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Where is the Real Estate Market headed in 2019?

by Lorna Calder

As we begin another year, everyone wants to know: “Where is the housing market headed in 2019?”

It’s not only buyers, sellers, and homeowners who are impacted. The real estate market plays an integral role in the overall U.S. economy.  Fortunately, key indicators point toward a stable housing market in 2019 with signs of modest growth. However, shifting conditions could impact you if you plan to buy, sell, or refinance this year.

HOME VALUES WILL INCREASE

The value of real estate will continue to rise. Freddie Mac predicts housing prices will increase by 4.3 percent in 2019.While the rapid price appreciation we witnessed earlier in the decade has slowed, the combination of a strong economy, low unemployment, and a lack of inventory in many market segments continues to push prices higher.

"Ninety percent of markets are experiencing price gains while very few are experiencing consistent price declines," according to National Association of Realtors (NAR) Chief Economist Lawrence Yun.2

Yun predicts that the national median existing-home price will increase to around $266,800 in 2019 and $274,000 in 2020. "Home price appreciation will slow down—the days of easy price gains are coming to an end—but prices will continue to rise."

What does it mean for you? If you’re in the market to buy a home, act fast. Prices will continue to go up, so you’ll pay more the longer you wait. If you’re a current homeowner, real estate has proven once again to be a solid investment over the long term. In fact, the equity level of American homeowners reached an all-time high in 2018, topping $6 trillion.3

SALES LEVELS WILL STABILIZE

In 2018, we saw a decline in sales, primarily driven by rising mortgage rates and a lack of affordable inventory. However, Yun isn’t alarmed. "2017 was the best year for home sales in ten years, and 2018 is only down 1.5 percent year to date. Statistically, it is a mild twinge in the data and a very mild adjustment compared to the long-term growth we've been experiencing over the past few years."2

Yun and other economists expect home sales to remain relatively flat over the next couple of years. Freddie Mac forecasts homes sales will increase 1 percent to 6.08 million in 2019 and 2 percent to 6.20 million in 2020.1

“The medium and long-term prospects for housing are good because demographics are going to continue to support demand,” explains Tendayi Kapfidze, chief economist for LendingTree. “With a slower price appreciation, incomes have an opportunity to catch up. With slower sales, inventory has an opportunity to normalize. A slowdown in 2019 creates a healthier housing market going forward.”4

What does it mean for you? If you’ve been scared off by reports of a market slowdown, it’s important to keep things in perspective. A cooldown can prevent a hot market from becoming overheated. A gradual and sustainable pace of growth is preferable for long-term economic stability.

MORTGAGE RATES WILL RISE

The Mortgage Bankers Association predicts the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates three times this year, resulting in a rise in mortgage rates.5 While no one can predict future mortgage rates with certainty, Realtor.com Chief Economist Danielle Hale estimates that the rate for a 30-year mortgage will reach 5.5 percent by the end of 2019, up from around 4.62 percent at the end of 2018.6

While mortgage rates above 5 percent may seem high to today’s buyers, it’s not out of line with historical standards. According to Hale, “The average mortgage rate in the 1990s was 8.1 percent, and rates didn’t fall below 5 percent until 2009. So for buyers who can make the math work, buying a home is likely still an investment worth making.”7

What does it mean for you? If you’re in the market to buy a house or refinance an existing mortgage, you may want to act quickly before mortgage rates rise. To qualify for the lowest rate available, take steps to improve your credit score, pay down existing debt, and save up for a larger down payment.

AFFORDABILITY ISSUES WILL PERSIST

Although the desire to own a home remains strong, the combination of higher home prices and rising mortgage rates will make it increasingly difficult for many first-time buyers to afford one.

“Buyers who are able to stay in the market will find less competition as more buyers are priced out but feel an increased sense of urgency to close before it gets even more expensive,” according to Hale. “Although the number of homes for sale is increasing, which is an improvement for buyers, the majority of new inventory is focused in the mid-to-higher-end price tier, not entry-level.”6

What does it mean for you? Unfortunately, market factors make it difficult for many first-time buyers to afford a home. However, as move-up buyers take advantage of new high-end inventory, we could see an increase in starter homes hitting the market.

