Houston home sales drop in October due to labor and supply shortages

Monthly home sales fell only for the second time this year, as low inventories and fierce competition pushed some buyers out of the way as material and labor shortages slowed the downturn. construction of new houses.

Single-family home sales fell 5.2% in October from a year earlier to about 8,700, the Houston Association of Realtors reported on Wednesday, July being the only other month this year to see sales decline. from one year to the next. While the real estate frenzy may have cooled, prices haven’t. The median selling price jumped about 15% from the previous year to $ 305,000.

Homes have been selling at a breakneck pace at increasingly higher prices, due to low mortgage rates and lifestyle changes, such as the desire for more space, spurred by the pandemic. Even with October’s drop, closed home sales are still up for another record year.

And the slide could be short lived. The number of homes under contract climbed more than 8% in October, predicting a further increase in closed sales in the coming months.

“Housing markets move in cycles, especially after hitting record highs for months,” said Richard Miranda, president of the Houston Association of Realtors. “We cannot rule out the possibility that some home buyers are waiting until there is more inventory to choose from.”

Homes are still moving at a steady pace, staying on the market for only 32 days on average, according to HAR. Inventories, however, do not follow; active registrations fell 11.4% last month compared to the same period last year.

Tight inventory and fierce competition have helped buyers consistently bid $ 10,000 or more above asking prices, said LaDonna Parker, broker at Keller Williams Realty. She said she expects the market to stay warm and stocks to increase as the COVID-19 pandemic disappears from view. Vaccinations are increasing and new drugs to treat the disease are in preparation.

“Overall, I think the sellers – especially the ones who want to cash in – they’re starting to put these homes on the market,” she said. “The spring market will be very robust.

Supply chain issues affecting so many goods and industries have contributed to the housing shortage in the market. Difficulties obtaining materials, as well as workers, have slowed the pace of new home construction and sales, Miranda said. Wood, windows and metals have been particularly hard to come by, said John Schiegg, vice president of supply chain for Houston home builder David Weekley Homes, and it’s driving up costs and prices.

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“It’s tough. We really thought we would be out of this situation here (now), but it actually got worse,” Schiegg said. “People just say, ‘If you want us to ship this material or that we show up on the site, here is the new price ”.”

Building new homes typically takes more than nine months, up from six months before the pandemic. But Schiegg doesn’t necessarily complain.

“Home building is still booming,” he said.

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