According to the Houston Association of Realtors 6,199 single-family homes sold in April compared to 7,666 a year earlier, representing a 19.1 percent decline and ending a nine-month run of positive sales. Pricing, however, showed little impact. The COVID-19 effect on the Houston real estate market drove most gauges into negative territory in April.
Single-family home sales, total property sales and total dollar volume all declined compared to April 2019, however the median price rose to a new April record. Pending sales fell 17.6 percent due to market uncertainty, but total active listings, or the total number of available properties, were statistically unchanged. New data from the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) consumer website shows that the number of new listings is starting to improve. That improvement offers hope that more gains could be on the horizon.
Danielle Hale, chief economist for the site, says it’s a positive sign, though there’s still a long way to go. “While new listings are still declining on a yearly basis, last week’s jump shows some sellers are ready for a summer home sale – a positive sign for the market,” Hale said. “But despite this uptick, time on market continues to increase and there’s a long road ahead to getting back to last year’s pace of new sellers.”
According to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey, applications for loans to buy homes rose 11 percent last week. The improvement puts demand for purchase loans just 10 percent below where it was last year at the same time.
Joel Kan, MBA’s associate vice president of economic and industry forecasting, says the gains are expected to continue as states lift some of their coronavirus mitigation measures. “There continues to be a stark recovery in purchase applications, as most large states saw increases in activity last week,” Kan said. “We expect this positive purchase trend to continue – at varying rates across the country – as states gradually loosen social distancing measures, and some of the pent-up demand for housing returns, in what is typically the final weeks of the spring home buying season.”