Houston’s housing boom has ended. But sellers in markets like Austin are in for a big shock.

Houston’s housing market is finally slowing — but not as fast as other destinations that were migration hotspots during the pandemic, according to a Redfin study.

So-called “old” listings in Houston — or homes that have been on the market for more than 30 days — jumped 10 percent in the Houston area in July, according to Redfin. Now 60 percent of homes in Houston have been sitting on the market for 30 days or longer.

But in other markets popular with epidemic destinations, home sellers are in for a big shock. According to Redfin, the share of “old” listings in Austin, for example, is up nearly 51 percent year over year. Older listings in Dallas jumped nearly 43 percent. And older listings in Phoenix and Oakland increased to 55 percent and 61 percent, respectively.

Places like Austin, Phoenix and Boise are among several pandemic-era “boom cities” that have attracted remote workers seeking more spacious living at affordable prices. An influx of out-of-town buyers combined with limited supplies in those markets has pushed inflation to eye-popping levels. In Austin, for example, the median home price has risen 58 percent in the past two years, reaching about $537,000 in June, according to the Austin Board of Realtors. Over the same period, average prices in Houston rose 35 percent — still a big jump, to be fair, but at a less aggressive pace than in Austin and other hotter markets.

Austin ranks No. 16 on Redfin’s list of fastest-cooling markets — with San Jose, Sacramento and Oakland rounding out the top three spots with steep sales declines, slower sales and more sellers cutting prices. Meanwhile, Houston didn’t even make Redfin’s top 20 fastest-cooling markets list. (ranked 24th).

Home sellers may be in a bit of a panic as homes stay on the market and settle for less than asking price, but the slight chill is good news for buyers.

“People buy into the narrative that the 2021 market was a normal market and a lot of buyers lost hope,” said George Ratieu, senior economist and manager of economic research at Realtor.com, weighing in on the Austin statistics. “In fact, the 2021 market was normal and this transition shows that more hope is on the horizon for buyers.”

Of course, that doesn’t mean Houston home sellers won’t face a new reality as well. More than a third of Houstonians lowered their asking prices in June, according to Redfin. And last month, home sales in the metro saw their highest rate of sales — 17 percent — since the pandemic began, according to the Houston Association of Realtors.

After four months of declining sales in Houston, the pandemic buying boom has officially ended in Houston.

“The market did a 180-degree turn from early spring to late spring, with buyers held back by high mortgage rates. Christopher Jones, a Redfin agent in Houston, said.

For example, late last year around early spring, it was common for homes listed on Redfin in the Houston area to receive multiple listings.

If we don’t sign a contract within a few days, buyers and their agents will ask, ‘What’s wrong with the house?’ They were asking. That’s how strong the seller’s market was,” adds John. Now, a nice house, good value, under $400,000 or under $500,000 in the Katy/Sugar Land area should go under contract in 2 to 3 weeks.

Although homes don’t seem to be selling like hotcakes, the typical home in the Houston area sells in 26 days — flat from a year ago, according to the Houston Association of Realtors. Before the pandemic, a typical Houston home spent 51 days on the market in 2019.

“It’s still a strong market for sellers,” Jones said. “It’s all about perspective.”


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