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Archive for November, 2015|Monthly archive page

Maintenance, Proper Use Key to Efficient Home Heating

In Buying a Home, Home Upgrades, Home Values, Houston Energy Corridor, Houston Real Estate Agent, Real Estate Investment, Selling your home on November 17, 2015 at 7:02 pm

Homeowners should consider how to make the most of their home heating budgets before cooler weather sets in. “Learning how to operate your home heating appliances and then taking care of them through routine maintenance are two of the best things a homeowner can do to save money on heating this season,” says Ashley Eldridge, director of Education for the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA).

Since most homeowners operate their heating appliances for only a season or two, it’s important to dust off installation and operation manuals and review the basics. If you are unsure about how to operate your home heating appliance and the owner’s manual cannot be found or does not make sense, call a qualified chimney professional that can show you not only how the heating and venting systems work, but also how to do your part for the environment when heating your home.

Annual inspections by a professional can also help you identify potential issues with your chimney, which may need to be addressed, including creosote buildup, obstructions like bird nests, or cracks which may cause noxious gases to be released inside the home. A good rule of thumb is that your chimney needs to be swept when there is an eighth of a inch of accumulated creosote in the system.

Source: CSIA

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2015. All rights reserved.

If you are interested in buying or selling real estate in West Houston, please contact Connie Vallone with First Market Realty at (713) 249-4177  or visit  or



In Buying a Home, Home Values, Houston Energy Corridor, Houston Real Estate Agent, Real Estate Investment, Selling your home on November 12, 2015 at 3:26 pm

HOUSTON — (November 11, 2015) — After performing largely on a par with the record 2014 sales year, the Houston real estate market lost momentum in October as the downturn in the oil industry coupled with the traditional fall season slowdown sent sales into a double-digit decline.

According to the latest monthly report prepared by the Houston Association of Realtors (HAR), October single-family home sales dropped 10.2 percent with a total of 5,873 sales compared to 6,541 a year earlier. That marks the fifth time this year that sales have fallen.

Declining sales affected homes in all pricing segments. Among those homes that did sell in October, Days on Market (DOM), or the number of days it took for the average home to sell, edged up to 53 days versus 51 in 2014.

Slower sales helped boost months of inventory, the estimated time it would take to deplete the current active housing inventory based on sales over the previous 12 months. It rose from a 2.8-months supply last October to a 3.5-months supply. Inventory has now held at a 3.5-months supply for the past four months, but remains below the current national housing supply of 4.8 months of inventory.

Home prices climbed to the highest levels ever for an October, with the average price of a single-family home up 3.7 percent year-over-year to $271,648. The median price—the figure at which half the homes sold for more and half for less—jumped 6.6 percent to $205,000.

Sales of all property types totaled 7,026 units, down 11.9 percent compared to last October. Total dollar volume fell 8.3 percent to $1.8 billion.

“At the beginning of the year, we discussed how Houston home sales would normalize by the end of 2015, and after an impressive run that rivaled last year’s record levels, it looks like the forecast is coming true in the fourth quarter,” said HAR Chair Nancy Furst with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Anderson Properties.


October Monthly Market Comparison

The Houston housing market showed declines in a majority of measurements in the October 2015 versus 2014 analysis, with single-family home sales, total property sales and total dollar volume all down, while prices climbed to record highs for an October.

Month-end pending sales for single-family homes totaled 6,374, a 2.7 percent drop from a year earlier, which suggests that slower sales may extend into November. Active listings, or the number of available properties, at the end of October rose 18.9 percent to 33,692.

Houston’s housing inventory has held at a 3.5-months supply since July of this year, up from the 2.8-months supply recorded in October 2014. That level still remains below the current 4.8-months national supply of homes reported by the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

Total property sales 7,993 7,026 -12.1%
Total dollar volume $1,987,933,935 $1,823,706,429 -8.3%
Total active listings 28,333 33,692 18.9%
Single-family home sales 6,541 5,873 -10.2%
Single-family average sales price $261,875 $271,648 3.7%
Single-family median sales price $192,300 $205,000 6.6%
Single-family months inventory* 2.8 3.5 26.0%
Single-family pending sales** 6,552 6,374 -2.7%

* Months inventory estimates the number of months it will take to deplete current active inventory based on the prior 12 months sales activity. This figure is representative of the single-family homes market.
** Effective May 2015, in an effort to be consistent with industry standards, the Houston MLS is now including all categories of pending sales in its reporting. Previously, the Houston MLS did not include “option pending” and “pending continue to show” listings in its reporting of pending sales. The new methodology is now all-inclusive for listings that went under contract during the month.


