Home Repair No-Nos: Repair Tips for Every Homeowner

November 19, 2018 by · Leave a Comment
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By HomeCareBuzz

Are you a first-time homeowner? Have you purchased a new-to-you home? Either way, you have a lot to do. When you’re starting out as a new homeowner, it can be hard to know the right things to do and NOT to do when it comes to home maintenance, cleaning, and general upkeep. Here is some guidance to help you know what not to do.

New Homeowner No-Nos – Inside

Sealants

Needlessly applying sealant to surfaces can permanently discolor stone, concrete, and glass, to name a few. Never use sealant on natural materials like quartz, plastic materials like laminates, or commercial acrylic products such as Formica and Corian. Generally, most materials will not need reapplication of sealants very often. Instead, test surfaces using water to check if it’s time to reseal. For example, if water on a kitchen countertop no longer beads, it may be time to reapply.

Drain Cleaners

Chemical drain cleaners contain active ingredients that can damage plumbing. Drain cleaners may seem like easy, short-term fixes for clogs, but they can lead to long-term, costly problems. And the chemicals in drain cleaners are just plain bad for the earth. Instead, invest your money in a good plunger, a drain snake for tougher clogs, and if those plumbing tools don’t work, call a plumber.

Glass Cleaners

Here’s a little-known consequence to spraying commercial glass cleaner on mirrors: The liquid can seep into the backing on many types of mirrors, leading to discoloring around the edges of the mirror over time and irreparably damaging the backing. Instead, simply dampen a microfiber cloth with warm water and immediately apply a dry cloth to remove excess water. Read More…

Why Should You Hire a Real Estate Pro?

October 18, 2018 by · Leave a Comment
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By HomeCareBuzz

Why should I hire a real estate pro to buy or sell a house? If you’ve ever asked that question, the answer is: Guidance. You need a real estate pro to guide you, no matter where you land on the home buying or selling spectrum. And guidance is only one of the reasons why using an agent will matter to you. Whether you’re a homebuyer or seller, learn these ABCs on the importance of hiring a real estate pro.

Access

Access to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) is critical to selling a home and real estate pros have it. The MLS is the most up-to-date database of all homes for sale. A listing on the MLS is also important because every other real estate pro in the area will have access to info about your home. The MLS maximizes your reach to a greater pool of potential buyers.

Access to MLS also matters if you’re in the market to buy a home. You know what you want and a real estate pro can search MLS for available homes that match your requirements. Want to visit a home your agent finds? Your agent will do the legwork for you, contacting the seller’s agent to make the appointment.

Bidding

Unless you negotiate for a living, it pays to have a real estate pro in your corner. Whether fielding bids for your home, or making bids on a home you want, agents know how to negotiate. And negotiation just may be the biggest part of the real estate game. With the hot housing market now, bidding wars will be a reality for both buyers and sellers. The real estate pro you hire works for you to get you the best deal.

Clients

A big reason to hire a real estate pro when you’re ready to sell your home? Clients. They have them – people they know who want to buy a home. And real estate pros will also use their local network to get the word out, helping you reach more potential buyers.

Real estate pros rely on client referrals to grow their business. So they work hard to ensure their home selling or buying clients are satisfied with their sale. Because the pros know each successful transaction can lead to repeat business. more…

HURRICANE HARVEY DISTORTS HOUSTON HOUSING ANALYSIS

September 17, 2018 by · Leave a Comment
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Current market conditions are healthy, but storm’s effects distort traditional measurements

HOUSTON — (September 12, 2018) — Thousands of people are still haunted by Hurricane Harvey’s devastating effects as they continue to rebuild their homes and lives. Even now, the storm is affecting the way housing numbers compare August 2018 to August 2017. The traditional year-over-year measurements that the Houston Association of Realtors® (HAR) uses to track market trends have been thrown out of whack because Harvey halted most real estate activity across the greater Houston market during the final week of August 2017 and beyond. Therefore, this HAR report presents the actual numbers of our August 2018 – August 2017 comparison while offering additional analysis to help provide more accurate and statistically relevant assessment of market conditions by removing the “Harvey effect.”

