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Sticker shock? Houston home prices hit record levels and another big jump’s expected
Houston home sales in 2012 were up 16 percent over 2011, as home prices hit record highs and inventories dipped to the lowest level in more than a decade.
“I expect us to have a great year in 2013,” said Texas Association of Realtors chairman Shad Bogany, a Houston agent with Better Homes and Gardens Gary Greene. “As long as the job market continues to do well, the housing market will continue to do well.”
Mortgage rates have been available at less than four percent, the lowest rates in more than 50 years. But rates are expected to drift upward and that may dampen the market’s strength somewhat, Bogany said.
Low mortgage rates and exceptional job growth have made Houston one of the strongest housing markets in the nation over the last year.
Houston’s average single family home price was $243,797 in December, the highest ever recorded, according to the Houston Association of Realtors.
The association reported 62,229 single-family homes were sold in 2012, up 16 percent from the 53,592 sold in the Houston area in 2011.
Last year was one of the best on record for home sales. Counting townhomes, condos, lots and other residential property, a total of 73,994 properties were sold in 2012. That was one of the best years ever, although it failed to match the all-time record set in 2006 when more than 87,000 properties were sold.
For the year, the average single-family home price was up 5.4 percent in 2012, over the previous year.
Prices are expected to climb because the inventory of homes for sale is exceptionally low. Only 33,554 homes were listed for sale at year-end, down 20 percent from the listings at year-end 2011.
At year-end, the inventory was down to a 3.7 months supply, the lowest since December 1999. The real estate industry generally considers a six-month inventory to be a balanced market. When the inventory is smaller, the sellers generally have the upper hand in what’s called a “sellers market” and pricing moves upward.
“Market conditions have created excellent opportunities to sell a home in many parts of town, with some sellers receiving multiple offers. With less than four months of inventory on the market and continued demand, we could see further pressure on pricing until inventory levels pick up,” said HAR chairman Danny Frank, who is with Prudential Anderson Properties.
The Houston housing market was strong in virtually all segments. Townhome sales, high-rise condos, and single-family leasing all surged at the end of 2012, the Realtors association said.
December was hot for upscale houses. There was a 39 percent increase in sales of homes priced at $500,000 and up, compared to December in 2011, the association reported.
The association’s registry of pending sales, meaning houses that have been put under contract in recent weeks, are up. That points to a healthy start to 2013, at least for January. But some economists are saying Houston’s job growth, largely fueled by the energy industry, may not be quite as good in 2013, following the huge job growth boom in 2012.
Although it may not match the huge numbers of 2012, the year ahead will be a good one for Houston realty.
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2520 ROBINHOOD 1609
4306 FLOYD ST
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|For Sale: $419,900
|For Sale From: $325,000
|For Sale: $365,000
|– Real Estate News|
Why you might need to move quickly to get the house you want (and how to do it)
You may have to act fast if you don’t want to miss out on the best houses these days. Houston, Dallas, and Austin recently were ranked near the top of a list of cities where homes are being sold in less than a day. Most other Texas locales also have strong seller’s markets … meaning that good properties go under contract quickly.
The good news: You can take steps to prepare yourself for a successful purchase even when you don’t have weeks … or even days … to ponder your decision. I know. Several years ago, during a crazy seller’s market, my wife and I put a successful offer on a house the morning it hit the MLS.
Here are three things that helped us tremendously that you should consider:
Get your financing in order. Preapproval from a lender puts you in a strong position (stronger than prequalification) and gives you confidence that you can afford the price range you’re considering. It also shows the seller you’re a serious buyer.
Figure out what you want. The better you define your criteria, the easier the decision-making. Consider the style of house, features, size, neighborhood, and condition. It also helps to know which of those factors are the most important to you.
Make sure you have a Texas REALTOR® on your side. If you browse websites or drive through neighborhoods in search of for sale signs, you may be a step behind buyers who already found out about those properties from their agents. Also, your Texas REALTOR® is a professional who does this all the time. He or she knows exactly what other steps you need to take succeed in a seller’s market.
Marty Kramer | Consumer columnist
As dedicated and experienced mortgage professionals, our goal is to assist as many homeowners as possible reach their dream of home ownership. Our company…ENVOY doesn’t simply offer some of the most competitive rates in the mortgage industry; we provide impeccable LOCAL service from start to close. We also provide borrowers with a hassle-free experience via the most technologically-advanced tools available, including electronic signatures (eSign by Envoy), digital documents, an online application process, secure online loan status updates (24/7), a fully electronic closing and most importantly, around the clock attention to your loan.