Sales of homes priced at $500K and above lead the way as inventory hits a two-year high
Consumers kept the high end of the Houston housing market humming in September even as the market collectively continued transitioning to more normal, pre-pandemic levels. Sales overall were off for a sixth consecutive month due largely to the persistent lack of inventory and inflationary headwinds that include rising interest rates. However, the inventory landscape is showing signs of improvement for consumers as an uptick in new listings helped boost overall supply to its highest level in two years.
According to the Houston Association of Realtors’ (HAR) September 2022 Market Update, single-family home sales fell 17.0 percent, with 7,664 units sold compared to 9,235 in September 2021. On a year-to-date basis, the market now trails 2021’s record-setting volume by 5.1 percent.
The top sales volume performer was the $500,000 to $1 million housing segment, which rose 12.6 percent. The only other segment to remain in positive territory was $1M and above housing, which increased 7.2 percent. Many would-be homebuyers continued to turn to rental housing options in September. HAR will examine those trends in the September 2022 Rental Home Update, to be released next Wednesday, October 19.
“The Houston housing market consists of many concurrent trends,” said HAR Chair Jennifer Wauhob with Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Gary Greene. “The high end of the market continues to perform well, as is the rental market. But because of a lack of homes priced below $400,000, the market as a whole is slowing to levels we were accustomed to before the pandemic. The most encouraging news of all is the gradual build-back of inventory, which should yield more options for consumers going forward.”
Housing across Greater Houston has experienced historic appreciation since the pandemic struck in early 2020. The average price of a single-family home rose 11.6 percent in September to $414,776 – well below the record high of $438,384 reached in May 2022. The median price jumped 14.7 percent to $343,950, which is also below the highest median of all time, $354,100, reached in June 2022. The average price for a single-family home in Houston first broke the $400,000 mark in March of this year. The median price has held above $300,000 since May of 2021.
Market indicators provided mixed readings in September. In addition to the drop in single-family home sales, total property sales and total dollar volume declined and pending sales fell 15.5 percent. Active listings (the total number of available properties) jumped 36.3 percent.
Months of inventory grew again in September, reaching a 2.7-months supply. That is the highest level since July of 2020 when it was 2.9 months. Housing inventory nationally stands at a 3.2-months supply, according to the latest report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR). A 6.0-months supply is generally considered make up a “balanced market,” in which neither the buyer nor the seller has an advantage.