Supply of Houston Homes Evaporates as October Sales Soar

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The number of homes on the market in Houston reached the lowest level in more than a decade in October, thanks to a surge in sales that also lifted prices to the highest levels ever for an October.

Single-family home sales skyrocketed 32.7 percent compared to October 2011, according to the latest monthly data prepared by the Houston Association of REALTORS® (HAR), and accounted for the 17th consecutive month of positive sales. Contracts closed on 5,379 homes, driving inventory down to 4.4 months, a level last seen in December 2001. All segments of the housing market saw gains in October, with the steepest among homes priced above $250,000.

“Home sales throughout Houston were incredibly strong in October and sent the supply of homes down to 4.4 months, which is the lowest level we’ve observed in 11 years,” said Wayne A. Stroman, HAR chairman and CEO of Stroman Realty. “Our active real estate market reflects the general health of the Houston economy, most notably the addition of close to 96,000 new jobs over the past year, according to the latest Texas Workforce Commission employment report. The inventory squeeze has definitely created fertile ground for homebuilders.”

Foreclosure property sales reported in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) declined 10.9 percent compared Read the rest of this entry »

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Katy Homeowners: Is This a Good Time to Sell Your House?

Compliments of the Texas Association of Realtors

There are many reasons people consider selling a home. Whether you are thinking of upgrading, downsizing, or simply making a change,  you may be wondering if the timing is right. Here are several reasons why this may be a good time to put your house on the market.

  • Housing prices in Katy have been steadily rising at a moderate pace for many years, even while other communities have experienced price fluctuations. Chances are that your home is worth more than even a few years ago.
  • Record-low interest rates motivate buyers to act on their desire to purchase a home and give them more purchasing power.
  • Unlike several other states that experienced wild price fluctuations and skyrocketing foreclosure rates, Katy does not have a glut of unsold homes. This is even more pronounced in Katy than some other Texas locations. According to the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M, the statewide supply of homes is at a level that leads to a balanced market.
  • Individuals and businesses continue to move to Houston at an unprecedented rate. This ongoing population feeds a strong demand for housing.

As a Texas Realtor, specializing in West Houston and Katy, I can show you how our current housing-market conditions factor in to your goal of selling your home. You can count on me to put your interests first while I assist you during this exciting process. I have sold real estate for over 23 years. Give me a call at 713-818-2404 or email me at [email protected]. Experience does count!

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Houston Veterans: The Wonderful World of VA Home Loans, Part Three


I hope you enjoyed Parts One and Two of this series on VA Home Loans and have found it helpful. For those who have served and sacrificed for our great country, this is a terrific, grossly under-utilized, program and one you should not overlook in your pursuit of the American Dream: Home Ownership.

In today’s article, we will cover a variety of points to sum up what makes a property a good candidate for a VA Home Loan and other details. I hope to tie up the loose ends. Again, when you begin to explore VA Loans, contact me for a fabulous lender referral; it is imperative that you work with an expert who specializes in VA funding. My number is 713-818-2404.

What are the VA minimum property requirements? The VA Appraiser is looking to ensure that the house is “safe, sound and sanitary”. If there are defective conditions such as cracks in the floor or walls that could indicate foundation issues, a structural engineering report will be mandatory.

All utilities must be on and the systems functioning properly. This covers electricity, gas and water. The heating system must be in place and functional; this is not negotiable.

If there is a well or septic system, both will require testing and inspection. Not all inspectors cover these systems, you will need to inquire when interviewing inspectors as these are systems that usually exist primarily in rural areas.

Any active termites must be treated. Conditions “conducive to” termites must be corrected. High voltage power lines cannot impact the structure. Read the rest of this entry »

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What is the Freddie Mac First Look Initiative Program?

Freddie Mac First Look Iniative

Ever since the “Katy Sun” did an interview with me, and it was picked up by the “Houston Business Journal”, on foreclosures and short sales, my phone has been ringing with investors wanting to buy properties. One thing I have to do, in most occasions, is explain the Freddie Mac First Look Initiative:

Freddie Mac offers homebuyers and select non-profits an exclusive opportunity to purchase HomeSteps homes prior to competition from investors through the Freddie Mac First Look Initiative program. This on-going initiative offers owner occupant homebuyers, Neighborhood Stabilization (NSP) grantees and non-profits engaged in community stabilization efforts the ability to purchase HomeSteps homes during their initial 15 days of listing without competition from investors.

