Crumbling from the Outside In: The Poop on 2008 Houston Home Sales

The Houston Chronicle‘s annual neighborhood-sales-data extravaganza came out this weekend. Since it covers the 2008 calendar year, the survey is timed just right to document the continuing drop in sales and prices of far-flung lower-priced homes — but maybe a bit early to catch the extended Wile E. Coyote-style midair hang a fair number of closer-in half-a-million-plus homes on the market are currently experiencing.

A few highlights:

Sales activity dropped in all counties for non-foreclosure transactions. All counties showed a rise in sales of foreclosed homes.

And those foreclosures are also clearly missing the bullseye: In 2008 there were only 362 foreclosures inside the Loop and 2,556 between the Loop and Beltway 8 — but a whopping 9,342 outside the Beltway. In total, foreclosures were only up about 11 percent over the previous year. But the number of non-foreclosure sales dropped by almost 22 percent. So in 2008 foreclosures accounted for just under 22 percent of all sales.

Where did the prices fall last year?


The ring between the Loop and Beltway 8 experienced the most softness, falling 7 percent, compared to the regions inside the Loop and outside the Beltway. . . .

Home sales were off 16 percent, as would-be buyers couldn’t qualify for mortgages or were too scared to make any big purchases amid an uncertain economy.

Low sales numbers wreaked havoc with the price-increase rankings of individual neighborhoods. The sales prices of the grand total of 6 homes sold last year in Northgate Forest, for example, were enough to score that neighborhood a misleading 74.7 percent increase in its median price per square foot for the year — the second highest in the survey. Yes, that’s the same neighborhood where Mattress Mack eventually sold his home last year — for less than half of its original listing price.

Also, the neighborhood sales-price database is fun to play with, but doesn’t appear to retrieve data if you’re using a Mac or Firefox on a PC. Try it with Internet Explorer. And let us know what other interesting figures you find.

5 Comment

  • Statisticians: On your mark! Get Set! GO!

  • Oddly, if you enter “First Ward” in the Chronicle neighborhood sales-price database it gives you a map of the West Coast of Africa. No word on how well the housing market in suburban Kinshasa is holding up, though.

  • well, looking at all of the 95% complete spec homes sitting inside the loop, i bet we have many more than 362 foreclosures in 2009.

  • atylene, when I read your comment, I thought you were joking. That is truly the weirdest bug I have come across in a long time!

  • some awesome web-programming there…entering my neighborhood, Sienna Plantation, also brings up the coast of Africa.

    does this in IE8 and Firefox.

    kudos to the Chron!