Houston Foreclosures for Sale Slowed, but Total Sales Rose

by Simon Lindsay on cities

The number of Houston foreclosures for sale that closed in October decreased, but overall sales of single-family houses rose by more than 14 percent, based on sales data published by the Houston Association of Realtors.

Total sales of single-family houses in the Houston metro area reached 5,716 units in October, up from the 5,010 units sold in October last year.

Local housing analysts said that the November 30 expiration date of the federal tax credit prompted a lot of homebuyers to make their home purchases in October. Lower mortgage rates and the availability of lower-priced homes also drove people to buy homes.

Of these homes sold, almost 19 percent were foreclosures, down from the 26-percent share in October 2008 and from the 34-percent share in January this year.

Last year, foreclosure sales were high as the Houston area struggled from the devastation caused by Hurricane Ike and by the adverse effects of the global credit crisis.

In October, the price median for single-family houses also increased, making a 5-percent jump to $149,000. The average price for single-family houses sold during the same month was $198,639, a jump of 3 percent compared to the average in October 2008.

Total sales in dollars increased in October by nearly 16 percent to about $1.09 billion from nearly $942.4 million in October last year. Total pending sales rose by 2.6 percent from 3,579 units to 3,673 units.

The realtors also reported that the total inventory of homes for sale in October, including Houston foreclosures for sale, was equivalent to a 6.1-month supply, marking a nearly 3-percent drop from the 6.3-month supply in October last year. Total active listings dropped from more than 49,000 in October 2008 to 45,424 units in October this year.

Additionally, the rental market also slowed in October, with the number of rental single-family houses being leased falling by 12 percent from leasing activity in October last year. Lease contracts involving townhomes also dropped by almost 6 percent.

Meanwhile, a report by Forbes ranked Houston as among the top 10 cities in the U.S. based on pace of economic recovery. According to Forbes, the diversified industrial sector of Houston has been carrying the city through the downturn. The report credited the city for diversifying beyond operating oil rigs into manufacturing chemicals and refining petroleum.