Single-Family Homes Update


Single Family

Single-family home sales totaled 5,873 in October, down 10.2 percent from October 2014. That marks the fifth and steepest sales decline of the year. Nonetheless, home prices achieved the highest levels ever for an October in Houston. The single-family average price rose 3.7 percent from last year to $271,648 while the median price jumped 6.6 percent year-over-year to $205,000. The average number of days it took to sell a home, or DOM, was 53 in October versus 51 days a year earlier.

For perspective, single-family home sales tracked on a year-to-date basis were down 1.0 percent in October at 63,175.

Broken out by housing segment, October sales performed as follows:


  • $1 – $79,999: decreased 27.2 percent
  • $80,000 – $149,999: decreased 24.9 percent
  • $150,000 – $249,999: decreased 5.6 percent
  • $250,000 – $499,999: decreased 3.4 percent
  • $500,000 and above: decreased 10.4 percent


Single Family Average Home Price


HAR also breaks out the sales figures for existing single-family homes. Existing home sales totaled 5,074 in October, down 9.1 percent versus the same month last year. The average sales price rose 6.0 percent year-over-year to $254,686 while the median sales price climbed 6.5 percent to $189,500.

Townhouse/Condominium Update

Sales of townhouses and condominiums tumbled 17.3 percent in October. A total of 508 units sold compared to 614 properties in October 2014. The average price remained unchanged at $196,242 and the median price slipped 1.0 percent to $146,500. Inventory grew from a 2.5-months supply to 3.2 months.

Townhouse/Condominium Sales


Lease Property Update

Demand for single-family lease homes rose 4.1 percent in October, while townhomes/condominiums saw demand jump 12.4 percent. The average rent for single-family homes was flat at $1,708, while the average rent for townhomes/condominiums dropped 5.0 percent to $1,510.

Houston Real Estate Milestones in October
  • Single-family home sales fell 10.2 percent compared to October 2014, marking the fifth and steepest decline of 2015;
  • Total property sales dropped 12.1 percent (7,026 units);
  • Total dollar volume decreased 8.3 percent to $1.8 billion;
  • At $271,648, the single-family home average price reached a record high for an October;
  • At $205,000, the single-family home median price also achieved a record October high;
  • Single-family homes months of inventory climbed to a 3.5-months supply versus 2.8 months a year earlier;
  • Townhomes/condominium sales dropped 17.3 percent with the average price flat at $196,242 and the median price down 1.0 percent to $146,500;
  • Leases of single-family homes rose 4.1 percent with rents remaining unchanged at $1,708;
  • Leases of townhomes/condominiums jumped 12.4 percent with rents sliding 5.0 percent to $1,510.

The computerized Multiple Listing Service of the Houston Association of REALTORS® includes residential properties and new homes listed by 31,000 REALTORS® throughout Harris, Fort Bend and Montgomery counties, as well as parts of Brazoria, Galveston, Waller and Wharton counties. Residential home sales statistics as well as listing information for more than 50,000 properties may be found on the Internet at

The information published and disseminated to the HAR Multiple Listing Services is communicated verbatim, without change by Multiple Listing Services, as filed by MLS participants.

The MLS does not verify the information provided and disclaims any responsibility for its accuracy. All data is preliminary and subject to change. Monthly sales figures reported since November 1998 includes a statistical estimation to account for late entries. Twelve-month totals may vary from actual end-of-year figures. (Single-family detached homes were broken out separately in monthly figures beginning February 1988.)

Founded in 1918, the Houston Association of REALTORS® (HAR) is a 31,000-member organization of real estate professionals engaged in every aspect of the industry, including residential and commercial sales and leasing, appraisal, property management and counseling. It is the largest individual dues-paying membership trade association in Houston as well as the second largest local association/board of REALTORS® in the United States.

If you are interested in buying or selling real estate in West Houston, please contact Connie Vallone with First Market Realty at (713) 249-4177  or visit  or

Housing Recovery to Pick Up Steam in 2016

In Buying a Home, Home Upgrades, Home Values, Houston Energy Corridor, new homes houston energy corridor, Selling your home on November 5, 2015 at 6:18 pm

Steady employment and economic growth, pent-up demand, affordable home prices and attractive mortgage rates will keep the housing market on a gradual upward trend in 2016. However, persistent headwinds related to shortages and availability of lots and labor, along with rising materials prices are impeding a more robust recovery, according to economists who participated in a recent National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Fall Construction Forecast Webinar.
“This recovery is all about jobs,” says NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “If people can get good jobs that pay decent incomes, the housing market will continue to move forward.”
The good news, Crowe added, is that total U.S. employment of 142 million is now well above the previous peak of 138 million that occurred in 2008.
The one caveat is that job growth has been concentrated heavily in the service sector, which tends to pay lower wages than goods producing jobs.
Meanwhile, home equity has nearly doubled since 2011 and now stands at $12.5 trillion.
“The single biggest asset in most people’s portfolio is the home they own,” says Crowe. “That’s important because the primary purchasers of new homes are the sellers of existing homes. The more equity they have, the more comfortable they feel about purchasing a new home.”
And while mortgage interest rates are expected to rise over the near-term, averaging 4.5 percent in 2016 and 5.5 percent in 2017, Crowe says this is not expected to have an impact on the housing recovery. “As the economy gets better, job and wage growth should keep pace. So even though mortgage rates will rise, they will still be low by historical standards and very affordable.”

