Report: New home market in Houston struggles during second quarter

The Houston housing sector had fewer sales and starts, but a greater median price during the second quarter of 2011.According to a recent report released by Metrostudy, the Houston real estate market experienced some fluctuations during the second quarter.Overlal, 5,142 homes were started between April and June, which is down 13 percent from the previous year. However, this figure is also skewed, as the federal tax credit for first-time homebuyers was in place. Ending in June, new-home starts were down 22.6 percent during the previous 12 months, totaling 16,605. At the industry's peak in 2006, close to 50,000 homes began construction during the second quarter.Despite the lower figures, experts aren't worried about the region's housing sector.”We believe we'll sell and start more homes in the second half of this year,” he said. “It looks like the bottom of the housing market in Houston was in the second half of last year.”Home sales in the region also declined during the three-month period. Overall, 4,593 homes were closed between April and June, which represents a 23 percent fall from the previous year. However, the inventory of new homes has also been declining, as fewer builders have been erecting spec homes. In all, 4,799 finished, vacant homes were on the market during the quarter – a 16 percent decline from 2010.Median home prices increased, though, highlighting one positive for the Houston housing market. During the second quarter, the median price for a Houston property was $214,356, up from $197,409 in 2010.Furthermore, a greater influx of potential homebuyers has been noticed recently. Despite lenders tightening their mortgage standards, interest rates for home loans have reached generational lows, urging more property seekers previously on the fence into the market.In addition, home values are set to increase even further, as stronger demand is created with the region's inventory shrinking. Thus, experts predict an even brighter future for the region's market.”Though statewide sales volume is down compared to 2010, when the tax credits were having the biggest impact on our market, we're right on pace with the second quarter of 2009,” said Dwight Hale, chairman of the Texas Association of Realtors. “Texas has dominated national headlines for economic strength, which makes it clear the recovery continues in our state.”Courtesy of 2M Realty News

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