MILLENNIALS WILL MAKE UP LARGEST SEGMENT OF BUYERS

“The housing market in 2019 will be characterized by continued rising mortgage rates and surging millennial demand,” according to Odeta Kushi, senior economist for First American. "Rising rates, by making housing less affordable, will likely deter certain potential homebuyers from the market. On the other hand, the largest cohort of millennials will be turning 29 next year, entering peak household formation and home-buying age, and contributing to the increase in first-time buyer demand.”4

Danielle Hale, chief economist for Realtor.com, predicts the trend will continue. “Millennials are also likely to make up the largest share of home buyers for the next decade as their housing needs adjust over time.”6

What does it mean for you? If you’re in the market for a starter home, prepare to compete for the best listings. And if you plan to sell a home in 2019, be sure to work with an agent who knows how to reach millennial buyers by utilizing the latest online marketing techniques.

WE’RE HERE TO GUIDE YOU

While national real estate numbers and predictions can provide a “big picture” outlook for the year, real estate is local. And as local market experts, we can guide you through the ins and outs of our market and the local issues that are likely to drive home values in your particular neighborhood.

If you’re considering buying or selling a home in 2019, contact us now to schedule a free consultation. We’ll work with you to develop an action plan to meet your real estate goals this year.

START PREPARING TODAY


If you plan to BUY this year:

 

  1. Get pre-approved for a mortgage. If you plan to finance part of your home purchase, getting pre-approved for a mortgage will give you a jump-start on the paperwork and provide an advantage over other buyers in a competitive market. The added bonus: you will find out how much you can afford to borrow and budget accordingly.
  2. Create your wish list. How many bedrooms and bathrooms do you need? How far are you willing to commute to work? What’s most important to you in a home? We can set up a customized search that meets your criteria to help you find the perfect home for you.
  3. Come to our office. The buying process can be tricky. We’d love to guide you through it. We can help you find a home that fits your needs and budget, all at no cost to you. Give us a call to schedule an appointment today!

 

If you plan to SELL this year:

 

  1. Call us for a FREE Comparative Market Analysis. A CMA not only gives you the current market value of your home, it will also show how your home compares to others in the area. This will help us determine which repairs and upgrades may be required to get top dollar for your property, and it will help us price your home correctly once you’re ready to list.
  2. Prep your home for the market. Most buyers want a home they can move into right away, without having to make extensive repairs and upgrades. We can help you determine which ones are worth the time and expense to deliver maximum results.
  3. Start decluttering. Help your buyers see themselves in your home by packing up personal items and things you don’t use regularly and storing them in an attic or storage locker. This will make your home appear larger, make it easier to stage ... and get you one step closer to moving when the time comes!

 

 

 

Sources:

  1. Freddie Mac Economic & Housing Research Forecast –
    http://www.freddiemac.com/research/pdf/201811-Forecast-04.pdf
  2. National Association of Realtors 2019 Forecast –  
    https://www.nar.realtor/newsroom/2019-forecast-existing-home-sales-to-stabilize-and-price-growth-to-continue
  3. Bankrate 2018 Year in Review –
    https://www.bankrate.com/mortgages/year-in-review-for-housing-market/
  4. Forbes 2019 Real Estate Forecast –
    https://www.forbes.com/sites/alyyale/2018/12/06/2019-real-estate-forecast-what-home-buyers-sellers-and-investors-can-expect/#a98b80a70d9a
  5. Mortgage Bankers Association Forecast –
    https://www.mba.org/2018-press-releases/october/mba-forecast-purchase-originations-to-increase-to-12-trillion-in-2019
  6. Realtors.com 2019 National Housing Forecast –
    https://www.realtor.com/research/2019-national-housing-forecast/
  7. FOX Business –
    https://www.foxbusiness.com/personal-finance/where-mortgage-rates-are-headed-in-2019

 

 

How's The Market? What Lies Ahead...

by Lorna Calder

“How’s the Market?”
What’s Ahead for Real Estate

While no one can predict the future with certainty, most experts expect to see modest growth in the U.S. housing market for the remainder of this year and next. Inventory will remain tight, mortgage rates will continue to creep up, and affordability will remain a major issue in many parts of the country.

So what does that mean for home buyers and sellers? To answer that question, we take a closer look at some of the top indicators.

