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HOUSTON-Existing home sales have remained solid as October’s numbers came in slightly ahead of last year’s record-breaking pace, according to statistics released by the Houston Association of Realtors.

At 4,278 homes, total sales reached the highest ever recorded for the month of October, up slightly from October 1999′s total sales of 4,272. Total home sales so far are ahead of last year’s pace, with 46,878 existing homes sold so far–slightly ahead of the 46,763 totaled in 1999. “Regardless of where we finish in 2000, this year will rank as one of the strongest, if not the strongest, ever recorded,” says Frankie Jefferson, association chairman.

The median price of single-family existing homes has dipped to $116,500. Inventory has continued to rise, to 26,659 in October, up over September’s 26,494 tally. This is the largest inventory since October 1997, indicating some softness in the market.Total dollar volume had closed in October at $632,068,456, up 13.8% over October 1999′s total. Year-to-date total dollar volume figures are $7,001,308.979, an increase of 12.1% over last year’s total for the same period.

October’s median price of $116,500 is 14.2% higher than last October’s $102,000. Meanwhile, buyers have opened 3,203 contracts in October, a slight decrease from October 1999. The pending sales are a traditional indicator of closed sales for the ensuing months.

The realtors association reports a significant increase in the median price of high-rise properties, jumping 46.5% to $290,000 from last year’s $198,000. There have been 49 properties sold in October in comparison to 40 in October 1999. Townhouse and condominium sales have risen to 442 in October, up from 404 last October, boasting a median price of $70,000 in comparison to $68,000.

The median price for country homes has dipped more than 48%, from $184,500 to $94,860. That included 23 sales this October in comparison to last year’s 20 for the month.

The Multiple Listing Service features residential properties and new homes listed by 11,000 Realtors in Harris and surrounding counties. MLS areas with significant increases in median price in October over last year include: Brazoria County, $112,250 in 1999 to $139,500 this year; Far Northwest, from $95,000 to $124,580; Central, from $260,000 to $302,500; Southwest, from $273,500 to $350,000; Central West, from $284,950 to $312,360; Memorial, from $345,000 to $375,000; Spring Branch, from $81,370 to $112,750; Waller County, from $55,500 to $81,550; and West, from $135,000 to $182,250.

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