Houston home sales fall below pre-pandemic levels

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Home sales numbers in the Houston area fell below pre-pandemic levels last month, signaling a return to a more normal market amid rising mortgage rates and economic uncertainty.

Single-family home sales fell 18.4% to 7,310 units in April, the 13th straight month of year-over-year declines, according to the Houston Real Estate Association’s monthly report. The last time home sales were this low was in April 2019, before the pandemic. This kicked off a buying frenzy driven by low interest rates that pushed prices to record highs in 2022.

The median home price for April was $331,000, down 3.6% from the same period last year and about 7% below June’s record $353,995. The average selling price fell 1.3% to $419,929, down nearly $20,000 from the May 2022 high of $438,327.

RELATED: Houston’s homebuying season is in full swing. See how prices in your neighborhood have changed over the last year.

“A turnaround in the housing market will never happen overnight, especially with interest rates still volatile, inflation uncertainties and recession speculation continuing,” said Kathy Treviño, chairman of HAR at Side, in a statement. “Anecdotally, many realtors are reporting strong submarket performance, which underscores the fact that real estate is local. I look forward to it.”

Mortgage rates have fallen to an average of 6.39% from over 7% in November, but housing is still out of reach for many buyers. Median home prices are up 35% from $245,000 in April 2019, according to HAR.

One bright spot for buyers is the increasing availability of housing. At the current pace of sales, his April housing inventory in the Houston area will sell out in just over two and a half months. A balanced market with buyers and sellers on an equal footing is seen as a 4-6 month supply compared to his 1.3 months in April 2022.

Home sales took longer in April, staying in the market for an average of 55 days compared to 34 days a year earlier.

katherine.feser@houstonchronicle.com



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