CONTINUED GROWTH IN HOUSING MARKET

There’s good news for homebuyers! In many markets across the country, prices have begun to stabilize after a period of rapid appreciation. Nationwide, home sales experienced a slight decline of 1.6 percent in the second quarter, primarily due to higher mortgage rates and housing prices combined with limited inventory.

However, buyers who have been waiting on the sidelines in anticipation of a big price drop may be disappointed. Demand remains strong across the sector and prices continue to rise. The Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index reported a 6.2 percent annual gain in June, a healthy but sustainable rate of appreciation.1

In its latest Outlook Report, Freddie Mac forecasts continued growth in the housing market due to a strong economy and low unemployment rate, which dropped to 3.9 percent in July.

“The housing market hit some speed bumps this summer, with many prospective homebuyers slowed by not enough moderately-priced homes for sale and higher home prices and mortgage rates,” according to Sam Khater, Chief Economist at Freddie Mac. “The good news is, the economy and labor market are very healthy right now, and mortgage rates, after surging earlier this year, have stabilized in recent months. These factors should continue to create solid buyer demand, and ultimately an uptick in sales, in most parts of the country in the months ahead.”3

INVENTORY TO REMAIN TIGHT, NEW CONSTRUCTION MAY HELP

Experts predict that demand for housing will continue to outpace available supply, especially in the entry-level price range.

“Today, even as mortgage rates begin to increase and home sales decline in some markets, the most significant challenges facing the housing market stem from insufficient inventory accompanying unsustainable home-price increase,” said National Association of Realtors (NAR) Chief Economist Lawrence Yun in a recent release.

"The answer is to encourage builders to increase supply, and there is a good probability for solid home sales growth once the supply issue is addressed,” said Yun. Additional inventory will also help contain rapid home price growth and open up the market to prospective homebuyers who are consequently—and increasingly—being priced out. In the end, slower price growth is healthier price growth."4

With so much demand, why aren’t more builders bringing inventory to the market? According to the National Association of Home Builders, a crackdown on immigration and tariffs on imported lumber have made home construction more difficult and expensive. Those factors—combined with the rising cost of land and increased zoning requirements—have put a damper on the industry overall.5

Still, there’s evidence that a modest rise in the rate of new building projects may be on the way. Freddie Mac predicts new housing construction will increase slightly after a stall last quarter.2 And a recent report by Freedonia Focus Reports forecasts an annual increase in housing starts of 2.4 percent through 2022, led by an uptick in single-family homes.6 The boost in inventory should help drive sales growth and relieve some of the pent-up demand in tight markets.

While the current lack of inventory is generally preferred by sellers because it means less competition, a combination of high prices and rising interest rates has narrowed the pool of potential buyers who can afford to enter the market. Sellers should seek out real estate agents who utilize technologically-advanced marketing tactics to reach qualified buyers in their area.

AFFORDABILITY REACHES LOWEST LEVEL IN A DECADE

According to a recent report by Morgan Stanley, Americans are paying the most in monthly mortgage payments relative to their incomes since 2008.7 And prices aren’t expected to come down any time soon.

"We believe that the current supply and demand environment will continue to push home prices higher, just at a decelerating pace," said John Egan, Morgan Stanley’s Co-Head of U.S. Housing Strategy.

Fortunately, economists aren’t concerned about affordability levels triggering another housing crisis, as lending standards are much higher today than they were during the run-up before the recession. According to credit reporting agency TransUnion, the share of homeowners who made mortgage payments more than 60-days past due fell in the second quarter to 1.7 percent, the lowest level since the market crash.7

NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun agreed with this assessment in a recent statement. “Over the past 10 years, prudent policy reforms and consumer protections have strengthened lending standards and eliminated loose credit, as evidenced by the higher than normal credit scores of those who are able to obtain a mortgage and near record-low defaults and foreclosures, which contributed to the last recession.”4

MORTGAGE RATES EXPECTED TO CONTINUE RISING

The Federal Reserve has taken measures to help keep the housing market—and the overall economy—from overheating. It has raised interest rates twice this year so far, causing mortgage rates to surge in the first half of the year.

