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Greater Houston home sales are hot despite pandemic. What gives?

It’s a tough time for many economically. However, there’s one area this pandemic seems to be helping: residential real estate.

HOUSTON — A lot of things have slowed down during this pandemic, but home sales in Greater Houston is not one of them.

According to Keller Williams realtor Kim Vargas with the Houston Properties Team, between COVID-19 and the hard hit the oil and gas industry has taken, they were expecting a slowdown. That’s not what happened.

“The Houston real estate market has been on fire,” Vargas said.

According to the Houston Association of Realtors, June’s home sales were up 18.3 percent from 2019. First-time home buyer Megan Gilbert knows why.

“The low interest rates for sure,” said Gilbert, who just closed on a house Wednesday. “Plus we need more room with at-home learning, and you never know what’s going to happen in the future. We decided, like, let’s just go for it.”

The pandemic has left many working, schooling and entertaining from home. Vargas said buyers want space.

“They want a pool. They want a bigger backyard, and they are needing office space for those who are working from home," she said.

HAR data show in June, there was a 28 percent jump from 2019 in homes in the $250,000 to $500,000 range, many in the suburbs. Vargas said the hot suburbs around Greater Houston are The Woodlands, Katy, Fulshear and Pearland where buyers can get a lot for their money and they’re desirable school districts. This helps maintain a high resale value.

According to Vargas, another factor driving people to buy larger homes in the suburbs is people think they may be working from home even once the pandemic ends now that companies realize it’s possible and cuts their overhead costs. Several companies like Facebook and Twitter have already made that announcement.

For homeowners thinking about selling, now might be a good time to act.

“We have a lot of buyers and not enough inventory,” Vargas explained. “People are paying, if not market price, above market price right now.”

As for how long this pandemic with have a positive effect on property sales, Vargas said it’s anyone’s guess.

“All good things must come to an end, right? So we are expecting a decline in the market we just don’t know when," she said.

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