Real Estate Information Archive


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What's Really Going on in Texas Real Estate?

by Lorna Calder

With so many misperceptions created by the national news about the national real estate market, Texas consumers need to know what’s really going on in the TEXAS real estate market.

Why Texas is different

Strong, diverse economy: Texas is strong in industries that are still growing (such as education & health services, government and hospitality), according to the Texas Workforce Commission. In addition, the state’s four largest metros (Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, Austin, and San Antonio) were recently ranked in the top 10 cities projected to recover from the economic recession nationwide (America’s Fastest Recovering Cities , by Francesca Levy, Forbes Magazine, Nov. 19, 2009).  

  • By August 2009, Texas’ unemployment rate had been less than the national rate for 33 consecutive months (since November 2006). 
  • According to economists, Texas employment is expected to rebound in the fourth quarter of 2009, while other states are slated for recovery well into 2010. 
  • According to a study by the Brookings Institution, San Antonio, Austin, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, and El Paso were among the strongest economies in the nation during the second quarter of 2009.

Sources: Texas Workforce Commission, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University. Moody’s, Dallas Morning News

 Enduring home values: From 1999 to 2009, the median home price in Texas increased 45% while home sales increased 16% (Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University).  

Top state to relocate: According to the Allied Van Lines 42nd Annual Magnet States Report, Texas is the No. 1 destination state for residential relocations in 2009 for the fifth year in a row.

Read more about Why Texas is Different

The Opportunity to Buy a Home May Never Be Better

by Lorna Calder

There may never be a better time to buy a home!

There May NEVER Be a Better Time to BUY A HOME!

This may be the best time in a lifetime to buy a home. There are plenty of homes available in most markets at affordable prices and interest rates still remain generationally low. Some markets are seeing that the value of homes are sometimes over the prices right now.

And to sweeten the pot, the $8,000 tax credit for qualified first time homebuyers and up to $6,500 for most other homebuyers that qualify, is still on the table until April 30th. This money does NOT have to be repaid provided you live in the home for at least 3 years.

REALTORS® are encouraging buyers to get off the fence now to avoid the rush closer to April 30th. As that date approaches mortgage lenders and title companies are going to be dealing with a larger number of files and processing delays can and most likely will occur. As it stands now most mortgage lenders are asking for at least a 45 day window to close a loan. That combined with issues that could arise from inspections and appraisals that require time to be resolved may also exclude some buyers that waited until April. For example what happens when a buyer executes a contract on a home with an inspection option period and the home has issues that the Seller won't pay for... Buyers may just find themselves starting over. The same goes for appraisals, if the home being purchased has an appraisal issue that cannot be resolved between the buyer and seller, the contract may fall apart. For these reasons and more, sooner is better than later.

To read more in depth information about the tax credit and its limitations and qualifications, please download the following information sheets:

RE/MAX Home Buyer Tax Credit Flyer

Home Buyers Tax Credit FAQ's

Home Buyer Tax Credit Issues Briefing

If you would like more information about the homebuyers tax credit or the process of buying a home, please feel free to contact Lorna Calder



Current Housing Trends

by Lorna Calder

 Houston and National Housing Market Statistics brought to you by Lorna Calder, REALTOR Kingwood Texas

Welcome to the most current Housing Trends eNewsletter. This eNewsletter is specially designed for you, with national and local housing information that you may find useful whether you’re in the market for a home, thinking about selling your home, or just interested in homeowner issues in general.

Please click on this link to view the JANUARY-2010 Newsletter Newsletter Housing Trends eNewsletter:

The Housing Trends eNewsletter contains the latest information from the National Association of REALTORS®, the U.S. Census Bureau, reports and other sources.

It also includes press releases with charts and videos, key market indicators and real estate sales and price statistics, a video message by a nationally recognized economist, maps, mortgage rates and calculators, consumer articles, plus local neighborhood information and more.

If you are interested in determining the value of your home, click the “Home Evaluator” link for a free evaluation report:

Sound decisions can only be made with accurate and reliable information, and I am happy to be a trusted resource for you. I look forward to answering any questions you may have and to the opportunity to be your REALTOR® in the future.