Economists predict that the rise in mortgage rates will continue at a more gradual rate through this year and next. The U.S. weekly average mortgage rate rose from 3.99 percent in the first week of January to as high as 4.66 percent in May. Freddy Mac forecasts an average rate of 4.6 percent for 2018 and 5.1 percent in 2019.2

The good news is, mortgage rates still remain near historic lows and a whopping 14 points below the recorded high of 18.63 percent in the early 1980s.8 Buyers who have been on the fence may want to act soon to lock in an affordable interest rate ... before rates climb higher.

"Some consumers may be thinking that because mortgage rates are higher than they were a year ago, maybe I should just wait until rates fall down again," said NAR’s Chief Economist Lawrence Yun in a recent speech. "Well, they will be waiting forever."9

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN FOR ME?

If you’ve been waiting to buy a home, you may want to act now. A shortage of available homes on the market means prices are likely to keep going up. And a lack of affordable rental inventory means rents are expected to rise, as well.

If you buy now, you will benefit from appreciating property values while locking in an historically-low interest rate on your mortgage. Waiting to buy could mean paying more for your home as prices increase and paying higher interest on your mortgage as rates continue to rise.

And if you’re in the market to sell your home, there’s no need to wait any longer. Prices have begun to stabilize, and rising interest rates could decrease the number of available buyers for your home. Act now to take advantage of this strong seller’s market.

LET’S GET MOVING

While national real estate numbers and predictions can provide a “big picture” outlook, real estate is local. As local market experts, we can guide you through the ins and outs of our market and the issues most likely to impact sales and home values in your particular neighborhood.

If you have specific questions or would like more information about where we see real estate headed in our area, let us know! We’re here to help you navigate this changing real estate landscape.

Sources:

  1. S&P Dow Jones Indices Press Release -
    https://www.spice-indices.com/idpfiles/spice-assets/resources/public/documents/766551_cshomeprice-release-0828.pdf?force_download=true
  2. Freddie Mac Outlook Report -
    http://www.freddiemac.com/research/forecast/20180827_strong_economic_growth.html
  3. DSNews -
    https://dsnews.com/daily-dose/08-28-2018/freddie-weighs-in-on-housing-market
  4. PR Newswire -
    https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/realtors-chief-economist-reflects-on-past-recession-whats-ahead-for-housing-300702632.html
  5. CNN Money -
    https://www.keyt.com/lifestyle/where-is-the-us-housing-market-headed-4-things-you-need-to-know/787471572
  6. PR Newswire -
    https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/us-housing-starts-to-rise-2-4-yearly-to-2022--300711989.html
  7. Business Insider -
    https://www.businessinsider.com/housing-affordability-slowing-market-sales-2018-8
  8. Value Penguin -
    https://www.valuepenguin.com/mortgages/historical-mortgage-rates
  9. Times Free Press -
    https://www.timesfreepress.com/news/business/aroundregion/story/2018/aug/14/despite-prospects-higher-mortgage-rateshousin/476979/

                                                

Lorna Calder with The Lorna Calder Team in Kingwood, Texas has earned the prestigious Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist® designation in recognition of her experience, knowledge and expertise in the luxury home market. “Lorna Calder is an example of a real estate professional who has worked to develop market knowledge and the special skills and competencies necessary to provide exceptional service in the fine homes and estates marketplace,” said Institute President Laurie Moore-Moore, upon announcing Lorna’s designation. “Affluent buyers and sellers can turn to sales professionals who have this designation and be confident that they have special expertise and experience in the luxury home marketplace.”

 

“I am committed to providing outstanding service to my clients,” said Lorna “The Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist® designation is evidence of my ability to meet the needs of affluent buyers and sellers. My membership in The Institute for Luxury Home Marketing also provides me with marketing tools and networking capabilities that benefit my clients.”

 

Lorna Calder is an award-winning real estate professional who has gone through special training and met performance standards in the upper tier market. She has been in Real Estate since 2008 and specializes in the Kingwood and the surrounding area’s markets.

 

Lorna has also earned the Million Dollar Guild® for her extensive training in high end luxury markets. The million dollar+ transaction requires sophistication and knowledge over and above that of an average agent. Rather than selecting an agent who is using your transaction to learn, consider an experienced professional who not only has the credibility of the CERTIFIED LUXURY HOME MARKETING SPECIALIST® designation, but has also earned Million Dollar Guild® recognition. A smart choice. 

