HOUSTON - Despite the pandemic and economic crisis, homes sales in Houston had a record year last year, according to the Houston Association of Realtors. And analysts expect the trend to continue this year.
HAR reports that single-family home sales in 2020 surpassed 2019 by more than 10%, while the supply of homes for sale hit record lows.
"The two of us have been working from home. It's like you never get a chance to get away from the office, in a sense, when you're in an apartment in the city," said Henry Osorio.
Osorio and Tarah Taylor and their two children have made an offer, hoping to move from renting a city apartment to buying a house in the suburbs.
"We're hopeful to have a sense of community, know who our neighbors are, know who the children are in the area, be able to go outside, go to the park," said Taylor.
"We're seeing folks coming from other cities around the country," said realtor Bincy Jacob with Keller Williams Memorial.
Now that more people expect to work from home indefinitely, Jacob says they're looking to buy homes with more space.
"Do I need a space to have an office? Do I need a space to work out? Do I need some greenspace outside my home? Am I in close proximity to some trails if I can't go on vacation all the time," said Bincy of what clients are asking.
"It was a banner year, a record year. We had 10% percent more sales in 2020 than we did in 2019," said HAR Chairman Richard Miranda.
Miranda says homebuyers are driven by the low-interest rates.
"We're talking 2% in some cases, less than 2%. That's unheard of," he said.
"So if I could normally afford $1200 a month when it was a 3% or 4% interest rate, now that it's 2%, I can get into a house that's a little higher range in budget and still pay the same $1200," explained Jacob.
But inventory of homes for sale dropped to 1.9 months as more homeowners decided not to sell. Inventory at six months is considered a balanced market. HAR says the low inventory drove the median home price up nearly 6% to $260,000.
"There's a huge demand for property and not enough property to sell. So yeah, I think the prices are going to keep chipping up," said Miranda.
"We're really excited," said Taylor.
"I can't stop talking about it," added Osorio.
"It's a big step because, as young as we are and with the conditions, most millennials are really struggling right now," said Taylor.
Nationwide, Zillow predicts home values will keep rising in 2021 by more than 10% by December, with a peak of 13.5% in June.