In the Houston, TX market, closings of new homes sank year-over-year in December, but the decline in percentage terms was not as steep as November 2015, signaling that the market may be evening out. New home closings saw a 5.5% decline from a year earlier to 2,667. This was after the housing market saw a 14.0% drop year-over-year in November.

A total of 24,984 new homes were sold during the 12 months that ended in December, down from 25,138 for the year that ended in November.

New home closings made up 24.4% of overall housing closings. New home closings were 23.6% of overall closings last year. Following a year-over-year decline in November, closings of new and existing homes also declined year-over-year in December.

Pricing and Mortgage Trends

The average price of newly sold homes jumped year-over-year 1.4% in December to $325,435 per unit. This rise is smaller than the 4.6% bump in November year-over-year.

For newly sold homes, the average mortgage size rose year-over-year along with new home prices. In December 2015, average mortgage size increased 2.1% from a year earlier to $279,339. In November 2015, average mortgage size gained 5.6% from a year earlier.

Other Market Trends

There has been little change in the composition of the market with regard to the types of properties sold. From a year ago, single-family home closings have moved from 98.3% of new home closings to 98.1% of closings while attached units have gone from 1.7% of closings to 1.9% of closings.

For all new homes sold, the average unit size rose 13.9% year-over-year to 3,330 square feet in December 2015. The average size of newly sold homes moved from 2,815 square feet in November 2014 to 3,036 square feet in November 2015. An increase in both the average size and price of newly sold homes was also seen in November 2015 when the average size jumped 7.9% to 3,036 square feet.

Foreclosures and real estate owned (REO) closings continued to drop from a year earlier in December, but did not look to be a burden on the market. Foreclosures and REO closings, taken together, made up 11.5% of existing closings, lower than 15.2% a year earlier. The percentage of existing home closings involving foreclosures declined to 5.5% in December from 7.4% a year earlier while REO closings as a percentage of existing home closings dropped to 6.1% from 7.8% a year earlier.

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