2010 Tax Credit Continues to Skew Houston Housing Market Data

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HOUSTON — (June 21, 2011) — The 2010 home buyer tax credit continues to obscure an accurate gauge of how the Houston real estate market is performing. The 2010 federal incentive triggered a short-term surge in local home sales last spring that has skewed the year-over-year analysis most of this year.

When compared to the tax credit incentivized closed sales of May 2010, there were fewer home sales recorded in May 2011, according to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) report prepared by the Houston Association of REALTORS® (HAR). At the same time, the number of listings that went under contract this May and expected to close in the next 30 to 60 days was up more than 35 percent when compared to May 2010—yet another comparison that is skewed by the tax credit that required buyers to enter purchase contracts by the April 30, 2010 deadline.

“Getting an accurate read on the Houston real estate market remains challenging because the 2010 tax credit prompted a surge in home sales during the first half of last year that otherwise would have occurred throughout the summer,” said Carlos P. Bujosa, HAR chairman and VP at Transwestern.

The average price of a single-family home jumped 6.5 percent from May 2010 to $220,210. Read the rest of this entry »

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Houston Home Prices Show Continued Stability Even as Sales Tumble for a Fourth Straight Month in October

The Houston real estate market staged an encore of its post-tax credit performance in October with a decline in sales volume but continued stability in pricing. Despite the fourth month of down sales, the market enjoyed another boost in the average price and a nudge in the median price of single-family homes.

According to the latest monthly data compiled by the Houston Association of REALTORS® (HAR), October sales of single-family homes throughout the Houston market fell 23.3 percent compared to October 2009. However, on a year-to-date basis, single-family home sales are off 4.0 percent from 2009 levels. Declines were recorded in all but the lowest pricing segment.

The average price of a single-family home rose 5.6 percent from October 2009 to $208,459 while the October single-family home median price—the figure at which half of the homes sold for more and half sold for less—edged up 0.7 percent from one year earlier to $150,000. Both average and median pricing achieved the highest levels for an October in Houston.

Foreclosure property sales reported in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) declined 13.4 percent in October compared to one year earlier. Foreclosures comprised 21.9 percent of all property sales in October—unchanged from the month before and generally consistent with the levels they have maintained for much of the year. The median price of October foreclosures dropped 8.5 percent to $80,550 on a year-over-year basis.

Sales of all property types in Houston for October totaled 4,404, down 23.8 Read the rest of this entry »

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HAR MLS Market Report: Houston and Katy Real Estate

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Today, August 24, the National Association of Realtors issued the following  statement, “Existing home sales drop 27% in July; effects of expired homebuyer tax credit add turbulence to the market.”

Following the national trend, an anticipated property sales slowdown set into the Houston/Katy real estate market in July following the expiration of the federal homebuyer tax credit. The credit had propelled local home sales for four straight months beginning in March, however home sales suffered a double-digit decline in July. Despite the drop, the average price of a single-family home still managed to climb to a two-year high.

The southside of  I-10 had a 26% drop in sales for July compared to 2009 levels. The northside  of I-10 experienced a 42% drop in July closings.  As many first time homebuyers purchased on the northside, this is reflected in the slowing sales. Despite the downturn, average prices rose slightly on both sides of I-10.

According to the latest monthly data compiled by the Houston Association of REALTORS® (HAR), July sales of single-family homes throughout the Houston market fell 25.1 percent compared to July 2009. Sales volume faltered in all single-family home pricing segments Read the rest of this entry »

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Why this is a Great Time for Katy Homebuyers, Part One

time to buy Katy real estate

Home ownership is an important and defining part of the Katy lifestyle. Now that the tax credits for first-time and repeat homebuyers have expired, many people are wondering if this is a good time to buy a Katy home. The answer is yes!

Even without the tax credits, there are many opportunitites in today’s Katy housing market including affordable prices and low mortgage rates. Market conditions may change and these opportunities may not be around for long, so homebuyers shouldn’t wait.