According to the traditional, full-month numbers, Houston single-family home sales rose 37.2 percent year-over-year, with 8,358 homes sold in August versus 6,090 one year earlier when Harvey struck the region. HAR isolated single-family home sales for the period of August 1 – 24 since Harvey’s effects began to take a toll on the market on August 25, 2017. That analysis showed sales up 7.6 percent in August 2018, with 5,844 homes sold through August 24 of this year compared to 5,433 during the same time frame last year.

HAR also compared August 2018 home sales to August 2016 – the last August for which a complete month of data were available. A total of 8,016 single-family homes sold back then, accounting for a 4.3 percent increase two years later. On a year-to-date basis, home sales are currently 7.2 percent ahead of 2017’s record volume.

The single-family home median price (the figure at which half of the homes sold for more and half sold for less) rose 3.0 percent to $236,870, and the average price increased 1.9 percent to $300,670. Both represent the highest figures ever for an August.

“We all know how catastrophic Harvey was and how incredibly resilient our community has been, so HAR has taken great care to gauge Houston’s August housing market performance as accurately as possible given the data distortions caused by the disaster,” explained HAR Chair Kenya Burrell-VanWormer with JPMorgan Chase. “We will likely see similar distortions in the September numbers, as Harvey’s effects lingered, however current market conditions are healthy, with single-family home sales and rentals up despite constrained inventory.”

Not adjusted to account for Harvey, August sales of all property types totaled 9,978, up 36.8-percent versus the same month last year. Total dollar volume shot up 40.1 percent, reaching $2.86 billion.

Lease Property Update
There was mixed consumer interest on the property lease front in August, with single-family up and townhome/condominium down, regardless of how HAR analyzed that year-over-year data. Not adjusted to account for the “Harvey effect,” single-family home rentals climbed 13.9 percent while leases of townhomes and condominiums were down 1.2 percent. For the period of August 1 – 24, not affected by Harvey, single-family rentals were up 7.6 percent while townhome/condominium rentals fell 8.3 percent.

The average rent for single-family homes rose 3.4 percent to $1,926 and the average rent for townhomes and condominiums increased 5.5 percent to $1,639.

August Monthly Market Comparison
The Houston real estate market generated positive activity in August, with single-family home sales, total property sales, pricing and total dollar volume all up compared to August 2017. Without accounting for the effects of Hurricane Harvey – which halted most sales activity from August 25-31, 2017 – month-end pending sales for single-family homes totaled 8,084, a 43.9 percent increase over last year. Total active listings, or the total number of available properties, were up 0.3 percent to 41,991. Single-family homes inventory remains constrained, reaching a 4.1-months supply in August, which is down fractionally from the 4.3-months supply a year earlier. For perspective, housing inventory across the U.S. stands at a 4.3-months supply, according to the latest report from the National Association of Realtors® (NAR).   

Single-Family Homes Update
When not accounting for the disruptive effects of Hurricane Harvey on real estate during the final week of August 2017, sales of single-family homes jumped 37.2 percent in August, with 8,358 units sold across the greater Houston area compared to 6,090 a year earlier. In order to eliminate the data distortions caused by the natural disaster, HAR analyzed year-over-year sales activity between August 1 – 24, before Harvey struck. That analysis showed 5,844 single-family home sales in 2018 versus 5,433 in 2017 – an increase of 7.6 percent. On a year-to-date basis, home sales are 7.2 percent ahead of 2017’s record pace.

Prices reached the highest levels ever for an August. The median price increased 3.0 percent to $236,870. The average price rose 1.9 percent to $300,670. Days on Market (DOM), or the number of days it took the average home to sell, was 49 days versus 51 a year earlier. Inventory registered a 4.1-months supply, down slightly from 4.3 months a year earlier.

HAR has produced two sets of price-segmented home sales data for August.

