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According to the Houston Association of Realtors, the sale of homes priced between $100,000 - $140,000 and homes under $100,000 in the Houston area both took hits in the neighborhood of 25% for the month of November. The main culprit appears to be lack of inventory combined with rising property values. “What used to be a $150,000-$170,000 house is now a $220,000 house,” said Jim Gaines, chief economist for the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University. Investors are also buying up affordable houses, flipping them or renting them out.

Mortgage financing in this segment of the market remains challenging as well. Low- and moderate-income buyers made up 26.3 percent of borrowers last year, compared with 36.6 percent in 2009, according to national data released earlier this year from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Overall, the Houston region registered a 2 percent home decline in November. Buyers closed on 6,159 single-family homes last month at a median price of $235,000 — a 4.4 percent increase over a year earlier, according to the association, which tracks sales handled through the Multiple Listing Service in primarily Harris, Fort Bend and Montgomery counties. Houses that sold for $750,000 and higher saw the strongest sales gains at 12.3 percent. Year-to-date, sales are 4.6 percent ahead of last year's record volume.

“The Houston housing market remains on track for another record year, which was an almost unimaginable concept when the year began, on the heels of so much devastation from Hurricane Harvey,” HAR Chair Kenya Burrell-VanWormer of JPMorgan Chase said in the report. “As 2018 draws to a close, we see slow but steady growth in the supply of housing as well as a strong job market, which together make for a healthy real estate climate.”

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