The initiative supports Freddie Mac’s mission to stabilize communities and support housing recovery through the creation of affordable home-ownership opportunities.

How does the initiative work? During the first 15 days a home is listed for sale in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), HomeSteps will consider purchase Read the rest of this entry »

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The Five Secrets of Buying a Katy Foreclosure From a Certified Foreclosure/Short Sale Specialist

Cinco Ranch Foreclosure --$224,900

Westfield Foreclosure-$115,900

Foreclosed and foreclosing properties dominate many of today’s U.S. real estate markets–more than four years after the sharpest observers saw the market shift coming, and more than two years after the reality hit home for millions of American home owners.

While Katy is not suffering like other areas of the country, the number of foreclosures in our hometown has grown substantially. (Pictured above are two foreclosures  currently on the market.)

First-time home buyers make up almost half of all buyers of bank-owned foreclosures and soon-to-be foreclosed short sale properties. They’re followed closely by investors seeking rental properties, and a third important group—homeowners who find they can move up to a bigger or better home they previously could not afford.

The truth is: These markets demand most of the same things an ordinary Read the rest of this entry »

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Katy HUD Homes–Buy a Katy Foreclosure

Julie Fuelling Katy Texas Short Sale and Foreclosure Expert

Today, I am launching a new feature on Katy foreclosures which are also known as HUD (Housing and Urban Development) homes. With an informed Katy Realtor, they are easy to purchase and usually represent substantial savings. They are priced to sell quickly.

Every HUD homes is sold via a 10-day open bid process. It is critically important that the bid be prepared correctly or it will be rejected regardless of the price offered.

If you are looking for a Katy Realtor with whom to explore foreclosure homes, I am certified by the National Association of Realtors as an expert in short sales and foreclosures. I hold the specialized designation of Short Sale and Foreclosure Resource.

Julie Fuelling Katy Texas Short Sale and Foreclosure Expert

This week I am featuring a house in Katy Creek Ranch, see above. It was built in 2007 and has 3 bedrooms and 2 baths. It is listed at a price of $127,000. Unlike some foreclosure properties, this house is described as being in excellent condition.

There are many others on the market; I can help you with any foreclosure.

For a tour of this property, contact me or call me at 713-818-2404. I have sold Katy real estate for over 21 years and would love to share my expertise with you.

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Why is There so Much Katy Real Estate For Sale?

katy real estateKaty real estate is greatly affected by the oil and gas business particularly since petroleum tends to be a mobile industry. Compared to to other fields of employment, there are an inordinate amount of oil employees transferred in and out of our area at any time. This is the primary reason why there are always a lot of homes on the market in Katy, particularly on the south-side of I-10.

According to Ron Hanlen of Network Funding, there is another factor currently driving Katy real estate inventory levels:  Mortgage interest rates. Despite dire predictions about the impending rise of mortgage interest rates, rates have held onto historic lows, in the 4’s.

Ron said, “Once the tax credit expired, everyone expected that listings would go down.  But they haven’t…they have gone up.  With all of the negative media attention on housing it would be easy to consider that it is because the sellers are distressed in some way. Maybe they lost their job or they are trying to sell the home before it goes into foreclosure.

But here is the real reason why listings are up:  Interest rates are at an all-time low. Despite the constant bombardment of negative media coverage, the vast majority of existing Read the rest of this entry »

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What’s New for Katy Texas Real Estate in a Troubled Market

Pound, Dollar and Euro

During the 1980’s, Houston experienced an economic down spin when oil prices dropped below their staggering high of $35-per-barrel. (Can you believe that this was the high price for oil? I remain confused as to why our economy is not currently booming considering the price of oil; can somebody explain this to me, please!)

Another huge factor was the collapse of the Savings and Loan industry due to inflated loans without collateral; criminal charges, filed against Savings and Loan officers, were not uncommon. This large source of mortgage loans went away over night. One of the first signs of this economic crisis was the appearance Read the rest of this entry »

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