This first set does not factor out the “Harvey effect”:

  • $1 – $99,999: increased 33.5 percent
  • $100,000 – $149,999: increased 8.0 percent
  • $150,000 – $249,999: increased 46.0 percent
  • $250,000 – $499,999: increased 46.0 percent
  • $500,000 – $749,999: increased 53.9 percent
  • $750,000 and above: increased 34.6 percent

This data set reflects the pre-Harvey (August 1 – 24) comparison:

  • $1 – $99,999: decreased 2.4 percent
  • $100,000 – $149,999: decreased 12.4 percent
  • $150,000 – $249,999: increased 7.3 percent
  • $250,000 – $499,999: increased 13.7 percent
  • $500,000 – $749,999: increased 16.7 percent
  • $750,000 and above: increased 15.4 percent

HAR also breaks out the sales figures for existing single-family homes. Existing home sales totaled 7,116 in August, an increase of 36.3 percent versus the same month last year when not removing the distortions caused by Hurricane Harvey. The average sales price increased 3.7 percent to $291,723 while the median sales price rose 2.7 percent to $225,000.

Townhouse/Condominium Update
Sales of townhomes and condominiums rose in August, with or without the “Harvey effect.” The traditional full-month comparison shows that 665 units sold versus 465 a year earlier, accounting for a 43.0 percent increase.

 

When isolating the August 1 – 24 time period, sales rose 12.3 percent year-over-year, with 457 units sold in 2018 compared to 407 one year earlier. The average price increased 5.4 percent to $207,185 and the median price rose 3.3 percent to $164,240. Inventory declined slightly from a 4.4-months supply to 4.3 months.

Houston Real Estate Highlights in August
(* asterisk denotes that the “Harvey effect” has been removed):

  • Single-family home sales rose 7.6 percent year-over-year, with 5,844 units sold*;
  • Days on Market (DOM) for single-family homes declined slightly to 49 days;
  • Total property sales jumped 36.8 percent, with 9,978 units sold;
  • Total dollar volume increased 40.1 percent to $2.86 billion;
  • The single-family home median price rose 3.0 percent to $236,870, reaching an August high;
  • The single-family home average price also achieved an August record, rising 1.9 percent to $300,670;
  • Single-family homes months of inventory was at a 4.1-months supply, down from 4.3 months last August and equal to the national level;
  • Townhome/condominium sales rose 12.3 percent year-over-year, with 457 units sold in 2018 compared to 407 one year earlier*;
  • Leases of single-family homes rose 7.6 percent with the average rent up 3.4 percent to $1,926*;
  • Volume of townhome/condominium leases fell 8.6 percent with the average rent up 5.5 percent to $1,639*. 

Decluttering For Selling

August 20, 2018 by · Leave a Comment
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By Amy Thyr on May 1, 2018 / Cleaning/organizing, Home Selling, Staging

When you’re selling your house, potential buyers want to see everything. That means nowhere is safe from the eyes of a serious homebuyer. So when you declutter your home, it helps maximize every inch of space by minimizing overall clutter.

Decluttering isn’t about purging your belongings, but rather preparing your home for sale. Buyers want to visualize what they can do with the space. By removing distractions and maximizing usable space, you can show your house at its best.

To help, here’s a list of the most important places and items to declutter as you prepare to sell your home.

Tidy the Front Yard

Homebuyers often drive through potential neighborhoods before attending open houses or requesting showings. Therefore, it is important to keep your front yard tidy and make a positive first impression.

Create a Welcoming Entryway

Much like the front yard, the entryway sets the first impression of your home. Organize the space and give it a facelift to create an entrance that draws in potential buyers.

Showcase the Kitchen

Your kitchen is probably one of the most important places for potential buyers. Even if you have a tiny or outdated kitchen, decluttering can help show it at its best. Keep the countertops clean and clear with no small appliances, the refrigerator free of magnets and notes, and the pantry and cupboards tidy and organized. In addition, don’t forget to clean out the refrigerator, freezer, and under sink area.

Highlight the Living/Great Room

Next to the kitchen, the living room is often the showcase of the home, so keep it orderly and free of eyesores during showings. That means clearing out magazines, editing the bookshelves, and paring down throw pillows and table decor that can make the room feel cluttered and smaller. The right amount of furniture will also help a room look larger, so remove extra furniture or furniture in poor condition – either to the dumpster, or put it in storage while your home is on the market.

Make the Bathrooms Shine

Organize and declutter the countertops (no one wants to see your makeup and toothbrushes!), linen closets, and medicine cabinets. Clear out the excess items in the shower and under the sink. Since they’re inexpensive, buy a new rug and shower curtain to freshen the space.