 

“Being an excellent Kingwood Texas Real Estate Agent and Realtor® - involves having integrity, in-depth community and knowledge of the real estate market in Kingwood, Atascocita and Humble TX area. Marketing, effective negotiation skills and a high-quality professional network are all valuable tools for any real estate professional and are all hallmarks of my real estate practice.
 

My focus as a KINGWOOD TX Realtor®, ATASCOCITA TX Realtor®, and HUMBLE TX Realtor® is about putting my clients first. This means staying accessible, listening to the needs of my clients and communicating in a way that is tailored to each client’s needs. Being able to respond quickly to client concerns is a core value of my real estate practice. Bringing forth both competence and caring ensures that I maintain a high level of client satisfaction. Staying on top of the latest real estate technologies allows me to extend the range and quality of services I provide to my clients in Kingwood, Atascocita and Humble Texas.
 

As a true professional, I am committed to continuing real estate education so that I am well positioned in the real estate community. As a Graduate of the Texas Realtor® University, I hold the GRI designation. I have specialized knowledge including legal issues, finance, marketing, real estate investments, professional standards and environmental law, and brokerage. Fewer than 10 percent of 90,000 Texas Realtors have earned their GRI designation. The association is dedicated to increased professionalism in the real estate industry and is affiliated with the National Association of REALTORS®.
 

 "The GRI designation is a mark of excellence that signifies the graduate is a cut above," said Dennis Patillo, chairman of the Texas Association of REALTORS®. "It represents the knowledge and professionalism needed to perform successfully in today’s complex real estate field."   
 

Buddy Wall, Broker of RE/MAX Associates Northeast in Kingwood added, "In today’s market, simply being a good agent is not enough. Lorna’s continued pursuit of educational excellence in her field coupled with her non-stop commitment to customer service singles her out "Above the Crowd".”

 

For current information on the upper tier market, contact Lorna Calder at The Lorna Calder Team of RE/MAX Northeast at 281-361-2280 or email Lorna at lorna@lornacalder.com.

 

The Lorna Calder Team

RE/MAX Northeast

2940 Oak Street

Kingwood, TX 77339

(281) 361-2280

lorna@lornacalder.com

www.LornaCalder.com

Buyers CAN help their Agents, here is how...

by Lorna Calder

 

Sure, buying a home is very exciting but there is a lot more than just home tours and paperwork! Your Agent is working tirelessly behind the scenes, day and night, week and weekend to make sure you are getting a great home, for a great price and checking off as much as they can on your "Must Have" list.

 

Here are a few things that YOU as the Buyer can do to help make your Agent's job a bit easier. 

 

1. Try not to get too caught up in aesthetics.

Many items that may bother you as the Buyer are easily fixed! Don't sweat the small stuff, remember that your Agent can always negotiate repairs and the price of the home but most of the things that you want done, can be done in a weekend! Try to look at it in a more positive way, "yes, there are a few things that I would like to have done BUT this home is in the perfect neighborhood and for a great price!" Sometimes separating "wants" from "needs" helps.

 

2. Being too focused on the money can hurt your experience.

Of course money is a very important part of the buying process, we get that but exhausting all of your thoughts on the financial aspect will hinder your ability to focus on anything else. The Seller doesn't always accept the highest offer, most often they will accept the best offer which is a combination of price and terms. Sometimes a Buyer's financial qualifications come into the decision making process as well, for example; cash buyer versus FHA buyer.  You really need to trust your Agent when it comes to structuring a good offer that combines the right mix of timing, price and reasonable contingencies. 

 

3. Don't sit on it too long!

If you're in love with it, you haven't found anything like it, you can't live without it, MAKE AN OFFER. In this market it is VERY important to make an offer if you find the "right one". Houses don't sit long and before you know it the house you fell in love with has been sold to someone else! Not fun.

 

4. Talking to the Listing Agent...probably not a good idea!

The Selling Agent is there to get the most money for the SELLER not the BUYER. For example when calling a Listing Agent on a property, a buyer many sometimes share details about their situation, scenario, possible relocation and financial qualifications that the Listing Agent is duty bound to share with their client who is the Seller. This places the Buyer in a disadvantageous negotiating position. It's best to leave this communication to your Buyer's Agent, they've got this!

