Houston home sales climb 7.2%
Buttressed by a continuous improvement in the city's employment rate, home sales in Houston rose for the seventh consecutive month in December. Single-family home sales in the month across Houston hiked 7.2% from December 2010, according to the Houston Association of Realtors. In fact, every segment of the city's housing market experienced positive sales activity except its luxury segment — those homes priced from $500,000 and above — which remained unchanged year-over-year. Foreclosure property sales in Houston increased 6.1% in December compared to a year earlier. Foreclosures comprised 20.5% of all property sales in the month, consistent with the levels they maintained for much of 2011. December's median price of foreclosures held steady on a year-over-year basis at $82,550. December sales of all property types in Houston totaled 5,460, up 6.6% from December 2010. Total dollar volume for properties sold during the month increased 7.5% year-over-year to $1.16 billion. On an annualized basis, sales of all property types were up 4.3% compared to 2010 levels, while total dollar volume rose 5.2% to $13 billion. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Houston's unemployment rate stands at 7.8%, below the national rate of 8.5%. Median prices of single-family homes across Houston for full-year jumped slightly from $153,990 in 2010 to $155,000 in 2011. The median price reached an all-time high for a December in Houston and monthly inventory hit its lowest level in two years. The average price of a single-family home in December 2011 stayed constant at $219,791 compared to the same month a year earlier. The single-family home median price rose 1.9% over the same period to $160,000. "2011 ended on a very promising note," said HAR chairman Wayne Stroman. "We saw clear indications of a healthy market with a balanced supply of housing inventory and strong pricing. The key to sustaining that positive momentum in 2012 will be continued improvement in Houston's employment numbers." Click on chart below to see a 2010/2011 comparison of home sales and prices in Houston. Write to Justin T. Hilley. Follow him on Twitter @JustinHilley.