Home sales markets in local neighborhoods mirrored Houston’s mixed bag in December but ran in stark contrast with its pricing as all markets displayed falling home prices.
However, local end-of-year sales and pricing markets all saw significant jumps from their 2017 levels, according to a recent report from the Houston Association of Realtors.
The Houston housing market generated mixed results in December, with single-family home sales and total property sales down, but total dollar volume and pricing all up compared to December 2017. Month-end pending sales for single-family homes totaled 5,120, an increase of 2.2 percent versus 2017.
“We entered 2018 cautiously optimistic that the Houston real estate market would continue the resilience it showed after Hurricane Harvey, but no one that I know anticipated it being a record year,” said HAR chair Shannon Cobb Evans with Heritage Texas Properties. “Now, as we look ahead to the new year, federal workers are on edge about the ongoing government shutdown and how that might hurt their cash flow, which could affect housing. And our market is still challenged in terms of housing inventory, which is something that truly needs to improve in 2019 to ensure that real estate remains a vibrant player in the overall Houston economy.”
December was a tough month for those in the central Garden Oaks and Oak Forest markets. Only 44 home sales closed last month compared to 50 the previous December. The 12 percent dropoff was the second-largest among local neighborhoods.
On a big-picture scale, however, 2018 was good to the area’s home sales, with 670 homes flying off the market over the past year compared to 585 the previous year – a 14.5 percent spike.
On the pricing front, December’s average home prices dropped nearly 4 percent down to $458,128, while median prices dipped nearly 10 percent to $365,375. On the whole, however, the area experienced a 5.2 percent spike in average price as well as a slight (1.5 percent) increase in median prices by the end of 2018.
The western edge of Garden Oaks/Oak Forest and extending just west of U.S. 290 was not immune from a rough month. Homes sales there dropped 25 percent, with just 15 homes sold compared to 20 the previous December.
On a year-end basis, sales dipped 2 percent by the end of 2018 – in stark contrast with the greater Houston area’s 3.8 percent rise. It was the only local market to experience a drop.
Pricing wise, the area saw a 4 percent dip in average home price (down to $265,962) and a 4.4 percent drop in median price. For the year as a whole, buyers and sellers saw average prices rise about 2 percent up to $266,904, and median home price for the month was up 3.2 percent to $255,000.
In the neighborhood consisting of the majority of the Heights, home sales stagnated in December 2018, with the 74 sold representing an identical figure to December 2017. Cumulatively in 2018, nearly 4 percent more homes (1,013) came off the market compared to the 976 sold in 2017.
Median home prices in the Heights dropped 2.7 percent down to $445,000, yet simultaneously experienced a 3.2 percent rise in average home price. In terms of year-end results, buyers and sellers saw a sharp jump in typical home prices last year, with the average home closing at $535,050. The 5.2 percent increase doubled the Greater Houston area’s mark, while its 5.7 percent spike in median home price (up to $465,000) also far outstripped Houston’s overall 3.8 percent rise.
The eastern portion of the Heights, which includes the Woodland Heights, Sunset Heights and Near Northside, saw a 10.7 percent sales drop in December 2018, with 50 homes sold compared to 56 the previous December.
Despite the December drought, however, year-end sales (573 homes) in this market wound up with a 12.4 percent increase, nearly tripling that of the Greater Houston area.
In the pricing market, figures saw declines on both the average and median fronts. The average home went for $474,043 in December 2018 – a 2.2 percent drop – while the middle ground stood at $400,500, which represented a nearly 6 percent dip from December 2017. Average home prices for 2018 as a whole rose more than 6 percent in the market, while median home prices dropped almost 2 percent down to $404,500. This was the only local market to experience a year-end drop.
In the southernmost portion of the Heights and Washington Heights, 88 homes came off the market last month compared to 68 the previous December. The 29.4 percent spike was the largest among local markets.
By the conclusion of 2018, sales closed on 751 homes in the area – a 5.3 percent increase from its 2017 total.
Pricing wise, the average house sold for $557,511 last month – a 4.8 percent increase over the previous December. Meanwhile, closing median prices sat at $439,500 – a 0.7 percent year-over-year-dip. End-of-year figures showed a 4.2 percent spike in average home price for 2018 (up to $541,698) as well as a 2.3 percent increase in median home price up to $440,000.
Houston rents have increased 0.1 percent over the past month, but have been relatively flat at 0.2 percent in comparison to the same time last year, according to a report from Apartment List.
Median rents in Houston stand at $840 for a one-bedroom apartment and $1,030 for a two-bedroom. The city’s year-over-year rent growth lags the state average of 1.3 percent as well as the national average of 0.9 percent.
The report also said that while rents in Houston remained moderately stable this year, similar cities saw increases – including Phoenix (3.3 percent), New York (2.7 percent) and San Francisco (2.4 percent). Median rents in those cities are $1,060, $2,540 and $3,090, respectively, according to the report.