Houston home sales down 22% in November, but prices heat up
Sales of single-family homes across the Houston metropolitan area declined in November for the fifth month in a row, while prices rose. The average and median price for single-family homes were the highest ever seen in a November, according to data compiled by the Houston Association of Realtors. Luxury home sales helped drive pricing gains, the association said. The average price of a single-family home increased 11.8% from $196,310 in November 2009 to $219,560 last month. The median price edged up 1.7% from one year earlier to $152,500, HAR said. While prices rose, the big chill was on during the month in respect to sales. November sales of single-family homes in the Houston area totaled 4,200, down 22% compared to a year ago. Total dollar volume for properties sold during the month was $906 million versus $1 billion a year earlier, representing an 11.6% drop. Foreclosure sales reported in the Multiple Listing Service declined 9.3% in November compared to one year earlier. Foreclosures comprised 19.6% of all property sales in November — 2.3% less than the month before and generally consistent with the levels they have maintained for much of 2010. The median price of November foreclosures fell 15.3% to $78,750 on a year-over-year basis. "The November report suggests to me that the Houston real estate market is taking a considerable amount of time to recover from the end of the whirlwind pace of sales triggered earlier this year by the homebuyer tax credit," said Margie Dorrance, HAR chairwoman and principal at Keller Williams Realty Metropolitan. "Bright spots in the housing report include what appears to be improvement in pending sales and, of course, the continued price appreciation not seen in most other markets. The next couple of months will hopefully enable us to gauge the overall market performance that we can expect in 2011." Write to Kerry Curry.