The real estate market continued its nearly yearlong run of double-digit sales increases in March, with 24.4% more properties sold and average prices jumping by almost 20% to $370,847, according to the Houston Association of Realtors' monthly report.

In its April 14 report, HAR attributed the surge in pricing to a shortage of homes priced below $250,000 and to increased demand for high-end homes, which saw nearly twice as many sales this March cas ompared to March 2020, when pandemic lockdowns first began affecting local market activity. HAR also noted that low interest rates continue to fuel buying activity.

"Several overlapping market forces propelled us to a strong finish in March, between a lack of low-to-mid-range housing and aggressive high-end buying by consumers taking advantage of historically low interest rates,” said HAR Chair Richard Miranda with Keller Williams Platinum in a news release. “The inventory shortage is causing stress for many folks. Hopefully we begin to see an uptick in new listings sooner than later.”

As of this month, Houston's housing inventory is at 1.4 months of supply, which meanas all available homes could be sold in that time if trends continue.

HAR also cited a report from John Burns Real Estate Consulting indicating that almost 1 in 4 recent purchases were by investors.

Homes priced between $500,000 and $750,000 saw 96.8% more sales year over year, while those over $750,000 saw 89.9% more.

Across the HAR region, 11,692 properties were sold, a 31.5% increase over March 2020, representing $4 billion in transactions.