Put Away Photos

De-personalize your home by putting all family photos out of sight. It’s easier for buyers to imaging the home as their own without the reminder that other people currently live there.

Clear the Hallways

Narrow hallways can make even a spacious home feel cramped. Remove as much visual clutter as possible including hanging hooks, photographs, and other artwork.

Organize Storage Rooms

Buyers will want to see inside your garage, closets, and backyard sheds. Make sure your storage rooms look spacious and organized by decluttering and opening up as much space as possible.

Minimize Tabletop Decor

You don’t want completely blank surfaces, but less is more when it comes to candles, artwork, and plants. Very few people have the same taste so it’s best to lean toward a neutral, minimal decor.

Clean the Laundry Room

The laundry room needs to make a good impression. Make sure all cleaning products are organized nicely and floors and appliances are spotless to create the kind of laundry space prospective buyers will want.

HOUSTON HOME SALES BREAK RECORDS IN JUNE

July 16, 2018 by · Leave a Comment
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Sales volume and pricing reach new highs

HOUSTON — (July 11, 2018) — Neither scorching temperatures nor vacation plans could stop homebuyers from pushing the Houston real estate market into record territory in June, as they generated the greatest one-month sales volume of all time and sent average and median prices to new highs. Single-family home rentals were also in strong demand.

According to the latest monthly report from the Houston Association of REALTORS® (HAR), 8,518 single-family homes sold in June compared to the last record high of 8,367 homes exactly one year earlier. That represents a 1.8 percent increase.

The single-family home median price (the figure at which half of the homes sold for more and half sold for less) rose 2.6 percent to $245,000 and the average price climbed 4.3 percent to $316,463. Those prices broke records set just last month and are the result of strong activity in the luxury market – homes priced at $750,000 and above – which saw an 18.4 percent year-over-year jump in sales volume.

“If there were concerns about rising home prices in the Houston market, you wouldn’t know it from all the homebuying that took place in June,” said HAR Chair Kenya Burrell-VanWormer with JPMorgan Chase. “We continue to outperform last year’s record pace of home sales, but we’ll keep a close eye on inventory levels in the weeks ahead to ensure they are meeting demand.”

June sales of all property types broke the 10,000-mark for the first time in history, totaling 10,115. That represents an increase of 1.7 percent versus the same month last year. Total dollar volume was up 6.6 percent, reaching more than $3 billion.

Lease Property Update

Activity among leased property staged a mixed performance in June. Single-family home rentals rose 4.7 percent while leases of townhomes and condominiums fell 4.2 percent. The average rent for single-family homes increased 3.9 percent to $1,877 and the average rent for townhomes and condominiums rose 6.7 percent to $1,662.

June Monthly Market Comparison

Indicators for the Houston real estate market’s June performance were mostly positive, with single-family home sales, total property sales, pricing and total dollar volume all up compared to June 2017. Month-end pending sales for single-family homes totaled 8,396, a 10.2 percent increase over last year. Total active listings, or the total number of available properties, fell 3.9 percent to 40,198.

Single-family homes inventory recorded a 4.1-months supply in June, its highest level since last August when it reached a 4.3-months supply. For perspective, housing inventory across the U.S. also stands at a 4.1-months supply, according to the latest report from the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR).

Single-Family Homes Update

Single-family home sales rose 1.8 percent in June with 8,518 units sold across the greater Houston area compared to 8,367 a year earlier. That is the greatest one-month sales volume of all time. On a year-to-date basis, home sales are 2.6 percent ahead of 2017’s record pace. Prices reached historic highs in June. The median price increased 2.6 percent to $245,000. The average price rose 4.3 percent to $316,463.

Days on Market (DOM), or the number of days it took the average home to sell, declined from 50 to 48 days. Inventory registered a 4.1-months supply which is its highest level since August 2017 and equal to the current national inventory level reported by NAR. Broken out by housing segment, June sales performed as follows:

  • $1 – $99,999: decreased 29.0 percent
  • $100,000 – $149,999: decreased 23.7 percent
  • $150,000 – $249,999: increased 16.1 percent
  • $250,000 – $499,999: increased 18.0 percent
  • $500,000 – $749,999: increased 13.5 percent
  • $750,000 and above: increased 18.4 percent

HAR also breaks out the sales figures for existing single-family homes. Existing home sales totaled 7,186 in June, up 1.2 percent versus the same month last year. The average sales price increased 4.1 percent to $305,583 while the median sales price rose 4.4 percent to $235,000.

