HOUSTON -- Home sales in the Houston area are down for the fifth straight month, according to a report released by the Houston Association of Realtors.

November 2010 sales fell 22 percent compared to home sales in November 2009.

We saw housing sales go down, but you have to take that into context, said Stewart Title Chief Economist Ted C. Jones. A year ago we had an $8,500 tax buyer home credit and as a result, we kind of cannibalized future sales.

Meanwhile, HAR reported that the average price of a single-family home increased 11.8 percent from November 2009 to $219,560. The median price went up 1.7 percent to $152,500.

Jones says he s bullish on Houston right now and predicts that the Greater Houston area market will improve in 2011.

I d give it an eight, he said. You look at median and average prices. I believe, in the next 12 months, median is going to go up about 1.5 percent. Average will go up by 1.2 percent, but I think our home sales would go down about 2.6 percent without that homebuyer tax credit incentive.

According to Jones, pricing and inventory is indicative of what s going on in a market, and both of those are doing well right now.

Houston developers did not overbuild, he said. There s about eight months worth of inventory.

Jones also expects to see 32,000 jobs created in 2011.

I m forecasting higher job numbers and jobs are everything to an economy. Wherever jobs go, housing goes, and wherever housing goes, commercial real estate goes, he said.

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