For all the number nerds out there, here are some statistics showing River Oaks real estate activity August 1 through September 15 this year and last year.

A quick glance at the numbers in the table above would suggest that we are in a radically different market as we head into the autumn of 2018 compared with one year ago.

Inventory is up by a third. Properties taken off the market and put back on are dramatically more numerous than ever before. Price reductions are much more frequent. New pending contracts and closed sales are significantly higher.

One has to ask what this all means, and if, indeed, the market is so very different from last year. Here are some answers:

  1. Let’s not forget that Hurricane Harvey occurred at the end of August 2017, after which the River Oaks market froze in time for several months. Hence the reduced activity for new inventory, pending contracts and closed sales.
  2. In 2018, with a greater tendency for sellers to price their properties ambitiously (rightly so, in reaction to some frothy lot purchases in the first half of the year), there was an inevitable impasse in the summer of 2018.
  3. The high number of subsequent price reductions has directly resulted in a high number of new pending contracts.
  4. The large number of listings being taken off the market and put immediately back on (at a reduced price) is becoming tediously fashionable in our trade. It fools nobody. This is not what we consider good marketing, people!
  5. Probably the most intriguing numbers are in the pending contracts data. Fifteen new contracts in these summer dog-days is extraordinarily high for any season of the year. But the eight contracts in the same summer period in 2017 were also unusually high. Why?

We think it’s because several sectors of the River Oaks market have been getting off to a slower start in recent years. Market activity is not peaking until mid-June instead of the typical March/early-April period. Subsequently the tail end of sales activity for the first half of the last two years has stretched well into August. Were it not for the truly quiet couple of weeks between mid-August and Labor Day, we could say that sales activity is becoming continuous over the entire summer instead of taking two months off for vacation time.