 

5. Low-balling offers is a no no!

Take this for instance: The seller declines the first offer and the buyer then makes another unreasonable offer. This is going to frustrate the Seller, cost the Buyer the house and tie up the Buyer Agent's time on a home in which the offer will be refused. Please listen carefully to your Agent, they know best what Sellers likely will and won't accept. After all, you hired them for a reason, they are pretty good at their job!

 

Source: "7 things Buyers Do That Real Estate Agents Hate," realtor.com® (Jan. 18, 2016)

We're Breaking Records Over Here! How you ask?...

by Lorna Calder

 

 

Texas broke Real Estate records last year!


They say everything is bigger in Texas, Real Estate is no exception...In fact, statewide home sales and prices reached an all-time high last year according to the latest Texas Quarterly Housing Reports released 2/1/2016 by the Texas Association on REALTORS®.

 

For the first time in history annual home sales exceeded 300,000, with more than 309,000 Texas homes sold in 2015!

 

"Texas has enjoyed four straight years of booming real estate growth and record-high housing demand," said Texas Association of REALTORS® Chairman Leslie Rouda Smith.


Check out this info-graphic with statewide data, and download the full report to see data for 25 markets across Texas. 

Information & content sourced from Texas Association of Real Estate

It's Time to File for Your Homestead Exemption!

by Lorna Calder

Good morning to all, I have some great news for those of you who purchased a home in 2015! You are now eligible for a Homestead Exemption.

 

Basically a Homestead Exemption helps you save on taxes on your home. An exemption removes part of the value of your property from taxation and lowers your taxes. For example, if your home is valued at $100,000 and you qualify for a $20,000 exemption, you pay taxes on your home as if it was worth only $80,000.

 

Harris County – Residential Homestead Exemption Form

Harris County – Disabled Veteran or Survivor Exemption Form

Montgomery County - Residential Homestead Exemption Form

Montgomery County - Disabled Veteran or Survivor Exemption Form

 

What Kinds of Homestead Exemptions Are Available for Harris County?

 

§  School taxes — all homeowners.  If you qualify for the homestead exemption, you will receive at least a $15,000 homestead exemption on the value of your home for school district taxes.

 

§  County taxes — all homeowners.  Harris County currently provides a 20% optional homestead exemption to all homeowners. This means, for example, that if your home is valued at $100,000, the exemption will reduce its taxable value for Harris County taxes by $20,000 to $80,000.

 

§  Optional exemptions — all homeowners.  Any taxing unit, including a school district, city, county or special district, may offer an exemption for up to 20% of your home’s value. The amount of an optional exemption can’t be less than $5,000, no matter what the percentage is. For example, if your home is valued at $20,000 and your city offers a 20% optional exemption, your exemption is $5,000, even though 20% of $20,000 is just $4,000.The governing body of each taxing unit decides whether it will offer the exemption and at what percentage. This percentage exemption is added to any other homestead exemption for which the applicant qualifies.

 

Application Deadlines for HARRIS COUNTY

 

You should file your regular residential homestead exemption application between January 1 and April 30. Early applications will not be accepted. If your application is postmarked by April 30, this will allow the district time to process it before your tax statement comes out in the fall. If you miss the April 30th deadline you can still apply:

For a general exemption: up to one year after the date taxes became delinquent for the year (usually February 1 of the year following the tax year).

For an over-65 or disabled person: if you turn 65, become totally disabled, or acquire a property during the year, you can apply and have the over-65 or disability exemption activated for that year. The deadline to apply for an over-65 or disabled person’s exemption for the year in which you qualify is the first anniversary of the date you qualify. In other words, you have one year from the date you qualify to apply. For example:

 

1.      If you are already qualified and you purchase a different home, you have one year from the date you occupy the new home to apply.

2.     If you turn 65 during the year, you have until your 66th birthday to apply for the year in which you turn 65.

3.     If you become disabled during the year, you have one year from the date you became disabled to apply.

 

Otherwise, the deadline for applying for the over-65 or disability exemption is the same as the deadline given above.

 

For more information regarding Harris County Homestead Exemptions – Visit HCAD

 

 

If you have purchased in Montgomery County, please visit click this link to MCAD, for further information on available Exemptions and Deadlines

 

You can also call our Christina Terry at our office, 281-348-3081, for more information!

