending home sales at the end of January were up 13% from last year, meaning the spring selling season, which is historically hot, could be as scorching as a Houston barbecue pit this year!

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