Houston and Dallas, Texas’ first and second largest cities, are feeling the effect of the recession to a lesser extent than other major metropolitan areas. Even as unemployment rises, house sales increase on falling average prices. While the national unemployment rate was 9.8% in September, the two cities in Texas have unemployment of about 8.1% each. While lower than the national average, the two cities have recently seen an steady increase in unemployment throughout 2009, according to data compiled by Movoto.com, a Web-based residential real estate sales firm. The increase in unemployment moves in the opposite direction as house prices in the two cities. During Q109, the average price of homes for sale in Houston was $180,373, down from $199,747 in Q108. During the same time frame, unemployment rose to 6.1% in Q109 from 4.4% in Q108. In Q309, the average home price was $213,117 while unemployment was at 8.1%. Those figures changed from $218,672 and 5.1% in Q308. In Dallas, the average price was $186,167 in Q109, down from $203,433 in Q108. Unemployment was 6.9% in Q109, up from 4.4% in Q108. In the third quarter, the average Dallas price was $205,900 in 2009 and $213,533 in 2008, while unemployment increased to 8.1% in Q309 from 5.2% in Q308. While prices declined, sales volume increased in Houston. The number of homes sold in Houston in September 2008 was 4,336. But that number increased 30% to 5,654 in September 2009. In Dallas, September 2008 sales totaled 4,293. Monthly sales hit a bottom of 2,340 in January 2009 and in September this year, 4,010 homes were sold. Write to Austin Kilgore.