Townhouse/Condominium Update

After a 7.2 percent decline in May, sales of townhomes and condominiums turned around in June, increasing 4.9 percent with 709 units sold versus 676 a year earlier. The average price fell 1.7 percent to $211,050 while the median price dropped 4.1 percent to $163,000. Inventory was unchanged at a 4.2-months supply.

Houston Real Estate Highlights in June

  • Single-family home sales rose 1.8 percent year-over-year, with 8,518 units sold, the largest one-month sales volume of all time;
  • Days on Market (DOM) for single-family homes declined from 50 to 48 days;
  • Total property sales reached record levels, rising 1.7 percent, with 10,115 units sold – the first time that number has broken the 10-thousand mark;
  • Total dollar volume increased 6.6 percent to slightly more than $3 billion;
  • The single-family home median price rose 2.6 percent to $245,000, reaching an all-time high;
  • The single-family home average price increased 4.3 percent to a record high of $316,463;
  • Single-family homes months of inventory was at a 4.1-months supply, the highest level since last August and equal to the national inventory level;
  • Townhome/condominium sales rose 4.9 percent, with the average price down 1.7 percent to $211,050 and the median price down 4.1 percent to $163,000;
  • Leases of single-family homes climbed 4.7 percent with the average rent up 3.9 percent to $1,877;
  • Volume of townhome/condominium leases fell 4.2 percent with the average rent up 6.7 percent to $1,662.

Don’t Be Fooled By These 3 Selling Myths

June 26, 2018 by · Leave a Comment
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First-time sellers beware: there are lots of myths out there about the right way to sell your home. While your Texas REALTOR® is your first line of defense against making these mistakes, here are three common selling myths busted:

Myth: I’ll sell my home on my own and save money by not using a real estate agent.
Truth: Texas REALTORS® don’t work for free, but that’s because they provide valuable assistance through the home-selling process. A REALTOR® can help you reduce your risk of making a costly selling mistake and are plugged into your local housing market. If you DIY, that means you’ll have to spend time marketing your home adequately, be available to show the home, and navigate your way through a tricky transaction alone.

Myth: If I price my home higher than market value, I’m leaving room for negotiations.
Truth: Buyers have no idea this is your strategy and won’t understand why your price is too high. Many won’t even view your home if it’s priced too high, much less put in an offer. An improperly priced home is also more likely to sit on the market, making potential buyers think there’s something wrong with it. And when that happens, you’ll probably end up with lower offers than if you’d priced the property correctly from Day One.

Myth: I’ll mow the lawn and hide my stuff and my home will be ready to show.
Truth: Is a mowed lawn and hidden clutter all it takes to attract you to a home? It won’t work for potential buyers of your property, either. Your Texas REALTOR® might go through your home with you and identify areas that could use some sprucing up to make your home more appealing. Or, he or she might recommend working with a home stager to make the best impression. Be open to those suggestions … your Texas REALTOR® knows what makes a property sell quickly for top dollar.

What’s More Important Than Finding a Buyer for Your House?

June 13, 2018 by · Leave a Comment
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Selling your home may seem straightforward, but there are nuances to the process that you should consider before you list. Here are three things to think about before putting your home on the market.

Set the right price. Do you know how much to ask for your home? Making a pricing mistake can cost you a lot of money. But a Texas REALTOR® knows what’s going in your market. He or she can help you analyze the latest data and the specifics of your house to arrive at a price that maximizes your profit.

There’s more to consider than signing a contract. How should you handle the termination option? Is the buyer’s earnest money enough? What if the buyer wants to make buying your home contingent on selling her existing home? And if you get multiple offers, how do you respond to make sure you obtain the highest price possible and the most attractive overall deal?

Getting a buyer is not the same as selling your house. Accepting an offer is only the beginning. Real estate transactions can fall apart for a variety of reasons: financing difficulty, problems discovered during inspections, missed deadlines, contentious follow-up negotiations … even hurt feelings or cold feet. A Texas REALTOR® has experience dealing with potential pitfalls, though, and knows how to minimize problems on the way to a successful closing.