Supply Headwinds
Crowe noted several factors that are hindering a more robust recovery. Citing an NAHB survey of its members, 13 percent of builders reported the cost and availability of labor was a significant problem in 2011 and that concern jumped to 61 percent in 2014.
About one-fifth of builders shared the same concerns regarding lots in 2011 and that ratio shot up to 58 percent in 2014.
Concerns over building materials stood at 58 percent among builders in 2014, up from 33 percent in 2011.

Single-Family Continues to Post Gains
Turning to the forecast, NAHB is projecting 719,000 single-family starts in 2015, up 11 percent from the 647,000 units produced last year. Single-family production is projected to increase an additional 27 percent in 2016 to 914,000 units.
On the multifamily side, production ran at 354,000 units last year, slightly above the 331,000 level that is considered a normal level of production. Multifamily starts are expected to rise 9 percent to 387,000 units this year and post a modest 3 percent decline to 378,000 units in 2016.
Residential remodeling activity is forecasted to increase 6.8 percent in 2015 over last year and rise an additional 6.1 percent in 2016.

Suburbs are Still Hot
Looking at home buyer preferences, Trulia Housing Economist Ralph McLaughlin says that contrary to popular belief, millennials prefer to own a home in the suburbs rather than rent in the cities.
“Many believe that home buyers are bucking the trend of previous generations in that they want to live in urban areas and want to rent,” says McLaughlin. “What we are finding from our surveys is just the opposite. Among millennial renters, almost 90 percent say they eventually want to purchase a home. That is significantly higher than Gen Xers, who were hurt by the recession, and quite a bit more than current baby boomer renters, who are at 40 percent.”
However, an overwhelming majority of millennials, who are still starting households and paying off college debt, say it will be at least two years before they are ready to buy.
Roughly half of all Americans prefer to live in suburban areas, about a quarter prefer urban areas and just over 20 percent prefer rural communities, according to a Trulia survey conducted last November.
“As we get into the recovery, suburban areas are growing faster than urban areas,” says McLaughlin. “That is a sign that the urbanization trend we saw start to happen at the beginning of the recovery was more of a blip rather than a new rule.”
Moreover, the percentage of households living in urban neighborhoods in 2013 was lower among nearly all age groups compared to 2000.
“So again, this shows there really isn’t an urbanization trend among households,” says McLaughlin.
Over the past five years, the share of searches on Trulia in suburban-urban zip code areas has held fairly constant, at roughly a four-to-one-ratio for suburban searches.
“Home buyers are saying they prefer modern and modest sized homes in the suburbs with amenities,” he says, adding that 44 percent of Americans say they want to live in a house between 1,400 and 2,600 square feet.
Recovery in All Regions, but Pace Varies

Delving below the national numbers, NAHB Senior Economist Robert Denk says that housing market conditions are improving in all regions, but the pace of recovery continues to vary by state and region.
“We’ve gotten to the point in the recovery where we no longer have problems that came with the housing bust,” says Denk. “It now is really a matter of housing markets reconnecting to the fundamental drivers, and that is employment. Production has been rebounding in all regions, prices have been moving up and new foreclosures are back to more normal levels.”

Using the 2000-2003 period as a healthy benchmark when single-family starts averaged 1.3 million units on an annual basis, NAHB is projecting that single-family production, which bottomed out at an average 27 percent of normal production in early 2009, will rise to 74 percent of normal by the fourth quarter of 2016 and climb to 91 percent of normal by the end of 2017. Single-family production currently stands at 53 percent of normal activity.
The hardest hit areas during the downturn were a combination of the bubble states – California, Arizona, Nevada and Florida – and the industrial Midwest. The bubble states had the most excessive price and production spikes, while the problems in the Midwest were more related to fundamental economic weakness.
The most successful recoveries are happening now in the energy states, including North Dakota, Wyoming, Texas, Montana and Louisiana.
Other states exhibiting strong employment and housing growth include South Carolina, Utah, Tennessee, Idaho, Oregon and North Carolina.
In another way of looking at the long road back to normal, by the end of 2017, the top 40 percent of states will be back to 99 percent or more of normal production levels, compared to the bottom 20 percent, which will still be below 73 percent.

“Keep in mind that with all of these buckets, the numbers keep getting higher,” says Denk. “There is broad-based improvement across the country.”

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Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2015. All rights reserved.

If you are interested in buying or selling real estate in West Houston, please contact Connie Vallone with First Market Realty at (713) 249-4177  or visit  or