Sincerely yours,

Lorna Calder
RE/MAX Associates Northeast
2940 Oak Street Kingwood TX 77339
(281) 361-2280

RE/MAX Agents know the Tax Credit

by Lorna Calder

Do you want more information on the homebuyers extended and expanded tax credit? RE/MAX agents know the Tax Credit....

January 2010 Houston and National Housing Trends

by Lorna Calder

According to Ted C. Jones, Chief Economist with Stewart Title, rising property values and rising interest rates raise the buyers' sense of urgency in the housing market place. See the video...


If you have not reviewed my monthly Housing Trends Newsletter - you could be missing out. Everywhere I go, people are asking me about the housing market conditions - it's on everyone's mind. Staying abreast of local and national market conditions and factors that can affect the future sale or purchase of your home can make the decision process less daunting. I always tell my clients that in order to make the best decsion they need to have all the information they can upfont. My Housing Trends Newsletter is just one of the tools in my arsenal to make sure you keep informed.

The January 2010 Local and National Housing Trends has just been released. This month's newsletter is packed full of local and national housing market statitics and news you need to know to stay current with today's changing housing market.

This month's issue features: 

Nine Consecutive Gains for Pending Home Sales

The Greater Houston Area Market Trends Report for January 2010 

Another Big Gain in Existing-Home Sales as Buyers Respond to Tax Credit

Exterior Remodeling Proves Best Bang for Your Buck, Realtors® Report

You can view the newsletter here.   

If you wish to receive FREE Housing Trends eNewsletter e-mailed to you monthly, click here to Subscribe.   

If you are considering selling your house or buying a home and need more information, I am never too busy to help, please contact me for more information.


Houston Homes Third Straight Month in the Black in November

by Lorna Calder

November marked the third straight month in which property sales volume and pricing recorded gains. According to the latest monthly data compiled by the Houston Association of REALTORS® (HAR), November volume of single-family home sales across the greater Houston area rose 32.8 percent compared to November 2008. Total property sales climbed 37.1 percent in November on a year-over-year basis.

The effects of Hurricane Ike and simultaneous economic downturn affecting Houston’s real estate market in November 2008 continue to distort year-over-year comparisons which reflect yet another month of double-digit increases. However, longer-term analysis aimed at gleaning a more realistic view of market conditions shows November 2009 real estate activity to be comparable to that seen at the cusp of the recession, in the fall of 2007.

In addition to the comparative affects on sales data from last year’s natural disaster and economic recession, HAR member REALTORS® report that at least some of the month’s homebuying activity can be attributed to consumers scurrying to beat the original November 30 homebuyer tax credit deadline before Congress voted to extend and expand the program.

At $150,000, the November single-family home median price—the figure at which half of the homes sold for more and half sold for less—rose 8.7 percent from one year earlier, representing the seventh straight monthly increase in median price. The average price of a single-family home in Houston was $198,948, up 6.7 percent last month versus November 2008. The median price reached the highest level ever for a month of November in Houston.

Foreclosure property sales continued to decline in November, making up 15.8 percent of all single-family home sales in the Houston area compared to 27.4 percent in November 2008 and the 12-month peak of 34.0 percent in January of this year. The median price of November foreclosure sales reported in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) rose 9.5 percent to $93,000 on a year-over-year basis.

Sales of all property types in Houston for November totaled 5,353, up 37.1 percent compared to November 2008. Total dollar volume for properties sold during the month was $1.0 billion versus $714 million one year earlier, representing an increase of 44.5 percent.

“This is the third month in a row in which a year-over-year comparison exaggerates the local housing landscape because Hurricane Ike continued to hurt the Houston real estate market last November,” said Vicki Fullerton, HAR chair and broker of record at RE/MAX of The Woodlands & Spring. “We are very encouraged that property sales activity appears to be close to levels reached right before the recession took hold, and expect more realistic year-over-year data in the months ahead so we can again compare apples to apples.”