HOUSTON REAL ESTATE HAS A SPRING IN ITS STEP IN APRIL

May 16, 2018 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Real Estate 

Home sales and rentals rebound and prices reach record highs

After a sluggish March, the Houston real estate market rebounded in April with a nearly seven percent jump in home sales and the highest average and median prices of all time. Consumers also kept the lease market humming with gains in the rental of single-family homes and townhomes/condominiums.

According to the latest monthly report from the Houston Association of REALTORS® (HAR), 7,070 single-family homes sold in April versus 6,611 a year earlier. For the third straight month, the best-performing segment of the market consisted of homes priced in the $500,000 to $749,999 range, which shot up nearly 30 percent. The luxury market – those homes priced at $750,000 and above – rose almost five percent after being flat for two consecutive months.

Home prices reached the highest levels of all time. The single-family home median price (the figure at which half of the homes sold for more and half sold for less) increased 5.3 percent to $240,000 and the average price climbed 5.2 percent to $305,092.

“April proved to be a strong month for the Houston housing market on both the purchase and rental sides, and mind you that is compared to a record year in 2017,” said HAR Chair Kenya Burrell-VanWormer with JPMorgan Chase. “As long as inventory levels can keep up with the increased buyer demand, we would expect sales volume to remain strong in the months ahead.”

April sales of all property types in Houston totaled 8,453, an increase of 3.2 percent versus the same month last year. Total dollar volume rose 10.5 percent to $2.4 billion.

Lease Property Update

Property leases had a healthy performance in April. Single-family home rentals increased 2.0 percent while leases of townhomes and condominiums jumped 8.6 percent. The average rent for single-family homes rose 3.6 percent to $1,778 while the average rent for townhomes and condominiums edged up 1.1 percent to $1,576.

April Monthly Market Comparison

The Houston real estate market achieved gains in all but two categories during the month of April, with single-family home sales, total property sales, pricing and total dollar volume all up compared to April 2017. Month-end pending sales for single-family homes totaled 8,766, up 15.5 percent from last year. Total active listings, or the total number of available properties, fell 3.8 percent to 36,882.

Single-family homes inventory reached a 3.6-months supply in April versus 3.8 months a year earlier, but is at its highest level since last November. For perspective, housing inventory across the U.S. also stands at a 3.6-months supply, according to the latest report from the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR).

Single-Family Homes Update

Single-family home sales rose 6.9 percent in April, with 7,070 units sold throughout greater Houston compared to 6,611 a year earlier. That is the greatest one-month sales volume since July 2017. Sales volume within the luxury market – defined as homes priced from $750,000 and up – saw gains after remaining flat for two consecutive months. On a year-to-date basis, home sales are 3.6 percent ahead of 2017’s record pace.

Prices reached historic highs in April. The median price increased 5.3 percent to $240,000. The average price jumped 5.2 percent to $305,092.

Days on Market (DOM), or the number of days it took the average home to sell, edged up from 55 to 56 days. Inventory narrowed from a 3.8-months supply to a 3.6-months supply year-over-year, but is at its highest level since November 2017 and is the same as the national inventory level.

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

  • $1 – $99,999: decreased 6.8 percent
  • $100,000 – $149,999: decreased 21.3 percent
  • $150,000 – $249,999: increased 7.7 percent
  • $250,000 – $499,999: increased 16.8 percent
  • $500,000 – $749,999: increased 28.7 percent
  • $750,000 and above: increased 4.7 percent

HAR also breaks out the sales figures for existing single-family homes. Existing home sales totaled 5,813 in April, up 6.1 percent versus the same month last year. The average sales price increased 9.0 percent to $297,745 while the median sales price rose 8.0 percent to $229,000.

Townhouse/Condominium Update

Sales of townhomes and condominiums edged up 0.5 percent in April, with a total of 598 units sold versus 595 a year earlier. The average price rose 5.9 percent to $220,704 while the median price increased 2.8 percent to $176,730. Inventory held steady at a 4.0-months supply.

