Houston Market Update – March 2015

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Inventory levels are still extremely low and continuing to drive up home prices at incredible rates.  Home sales have dropped by almost 6% from the same time last year with the average price increasing almost 5%.  The national home ownership rate is down to 64% which is the lowest in twenty years. With the oil industry driving our state’s economy slowing concerns about the current real estate market are well founded.

There is however some good news. Houston is still expected to increase jobs at an annual rate of around 65,000 with Texas increasing between 1-2%.  Home builders are hiring and ramping up production to try and meet the current demand. Texas personal income levels in 2014 increased 5.6% keeping pace with home values. The luxury real estate market has begun to cool for homes priced over $500k.  Also, first time home buyers have begun to sneak back into the market although slowly.  These signs indicate that inventory will rise albeit slowly and hopefully reach healthy levels.

Posted in Economy, Federal Housing Statistics, Home Values, Homes Values, Houston, Houston Single Family Homes Sales Data, Houston Statistics, New Construction, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Oil Prices, Layoffs and the Housing Market

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Houston Housing Market and Home Values

Texas employs some of the largest energy companies in the world. Houston alone is home to more oil companies than anywhere in the world.  In 2014 the Governor’s office reported twenty companies headquartered in Houston having total revenues just under $900 billion.

As the price of oil decreases companies begin to lose revenue such that future projects are placed on hold, hiring halted, and raises significantly reduced combined with layoffs. Bloomberg BusinessWeek reported that Texas can expect a $1.8 billion reduction of monthly cash flow from production as a result of $60/barrel oil, and currently we are below $50. Yes cheaper gas allows a typical family to drive 30% further on a single tank, but those savings have just a small impact on the local economy.

The American Petroleum Institute in 2011 produced a report stating that the oil and natural gas industry is worth 7.3% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), but in an energy rich city like Houston this figured is far higher. Houston, like many in Texas survives off energy.  If 10% or more of the economy is harmed due to lower oil prices then the local markets must eventually suffer.

The housing market in Houston is strongly influenced by the oil industry and with long term reductions in oil revenue we will see a negative impact on sales and housing starts.  Currently homes valued around $250,000 and above are witnessing growth; the remaining homes are having serious struggles with a continued reduction in sales thanks to Dodd-Frank.  With the average wage in the oil industry is upwards of $185,000 while the remaining industries average $64,000 (as reported by Bloomberg) clearly the oil industry feeds the upper end of the housing market that currently is thriving.

Schlumberger, Halliburton, and others have announced layoffs and other companies are soon to follow. If the price of oil stays near $50 a barrel home owners and future sellers should take notice. Rising property values will most likely come to a halt, and long term values may actually fall if oil stays this low.

For more information on the impact oil has to the housing market in Houston visit Builder Online and the article by Scott Davis. (Link below.) He has some very interesting data indicating where gas prices should be located to maximize housing starts.

Oil Prices and Housing Starts

Posted in Economy, Federal Housing Statistics, Home Values, Homes Values, Houston, Houston Single Family Homes Sales Data, Houston Statistics, Sugar Land, U.S. Housing Starts | Leave a comment

Impact of Dodd-Frank on Loans and Housing Market

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Dodd-Frank was passed by Congress in July of 2010 and outlined upwards of 300 rules that federal authorities needed to implement.  It also involved numerous studies and various reports; however the details matter less than the impact on the housing market years later. While the entire set of rules has yet to be fully implemented the overall impact of those executed has significantly tightened credit. The Real Estate Center at Texas A&M compiled data from various sources including the National Association of Realtors to provide a glimpse at the effect on home sales.

The higher requirements for decreased Debt-to-Income, higher FICO scores, and higher down payments hit first time home buyers the hardest. Homes under $100k dropped upwards of 15% last year and for homes up to $250k they reduced over 6%. Only homes priced above $1 million witnessed an increase in sales.

Current professional graduates are carrying significant debt from student loans, automobile purchases and other living expenses and thus have a very low success rate at obtaining a mortgage. The National Institute for Educational Statistics reports that 2.8 million higher education collegiate degrees will be rewarded for the current 2014-15 school year. That is a large number of potential first time home buyers seeking living arrangements but not purchasing homes. Our property management business has witnessed a large influx of young graduates renting as a result of the credit crunch.

Whether this trend becomes the norm remains to be seen, but the impact on housing is clear as fewer homes are being sold to first time home buyers.

Houlb Realty & Property Management, Inc.

Posted in Federal Housing Statistics, Freddie Mac, Government, Home Loan Amounts, Houston Statistics | Leave a comment

Houston and Surrounding Metro Area Housing Market Update

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The Houston Association of Realtor’s housing numbers showed a strong increase in sales with a flat inventory level over the past year. The single family average and median home prices hit all time highs for Houston. The average days-on-market per sale was 46 days for the month of August and that was second lowest in history.

As we previously reported inventory levels were reaching critically low levels but during summer more sellers entered the market bringing that value up to just over 3%. Although sales volumes typically slow during the Fall we believe the same trends will continue into Spring.

