The lingering effects of Hurricane Ike back in October 2008 combined with recent homebuying activity spurred by the federal government’s $8,000 first-time homebuyer tax credit produced positive numbers for the Houston real estate market in October. For the second month in a row, both property sales volume and pricing recorded gains. According to the latest monthly data compiled by the Houston Association of REALTORS® (HAR), October volume of single-family home sales across the greater Houston area rose 13.8 percent compared to October 2008. Total property sales climbed 14.1 percent in October on a year-over-year basis. At $149,000, the October single-family home median price—the figure at which half of the homes sold for more and half sold for less—rose 5.0 percent from one year earlier, representing the sixth straight monthly increase in median price. The average price of a single-family home in Houston was $198,639, up 3.2 percent last month versus October 2008. Both figures reached the highest levels ever for a month of October in Houston. Foreclosure property sales were flat month-over-month in October, making up 18.6 percent of all single-family home sales in the Houston area, but down compared to 25.8 percent in October 2008 and the 12-month peak of 34.0 percent in January of this year. The median price of October foreclosure sales reported in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) rose 3.8 percent to $88,293 on a year-over-year basis. Sales of all property types in Houston for August totaled 5,716, up 14.1 percent compared to October 2008. Total dollar volume for properties sold during the month was $1.0 billion versus $942 million one year earlier, representing an increase of 15.9 percent.

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