Business

Home Sales Slump In December, Falling 9.7 Percent Year-Over-Year

Low oil prices and tight inventory took a toll on Houston real estate in the fourth quarter of 2015.

Houston-area home sales tumbled 9.7 percent in December, compared to December 2014. That’s according to the latest report from the Houston Association of Realtors. But even with business sputtering, 2015 still wound up as the second-strongest year on record.

Greater Houston saw 5,879 single-family home sales last month. It marked the third month in a row that low oil prices took a toll on the local real estate market.

“I do believe that some of the job layoffs are affecting us in the oil industry,” says Shad Bogany, past chairman of the Texas Association of Realtors.

A lack of homes available for purchase also hurt sales. The region’s housing inventory fell to 3.2 months. Inventory is a rough measure how long it would take to sell out the entire listed supply of housing.

Bogany says builders aren’t likely to catch up with the demand for new homes for a while yet. “The construction cost is up, labor cost is up, and more importantly land cost is up.”

The fourth-quarter slowdown cut 2015’s home sales by 2.4 percent compared to 2014. But the average price of a single-family home rose by 3.7 percent over the past year to $280,290.

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Andrew Schneider

Politics and Government Reporter

Andrew heads Houston Public Media’s coverage of national, state, and local elections. He also reports on major policy issues before the Texas Legislature and county and city governments across Greater Houston. Before taking up his current post, Andrew spent five years as Houston Public Media’s business reporter, covering the oil...

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