Latest Real Estate Housing Market for Sugar Land, Houston, and Surrounding Suburbs

Not all housing segments are experiencing an increase.  Homes valued at $150,000 and below have seen a decline in sales volume.  The largest increase was witnessed in the jumbo loan area of homes over $500,000.  This behavior is driven by the influx of white color jobs to Houston. Greater Houston Partnership reported that the Houston metropolitan area created 112,200 jobs in the 12 months ending July 2014 representing a 4.0 percent annual growth rate. This increase is the largest of all the nation’s major metro areas. The sectors adding jobs were mainly the professional, scientific, technical services and health care.

Single Family Home Sales in Houston Continue to Rise

Posted in Economy, Home Values, Homes Values, Houston, Houston Single Family Homes Sales Data, Houston Statistics, Investment Property, Sugar Land | Leave a comment

Airbnb Host Can’t Remove Guest / Tenant

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The development of online sites such as Airbnb and Craigslist allow home owners a quick and easy way to rent their homes.  Some rent out a bedroom while others rent out an entire home.  Fast money can be made in most cases however there are serious risks too. Take the following situation that occurred in California (reported by Business Insider) as an example. Airbnb Host Can’t Remove Guest A second example currently ongoing in Ocean City on the east cost is when owners are unaware of the local code registrations and laws that govern renting. Ocean City Weekly Rental

In both situations the home owners have serious problems.  When a guest refuses to leave the premises then most owners become highly frustrated and panic as their knowledge in removing a tenant is limited.  The tenant has your personal address and contact information so significant safety concerns are also present.   Calling the local law enforcement in most cases will yield zero results. At this point legal action is the only true option but doing so can produce fairly decent legal bills.

Property management companies have the experience to handle these and other situations.  We carry insurance, understand the local zoning regulations, file and represent owners in court battles, have relationships with the local law enforcement, and NEVER provide home owner information to tenants. The risks are removed from the owner and applied to the company for a very small fee.  Just like life, auto, home, and flood insurance a property management company is the owners leasing insurance.

Posted in Government, Investment Property, Property Management, Proposed Legislation | Leave a comment

Latest Renovation Pics and Progress!

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Our latest renovation is coming along quickly! The living room is getting new sheetrock and the kitchen has some walls removed. Notice the new header in the ceiling. These are required to distribute the load correctly when removing walls.



Posted in Houston Single Family Homes Sales Data, Investment Property, Renovations, Sugar Land | Leave a comment

5 Tips to Make Moving Home Stress Free

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Here is an article from our friend Luke Peters located in the lovely UK that hopefully will help in removing stress from moving!


Image Credits @ Iacobus Images

Shifting a house is a stressful and tiresome process that many of us go through and have gone through at least once in our lives. Moving not just involves yourself, but also your personal items that should be delicately handled. Unless you’re a minimalist, moving your personal items is one of the biggest and the most strenuous task you can undergo. Over a lifetime a person accumulates several items that serve various functions. There are several ways that make moving stress free and smooth. Let us talk about the best methods to preserve and protect your items while you relocate them to your new abode.

  1. Advance Planning

If you’re the kind of person who likes the idea of last minute plans, you must know that when it comes to moving a house without any stress or loss of property, it is essential that you plan ahead. Advance planning not only makes things appear organized in the chaos that ensues while the moving, but will also make sure that you do not leave or miss any important personal item and lower the risk of damages.

  1. Build a Checklist

Making a list of items and maintaining a checklist might sound a bit nerdy to some, but it can save yourself from the trouble of remembering your items at the last minute. From item lists, to paying of important bills, changing of addresses and phone numbers etc. should all be included in your checklist to avoid any troubles when the time of moving arrives.

  1. Minimizing Luggage While Keeping Waste To A Bare Minimum

It is important for people to keep their luggage to a bare minimum to avoid troubles like damage in transport etc. Donate the items you do not wish to take with you to the needy, or put it up for sale. Make sure you minimize waste like cardboard and bubble wrap and purge the items that you don’t use. This not just reduces your luggage for a comfortable moving experience but also reduces your impact on the environment by reducing waste.

  1. Choose Your Destination Before Moving

Several times, items like beds and large mirrors cannot be easily relocated to the new destination and can require some advanced moving techniques. Make sure you choose a suitable location that can contain your personal belongings and transportation is not a hassle. Items like huge mirrors, beds and piano etc. might be difficult to relocate. Make sure you talk to the estate agencies like estate agents in Hornchurch and other places in the UK, and provide them with each of your specifications to choose a fitting destination for your personal items.

  1. Choosing Professional Moving Services

To ensure that your personal belongings are delivered to your new home with safety and convenience, one can also hire the services of professional packing and moving services. Choose your packing and moving service carefully and treat them with utmost respect so they respect your belongings. Nevertheless, hiring a packer doesn’t mean that you’re free from the stress. You must ensure that the personnel packs your delicate items and handles them with utmost care. Label the packaged boxes carefully to avoid any last minute mishap.

Moving the home is a time of utter chaos and can be stressful. Children, pets, new neighbors etc. are the various factors that must also be kept in mind while moving. Following the above tips might help you organize and streamline your moving process and provide you with the sense of confidence that you aren’t missing any detail and relieves you of any stress.

Author Bio:

Luke Peters has written several articles on law, real estate, finance and management. He likes to read novels, articles and other literature related to various topics and keeps up with the latest news and developments in the industry.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment