Houston Homes Sales End Year on High Note

According to the latest MLS report from Houston Association of Realtors (HAR), the Houston housing market ended 2015 with the second-highest sales volume of all time.

The strong December finish comes after the market faced many stiff challenges in 2015.

December Real Estate Numbers for Houston

This past year followed the best year on record for home sales. Add plunging oil prices and the resulting layoffs into the mix along with persistently low levels of housing inventory, and the result was the drop in sales that economists had forecast.

While there were single-digit declines in sales volume at different times throughout the year, more substantial ones struck during the fourth quarter, including December. Nonetheless, the total number of 2015 single-family home sales as well as sales of all property types achieved the second-highest levels of all time, behind 2014.

"With oil dropping to levels around $30 a barrel, I think it’s fair to say that the Houston housing market is going to remain cooler for at least a little while,” said HAR Chairman Mario Arriaga with First Group. “The good news is the local economy is vastly more diversified than it was during the oil bust of the 80s and other industries are continuing to hire, so it really is going to come down to consumer confidence."

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A year ago, Houstonians were hailing a surge in employment that drew home buyers and renters from across the U.S. and around the world. By contrast, the latest Texas Workforce Commission report states that the Houston metro area added just 4,800 jobs in November, making it the third weakest November in 25 years, according to the Greater Houston Partnership, which notes that the region typically adds 10,000 to 12,000 jobs in the month.

In December, the single-family home average price dipped a fractional 0.6 percent year-over-year to $280,201 while the median price—the figure at which half of the homes sold for more and half sold for less—rose 2.9 percent to $216,000. The median figure represents an all-time high for a December in Houston.

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