Written by: Leonard Parker | Houston Business News | April 22, 2021
Houston-area real estate agents sold more single-family homes than ever in 2020, despite the coronavirus pandemic and resulting recession.
The 96,151 homes sold meant a 10.5% jump from 2019 – the previous record year.
This comes despite two straight negative sales months at the beginning of the pandemic, when real estate agents couldn't give tours.
Richard Miranda, chairman of the Houston Association of Realtors, said after the pandemic hit, they expected 2020 to be a horrible year for home sales.
"January and February looked like they were going to be a good year and then all of a sudden the two months of March and April came to a screeching halt," he said.
In June, record sales picked up again, and they have continued every month since. July 2020 saw the most home sales for any month on record.
"The fact that real estate had been declared an essential service, that helped us be able to continue to keep up with the buyer demand and the seller demand," Miranda said. "Buyers were taking advantage of the extremely record low interest rates."
Realtors were also able to take advantage of virtual technology that has allowed them to host open houses online.
The low mortgage interest rates, which came about in part as a result of the pandemic, in particular boosted higher-end homes. In December, sales of houses priced between $500,000 and $750,000 rose by more than 80% from a year ago.
Miranda also attributed that to more people looking for larger homes.
“Since people were staying at home, people were looking at homes that had room for the kids to play,,” Miranda said. “Parents needed an office space because they were working out of their homes.”
The one thing worrying agents is that single-family home inventory is extremely low, as sellers keep holding back.
That’s also pushed local home prices to their highest level on record. In December, the median price for a single-family home in Greater Houston was $273,443, more than $20,000 higher than in December 2019.
“We are concerned that the increase in prices might prevent some first-time homebuyers to getting into the market,” Miranda said.
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