November Monthly Market Comparison
The month of November brought Houston’s overall housing market positive results when all listing categories are compared to November of 2008. Total property sales, total dollar volume and both median and average single-family home sales prices were all up on a year-over-year basis.

The number of available properties, or active listings, at the end of November fell 4.0 percent from November 2008 to 45,452. That housing inventory represents 28 more active listings than one month earlier, in October 2009.

November’s month-end pending sales—those listings expected to close within the next 30 days—totaled 2,741, which was 12.8 percent lower than last year. While such a decrease typically portends a decline in sales volume for the following month, the Hurricane Ike effect and interest in the homebuyer tax credit make it tricky to forecast. The months inventory of single-family homes for November came in at 6.0 months, down from 6.1 months one year earlier, and remains healthier than the national months inventory of single-family homes of 7.0 months, reported by the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR).

CATEGORIES November 2008 November 2009 PERCENT CHANGE
Total property sales 3,904 5,353 37.1%
Total dollar volume $713,994,683 $1,031,455,912 44.5%
Total active listings 47,354 45,452 -4.0%
Total pending sales 3,144 2,741 -12.8%
Average single-family sales price $186,449 $198,948 6.7%
Median single-family sales price $138,000 $150,000 8.7%
Months inventory* 6.1 6.0 -1.8%
* 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

At $150,000, the median sales price for single-family homes rose for the seventh consecutive month, up 8.7 percent from November 2008. That represents the highest median price ever recorded in a month of November in Houston. The national single-family median price reported by NAR is $173,100, illustrating the continued higher value and lower cost of living that consumers enjoy in the Houston market. The average price of single-family homes in October was $198,948, an increase of 6.7 percent from one year earlier.

November sales of single-family homes in Houston totaled 4,519, up 32.8 percent from November 2008. This is the third consecutive monthly increase in sales volume and, again, is considered an anomaly because of Hurricane Ike’s disruption of thousands of real estate transactions last fall.


HAR also reports existing home statistics for the single-family home segment of the real estate market. In November 2009, existing single-family home sales totaled 3,721, a 34.8 percent increase from November 2008. At $142,000, the median sales price for existing homes in the Houston area rose 13.6 percent compared to last year. The average sales price of $182,883 climbed 12.3 percent from its November 2008 level.

Houston Real Estate Milestones in November

  • Single-family homes sales increased for a third consecutive month, by 32.8 percent;

  • Existing single-family home sales increased for a third consecutive month, by 34.8 percent;

  • Total property sales increased for a third consecutive month, by 37.1 percent;

  • The median price of a single-family home was up for the seventh straight month, reaching the highest level ever recorded in a     November ($150,000);

  • Month’s inventory of single-family homes dropped from 6.1 to 6.0 months compared to the national average of 7.0 months

  • The full MLS Press Release can be read here.


    Considering a Home Purchase

    by Lorna Calder


    Considering a Home Purchase? With so much in the news about the housing market and lending industry, it can be challenging to decide whether to go forward. Fortunately with the help of a competent real estate professional, the decision making process can be less daunting.  Understanding how to navigate through the complex process of buying a home is important, and for that reason you should have a REALTOR® you are comfortable with on your side – even if you choose to wait to buy a home.

    However, before you wait to buy you should consider that now is a great time to buy a home for the following reasons:

    1. CHOICE - The selection is tremendous – with more homes on the market, buyers have a better choice as to what fits their needs
    2. VALUE - The values are above prices – due to the increased supply on the market, prices are below actual values in many instances
    3. INTEREST RATES - The interest rates are incredibly low – current mortgage rates are lower than they've been in 50 years and we may not see them this low for generations.  The interest rates can have as profound an impact on the cost of housing as the price of the home itself.
    4. Tax advantages
      1. Deduction of interest and property taxes
      2. Capital gains exclusion
      3. Favorable LTCG treatment on balance
      4. Home Tax Credit
    5. Social benefits
      1. Provides shelter and security
      2. Provides stability – (12 years vs. 3 years; U.S. Census American Housing Surveys)
      3. Encourages community involvement
      4. Fulfills part of the American dream

    Displaying blog entries 1-7 of 7




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