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The Houston Chronicle reports home sales in the Houston area took a 14% jump in January as compared to last year. The fresh figures come from the Houston Association of Realtors who peg the increase to low mortgage rates and demand for homes priced between $250,000 and $750,000. The spike has resulted in bidding wars. “I have a half-dozen clients looking to buy and are getting outbid,” said Elizabeth Rankin Rice, a mortgage loan consultant with First United Bank. “There’s some frustration in that regard.”

Last month, buyers closed on 4,699 single-family homes at a median price of $234,000, which was up 4.5 percent from last January, reported Wednesday. The sales increase was the seventh straight month of year-over-year gains.

Homes priced between $500,000 and $750,000 drew the most buyers in January, followed by homes in the $250,000 to $500,000 range, according to the group, which tracks sales handled by Realtors primarily throughout Harris, Fort Bend and Montgomery counties.

“January is a traditionally slower month for home sales coming off the holidays, but the Houston market continues to benefit from low mortgage interest rates and a generally robust economy with healthy employment numbers,” Houston Association of Realtors’ Chairman John Nugent said in a press release. “All the January home buying activity lowered our housing inventory a little, but we expect to see that grow again as we approach the spring months when more homes typically hit the market.”

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