Houston Real Estate Highlights in April

  • Single-family home sales jumped 6.9 percent year-over-year, with 7,070 units sold;
  • Days on Market (DOM) for single-family homes increased slightly from 55 to 56 days;
  • Total property sales rose 5.1 percent with 8,453 units sold;
  • Total dollar volume increased 10.5 percent to $2.4 billion;
  • The single-family home median price rose 5.3 percent to $240,000, which represents an all-time high;
  • The single-family home average price climbed 5.2 percent to a record high of $305,092;
  • Single-family homes months of inventory shrank year-over-year from a 3.8-months supply to 3.6 months, the highest level since last November and the same as the national inventory level;
  • Townhome/condominium sales increased 0.5 percent, with the average price up 5.9 percent to $220,704 and the median price up 2.8 percent to $176,730;
  • Leases of single-family homes rose 2.0 percent with the average rent up 3.6 percent to $1,778;
  • Volume of townhome/condominium leases jumped 8.6 percent with average rent up 1.1 percent to $1,576.

Home affordability – how to know how much home you can buy?

April 25, 2018 by · Leave a Comment
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By HomeCareBuzz

First-time homebuyer? Upsizing? Buying a second or vacation home? Downsizing? No matter your home buying aspiration, the first question you’ll always need to ask yourself is, how can I buy the home I want? Using this home affordability checklist can help answer that question. When you take the time to find out how much home you can really afford you’ll find it’s easier to make the many subsequent decisions on the when and where to buy your dream home. Check off these steps first and you’ll be ready to take the big leap.

What’s your total annual income?

Your first step to check off on the home affordability list is to accurately determine what your annual income was for the previous full year. To do that you find the sum total of your gross income, before taxes or other deductions, and you add to that any potential future bonuses you might expect to receive and/or any other income sources you may have. If you are buying the house with a spouse or partner, for example as joints tenants, or with another person, perhaps as tenants in common, add their annual income as well to determine sum total annual income.

Why getting prequalified matters?

Why should you determine your total annual income? Because when you’re ready to shop for a home it’s best to get prequalified. Annual income affects how much home you can qualify for– a mortgage lender looks at your complete financial picture and qualifies you for a mortgage based on that picture. In addition to annual income, a lender will look at the savings you have and what debts you owe. You are prequalified or preapproved for a loan based on all of those numbers.

What’s your down payment?

In this step determine the total amount of money you can put down on a home purchase. Home affordability should not lead to home impoverishment, so don’t commit all of your funds to your down payment. You need to protect your financial health from unforeseen hits to your income during and after the home buying process. Lenders typically want a 20% down payment to buy a home, but if that’s a high hurdle where you are looking to buy, shop around. Many lenders have options and can work with you to find the right loan, depending on your credit score and other factors. more…

By Tara Walsh on February 9, 2018 / Home Buying, Home Services, Home Warranty, Mortgage

FEBRUARY MARKS A GENERALLY POSITIVE MONTH FOR HOUSTON HOME SALES

March 22, 2018 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Real Estate 
MLS Report for February 2018

Luxury market sees improvement, but inventory overall shrinks

HOUSTON — (March 14, 2018) Houston home sales enjoyed their second positive month of the new year, and after three months of declines, stability returned to the luxury market. However, the overall supply of homes across greater Houston shrank slightly in February, narrowing options for house hunters heading into the traditionally active spring home-buying season.

According to the latest monthly report from the Houston Association of Realtors (HAR), sales of single-family homes rose 5.3 percent in February, with 5,260 units sold. Homes priced between $500,000 and $750,000 experienced the strongest sales activity.

The single-family home median price (the figure at which half of the homes sold for more and half sold for less) increased 1.4 percent to $226,200 – the highest median ever for a February. The average price eked out a fractional 0.4 percent gain to reach a February high of $281,945.

“February was a positive month overall for Houston real estate, but we really need growth in inventory to ensure that there is a plentiful supply of homes as we enter the spring buying season,” said HAR Chair Kenya Burrell-VanWormer with JP Morgan Chase.

February sales of all property types in Houston totaled 6,375, an increase of 3.1 percent versus the same month last year. Total dollar volume grew 4.5 percent to $1.7 billion.

