Apr 17, 2023 - Real Estate

Home prices drop for first time since 2020

Illustration of a real estate sale sign shaped like a downward point arrow

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

The pandemic has been a roller coaster for Houston's housing market. But just like the rest of us, the real estate market is now adjusting to what the Houston Association of Realtors claims will be its new normal.

Driving the news: While home sales in Houston were down in comparison to March 2021 and 2022, closings in March 2023 were higher than in March 2019, according to a new HAR report that looks at how the market has changed since the pandemic began.

The latest: The median cost of a single-family home declined slightly last month compared to March 2022 — the first drop since spring 2020, per HAR.

  • Reality check: The median price dropped 3% to $325,000 year over year, but that was still significantly higher than the $240,000 median price in March 2019.

Of note: The slightly lower home prices haven't translated to lower appraisals yet. The Harris Central Appraisal District earlier this month said valuations are up an average of 16% in the past year, per Houston Public Media.

What they're saying: “Houston real estate is continuing to work its way back to normalcy with more new listings hitting the market and prices easing,” says HAR Chair Cathy Treviño.

  • “Inflation and interest rates are still causing angst, but once consumer confidence is finally restored, we will see home sales pick up and probably return to the seasonal cycles that prevailed before the pandemic.”

By the numbers: March marked the 12th consecutive month of falling home sales. Single-family home sales fell 18.3% year over year, with 7,907 units sold compared to 9,681 in March 2022.

  • Yes, but: When compared to March 2019, when 6,995 units sold, sales were up 13%.

Separately, Houstonians on the fence about when to list their home should consider this week, according to a report from Realtor.com. But it might take longer to sell the home, as it now takes about 62 days to sell a home, versus 38 days in March 2022.

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