Breaking down the Houston-area housing market

The Houston Association of Realtors says home sales are down nearly 9 percent across the city.

Whether you’re on the hunt or spiking in a for sale sign in the ground, the real estate market is constantly changing.

Tim Surratt is a real estate expert with 35 years’ experience—and in that time, he’s seen bull and bear markets. Right now, Houston Association of Realtors (HAR) says home sales are down nearly 9 percent.

“We’re still in good shape in it being a sellers’ market in most areas, but that’s not across the city,” Surratt said. “We crunched HAR’s numbers to reveal these hot and cold markets compared to July last year.”

INTERACTIVE MAP: Houston market area

Katy Old Towne, Sugar Land West, Spring East and Stafford-area homes are selling more, at higher prices and sitting on the market for less than two months.

“It is down 8 percent over the record month a year ago, but surprisingly the average sales price is up slightly. It ticked up about 2 percent,” Surratt said.

Katy Old Town remains a strong competitive market. On average, homes are selling for about $36,000 more than a year ago. But here’s the catch: There are twice as many areas slumping.

“It was so overheated for so long, so really we may start raising at least a caution flag in those particular areas,” Surratt said.

Photos: Breaking down the Houston housing market

Katy Southwest, Memorial Park and the Energy Corridor homes are selling less homes for less money, and homes are sitting on the market longer.

“They were building houses that were in the pipeline and they couldn’t stop building them right away, so builders are going to keep building so that puts a little pressure on the resale market,” Surratt said.

People trying to buy in these areas will save thousands of dollars—turning their financial gain into a burden for sellers forced to reduce their asking price.

“If you don’t need to sell right now, don’t put it on the market. Let’s wait and see how the spring market comes and what happens then,” Surratt said. “If you’re just putting it on the market to test the waters, this probably isn’t the time to do that.”

To Surratt, timing is everything, although it’s impossible to predict when the market will rebound.

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