 

Lease Property Update

Rental properties drew less interest in February than a year earlier. Single-family home leases and townhome/condominium leases each fell 11.5 percent. The average rent for single-family homes was up 4.1 percent to $1,720 while the average rent for townhomes and condominiums rose 2.2 percent to $1,515.

 

February Monthly Market Comparison

Most of Houston’s monthly housing market indicators reflected positivity in February, with single-family home sales, total property sales, average and median pricing and total dollar volume all up compared to February 2017. Month-end pending sales for single-family homes totaled 6,912, up 11.1 percent versus last year. Total active listings, or the total number of available properties, however, declined 2.2 percent to 33,939.

Single-family homes inventory shrank to a 3.2-months supply from 3.4 months a year earlier. For perspective, housing inventory across the U.S. currently stands at a 3.4-months supply, according to the latest report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

CATEGORIES FEBRUARY 2017 FEBRUARY 2018 CHANGE
Total property sales 6,181 6,375 3.1%
Total dollar volume $1,639,814,909 $1,713,566,903 4.5%
Total active listings 34,707 33,939 -2.2%
Single-family home sales 4,997 5,260 5.3%
Single-family average sales price $280,813 $281,945 0.4%
Single-family median sales price $223,000 $226,200 1.4%
Single-family months inventory* 3.4 3.2 -0.2 months
Single-family pending sales 6,220 6,912 11.1%

* 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.

 

Single-Family Homes Update

 

Single Family

Single-family home sales rose in February, with 5,260 units sold throughout greater Houston. That is up 5.3 percent from a year earlier when sales volume totaled 4,997. After three consecutive months of declining sales volume, the luxury market – defined as homes priced from $750,000 and up – was flat in February.

The median price reached the highest level ever for a February in Houston, increasing 1.4 percent to $226,200. The average price rose a fractional 0.4 percent, which was sufficient to achieve a February record of $281,945.

Days on Market (DOM), or the number of days it took the average home to sell, decreased slightly from 67 to 65 days. Inventory fell from a 3.4-months supply to a 3.2-months supply year-over-year, its lowest level since December 2017.

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

 

  • $1 – $99,999: decreased 2.8 percent
  • $100,000 – $149,999: decreased 11.8 percent
  • $150,000 – $249,999: increased 10.9 percent
  • $250,000 – $499,999: increased 10.2 percent
  • $500,000 – $749,999: increased 18.8 percent
  • $750,000 and above: unchanged

 

Single Family Average Home Price

 

HAR also breaks out the sales figures for existing single-family homes. Existing home sales totaled 4,356 in February, up 8.0 percent versus the same month last year. The average sales price increased 1.7 percent to $267,806 while the median sales price rose 5.7 percent to $214,000.

Townhouse/Condominium Update

Sales of townhomes and condominiums tumbled 5.1 percent in February, with a total of 466 units sold. The average price rose 2.0 percent to $210,887 while the median price increased 4.6 percent to $170,000. Inventory declined slightly year-over-year from a 3.7-months supply to 3.6 months.

Townhouse/Condominium Sales

 

Houston Real Estate Highlights in February
  • Single-family home sales rose 5.3 percent year-over-year, with 5,260 units sold;
  • Days on Market (DOM) for single-family homes decreased slightly from 67 days in February 2017 to 65 days this February;
  • Total property sales increased 3.1 percent with 6,375 units sold;
  • Total dollar volume climbed 4.5 percent to $1.7 billion;
  • The single-family home median price rose 1.4 percent to $226,200, which represents a February high;
  • The single-family home average price edged up 0.4 percent to a February high of $281,945;
  • Single-family homes months of inventory shrank year-over-year from a 3.4-months supply to 3.2 months;
  • Townhome/condominium sales fell 5.1 percent, with the average price up 2.0 percent to $210,887 and the median price up 4.6 percent to $170,000;
  • Leases of single-family homes fell 11.5 percent with the average rent up 4.1 percent to $1,720;
  • Volume of townhome/condominium leases dropped 11.5 percent with average rent up 2.2 percent to $1,515.
The computerized Multiple Listing Service of the Houston Association of REALTORS® includes residential properties and new homes listed by 37,000 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 https://www.har.com. 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 37,000-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.

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