 

All information has been pulled from the following sources;

http://www.hcad.org/Resources/Exemptions/Homeowners.asp

http://www.mcad-tx.org/html/homestead.html

IF I WERE A CARPENTER.....!

by Lorna Calder

Monday Morning Coffee

INSPIRATION FOR TODAY:
 
"All that Adam had, all that Caesar could, you have and can do . . . Build, therefore, your own world." 
 
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
 
IF I WERE A CARPENTER . . . !
 
Picture a builder hiring a new framing carpenter to help construct his new homes. The first day on the job, the new carpenter shows up without a tool belt . . . and without any tools . . . and asks, "Where do I begin?" How much progress do you think would be made by the end of the first day?
 
Most of us at some point in our lives are like the unprepared carpenter. We show up, but have no tools, and haven't the slightest clue what we want to build. Within us, we have the power to build any life we choose, yet at day's end, nothing has changed.
 
Oh sure, we actively pursue the day-to-day activities of our chosen career, yet we don't take time to visualize the finished product - our life. Thoreau said it best: "Live the life you've imagined." Steven Covey said it this way: "Begin with the end in mind."
 
To "build your own world," begin by deciding what that world will be like. Next, gather the tools required to begin construction. Finally, begin practicing until you are an accomplished master.
 
If you want to be a renowned musician, choose an instrument, take lessons, and practice eight hours each day. If you want financial independence, determine a method, learn how others have achieved wealth, and mimic their approach and techniques.
 
Just remember, the world you get is the world you chose. It's an awesome responsibility - knowing that what you become is the result of the choices you have made. It's also an awesome opportunity to enjoy all the peace, contentment, freedom and riches life has to offer.
 
Carpe diem! Seize the day!

The Power of Negative Thinking!

by Lorna Calder

Monday Morning Coffee

INSPIRATION FOR TODAY:
 
“So is cheerfulness, or a good temper, the more it is spent, the more remains.”  
 
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
 
THE POWER OF NEGATIVE THINKING! 
 
"If everything's coming your way, you're in the wrong lane." We've all read or heard similar humorous observations regarding the idea that, when all seems to be going well, it's merely the precursor to some sort of disaster. Unfortunately, many people seem to base their attitudes on that perception and, even more regrettably, they often permit such negativity to influence not only their lives but also the lives of others. 
 
Is it possible you’ve never been guilty of this transgression? When a colleague made a particularly impressive sale, did you ever say something along the lines of "Well, it'll probably take forever to top that one!" or "Too bad you can't do that all the time, huh?" 
 
Ever told someone going on a trip that you've been there before and had a terrible time? Even telling a child who brings home a good report card to "Keep it up!" can lessen the moment, because it implies that the current achievement isn't truly enough or that you fear poor performance in the future. Such statements carry “conditional approval” that demands future accomplishment as well. 
 
One of the keys to harmony, in the workplace or at home, is for everyone to feel good - about themselves and about their accomplishments. The next time you have the opportunity to make a comment, take a moment and carefully consider what you're saying - and how you're saying it. Squash any negativity right then and there. 
 
It's an attitude that’s easy to change once you're aware of it and its effect on those around you. Simply put, view the glass as being half full, not half empty. The power of negative thinking can make an even stronger impression than that of positive thinking, so be careful how you wield that power! 

Houston ranked #10 fastest Growing City by Forbes Magazine

by Lorna Calder

Forbes has named Three Texas Cities as top 20 Fastest Growing

Strong population growth in 2013 and unemployment under 6% has contributed to two Texas Cities making the top 10  fastest growing cities according to Forbes magazine. San Antonio also made the top 20 list at number 20.

America's Fastest Growing Cities 2014 by Forbes Magazine

Forbes’ list of America’s fastest-growing cities rates the 100 most populated cities in the country based on a number of factors, including the estimated rate of population growth for 2013 and 2014, year-over-year job growth for 2013, unemployment data, median salaries for local college-educated workers, and the rate of economic growth for 2013.