Plentiful Katy real estate inventory provides a great choice of homes in all prices, styles, locations and ages, including new construction. Many existing home owners who postponed trading up, downsizing or relocating due to market conditions are now ready to sell. Houses in Katy, both south and north of I-10, go on the market daily with many of these being more affordable than they were in the recent past. Foreclosures still exist, too.

Like Katy inventory and pricing, mortgage rates are at very favorable levels; some weeks Read the rest of this entry »

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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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Real Estate in Katy: Is the Feeding Frenzy Over?

Katy Real Estate: Is the Feeding Frenzy Over?

I’ve had the busiest spring of my 21-year real estate career!s As the April 30th deadline to qualify  for the tax credits, $8,000 for first-time home buyers and $6,500 for existing home owners, loomed, home sales got really crazy.

It was not unusual for brand new listings to have multiple offers. Bidding wars ensued. Here in Katy, particularly on the southside of I-10, it was impossible to believe that a real estate recession exists.

Nationwide, the tax credit bills created a strong upswing in home sales. To read the rest of this story, see OnlyKaty.com.

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Mortgage Insurance Premiums About to Rise

Federal Housing Administration to raise MIP rates

The Federal Housing Administration, FHA, has kept mortgage rates and Mortgage Insurance Premiums, MIP, lower than the market dictated for some time to encourage home buyers to shore up the economy.

MIP premiums are about to increase; the date is April 5th. On case numbers dated after April 4th, MIP premiums go from 1.75% of the total loan value to 2.25%. It’s not as dreadful as it sounds. On a $200,000 mortgage, the increase, based on today’s interest rates, is approximately $6 per month–stay out ofto read the rest of my article, see OnlyKaty.com.

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Katy Homebuyers: Hurry Before Mortgage Rates Rise!

Mortgage Rates Headed HigherKaty neighbors: Shopping for a home? About to start house hunting? Now is better than later! Mortgage rates are destined to rise in the near future.  Predictions are that rates may go up to 6% by April. While this sounds high, please remember it is still very low considering historical data. When I started selling Katy real estate in 1989, interest rates were barely below 20%!

Normally, I don’t write articles explaining why rates are fluctuating. If you are like me, you just want to know what the rate is today. However, a recent change will  raise rates and we will also probably see them continue to increase in the future.

Read my entire article at OnlyKaty.com.

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Katy Homebuyers: Uncle Sam has a Gift for You!

First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit 2009 Katy Texas

Want an extra $8,000? If you’re a first-time homebuyer, you’re in for a nice gift.

Last fall, the Federal Government introduced a financial incentive to prospective first-time homebuyers, an income tax credit of up to $7,500. The rules were simple: You must have been a first-time homebuyer, (as defined by not owning a home in the previous three years), and you met certain income restrictions.

The new $8,000 tax credit is available to those who buy between January 1, 2009 and December 1, 2009. It’s not a deduction, it’s an actual credit. Unlike Read the rest of this entry »

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How the Stimulus Bill will Affect Katy Residential Real Estate

Please excuse the wordiness of the following post but this is the very best explanation I’ve read of how the new Stimulus Bill will affect the residential housing market, including here in Katy. It is a letter, published in full,  sent to my profession from the President of the National Association of Realtors:

Dear Fellow REALTOR®,

Here’s our take on the Stimulus Bill and Treasury announcements made this week. We look at the Stimulus package AND the Treasury’s package holistically, in compliment with each other – mostly because that’s how the Obama team is looking at it. Your representatives, the NAR Board of Directors, asked us in November to do 4 things (with an unspoken but clearly understood mandate to PRESERVE what we already have). Here they are: 1) get loan limits raised for high cost areas, 2) make the $7,500 tax credit NOT a loan, 3) try to find ways to push interest rates down (which are higher than they should be due to systemic risk right now) by 200 basis points, and 4) help provide solutions to the foreclosure/short sale problem.

So here’s what we have achieved: 1) the loan limits will be raised to $727,000 in high cost areas, 2) the tax credit will be raised to $8,000 with NO payback [a Read the rest of this entry »

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