Longview-area home sales got off to a strong start in January, and a strengthening local economy is stoking optimism for more gains through 2018.
According to data from the Longview Area Association of Realtors, 179 homes were sold in January, up 32.6 percent from 135 homes sold a year earlier. The average sales price also increased about 18.6 percent to $171,495 from $144,635 in January 2017.
"The market is getting stronger," said Jeff Ramsey, broker with the Ramsey Realty Group in Longview. "I think January numbers are going to continue to increase. I think the oil and gas industry is at a three-year high."
January’s total of sales was down nearly 31 percent from the 234 homes sold in December, when the average sales price was also higher, at $173,940.
Within Longview ZIP codes, closed sales in January climbed 4.6 percent to 45 from 37 a year ago. The median home price was up 6.1 percent to $164,500 in January from $155,000.
Homes ranging in price from $100,00 to $199,999 accounted for 58.5 percent of all sales in Longview ZIP codes, followed by 24.4 percent in the $200,000 to $299,999 price range.
In addition to oil prices that have been climbing since July and regular weekly increases in the number of drilling rigs at work, Ramsey said the merger this past February of Good Shepherd Health System with Irving-based Christus Health, as well as changes at Longview Regional Medical Center, have helped boost home sales. That is because some people are leaving the hospitals, and others have taken jobs there, he said.
Homes spent an average of 121 days on the market in the association’s 10-county region in January, up 7 percent from 113 a year ago. Days on market increased slightly within Longview ZIP codes as well, to 150 in January from 143 a year ago.
Active listings in Longview ZIP codes dropped about 8 percent to 459 from 525 a year ago.
The months of inventory dropped to 6.4 from 7.7 a year ago within the ZIP codes.
The association’s data is based on its Multiple Listing Service, which represents about 85 percent of total sales in the market. It does not capture sales by owners or some sales of new construction by builders.