The following cities topped this year’s list:

  1. Austin, Texas
    2013 population growth: 2.5%

  2. Raleigh, N.C.
    2013 population growth: 2.15%

  3. Phoenix
    2013 population growth: 1.67%

  4. Dallas
    2013 population growth: 1.91%

  5. Salt Lake City, Utah
    2013 population growth: 1.33%

  6. Denver
    2013 population growth: 1.75%

  7. Ogden, Utah
    2013 population growth: 2.05%

  8. Charlotte, N.C.
    2013 population growth: 1.92%

  9. Orlando, Fla.
    2013 population growth: 1.82%

  10. Houston
    2013 population growth: 1.82%

Source: “America’s 20 Fastest-Growing Cities,” Forbes.com (Feb. 14, 2014

Low Housing Inventory Slows Sales and Raises Prices

by Lorna Calder

HAR Chair Chaille Ralph shares how the Houston housing market responded in January to lower housing inventory in her monthly video update.

As most agents and buyers probably found out, housing inventory was critically low in January, causing the price buyers paid for homes to be higher. Home sales increased from last January 1.7%, which was the smallest increase since 2011 and a reflection of the low inventory situation. The supply of homes in Houston was down to 2.6 months of inventory, compared to 3.6 months of inventory in January of 2013.

Some interesting facts about the Housing Housing Market for January 2014:

  • Median price for Single Family Homes jumped 18% to $177,000
  • Average price for Single Family Homes increased 22% to $244,000
  • Both Median and Average prices indicate the highest for a January in Houston
  • Houston's $150,000 and over market experienced growth, while the $80,000 to $150,000
  • Foreclosure sales dropped 53.2% from last January 2013, and only make up about 9.2% of the market down from last year.
  • Foreclosure sold prices increased 6.9%
January Monthly Market Comparison
Houston’s real estate market saw gains in all measurements in January when comparing sales to January 2013. Total property sales, total dollar volume and average and median pricing all rose on a year-over-year basis.

Month-end pending sales totaled 3,730, a 3.9 percent gain over last year and another possible indication of a steady but lower volume of sales when the February numbers are tallied. Active listings, or the number of available properties, at the end of January dropped 15.9 percent to 28,211.

Houston's inventory of available homes remained flat at a 2.6-month supply month-over-month in January, but was down from the 3.6 months of supply one year ago. The inventory of single-family homes across the U.S. currently stands at 4.6 months, according to the latest report from the National Association of REALTORS®.
 
CATEGORIES JANUARY 2013 JANUARY 2014 CHANGE
Total property sales 4,667 4,929 5.6%
Total dollar volume $904,858,281 $1,147,677,815 26.8%
Total active listings 33,532 28,211 -15.9%
Total pending sales 3,591 3,730 3.9%
Single-family home sales 3,889 3,957 1.7%
Single-family average sales price $200,079 $244,070 22.0%
Single-family median sales price $150,000 $177,000 18.0%
Months inventory* 3.6 2.6 -27.3%
* 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

January sales of single-family homes in Houston totaled 3,957, up 1.7 percent from January 2013. That marks the 32nd consecutive monthly increase. It also represents the smallest one-month sales increase since June 2011 and the lowest one-month sales volume since February 2012.

Home prices reached the highest levels ever recorded in Houston for a January. The single-family median price climbed 18.0 percent from last year to $177,000 and the average price soared 22.0 percent year-over-year to $244,070.

Single Family

Broken out by housing segment, January sales performed as follows:
  • $1 - $79,999: decreased 46.3 percent
  • $80,000 - $149,999: decreased 7.9 percent
  • $150,000 - $249,999: increased 9.7 percent
  • $250,000 - $499,999: increased 41.6 percent
  • $500,000 - $1 million and above: increased 45.3 percent
  •  

Single Family Average Home Price

HAR also breaks out the sales performance of existing single-family homes throughout the Houston market. In January 2014, existing home sales totaled 3,396, a 2.1 percent increase from the same month last year. The average sales price rose 23.2 percent year-over-year to $226,424 while the median sales price rose 20.7 percent to $164,800.

Source: HAR.com MLS January 2014 Press Release

Lorna Calder is a top ranked Broker Associate at RE/MAX Associates Northeast in Kingwood Texas. Currently ranked #7 at RE/MAX in Kingwood, Lorna Calder continues to exceed her clients expectations.

 

 

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