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Everything's Bigger in Texas

by Lorna Calder

Well at least CITIES are BIGGER IN TEXAS.... The SAN ANTONIO (San Antonio Business Journal)  reported that a third of U.S. cities with populations greater than one million are right here in the great state of Texas, according to Business First.

Houston has the fourth highest population in the US coming in at 2.3 million. San Antonio was not too far behind at number seven with 1.4 million, and Dallas followed with a population of 1.3 million.

Business First produces weekly population estimates for states, metropolitan areas, micropolitan areas, counties, towns, cities and villages. The company uses a specialized calibrated computer formula to generate the projected populations. Their system pulls data from a decade of U.S. Census Bureau data to extrapolate growth trends.  

With a total of 82 cities on the 1,000 largest-cities list, Texas ranks second only to California in number of cities listed.

Source: San Antonio Business Journal, Buffalo Business First

Gobble Gobble!

by Lorna Calder
Monday Morning Coffee


"The quality of mercy is not strain'd,
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath: it is twice bless'd;
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes."

~William Shakespeare


Remember when you were a teenager leaving the house on a date? Your parents' last words as you went out the door were, "We'll leave the light on for you". Think about that. So what if they did or didn't leave the light on? Their words were really more of a verbal hug. They cared about you - wanted you to know it - and applied the hug with kind words.

With Thanksgiving in just a few days, why not take the time to "leave the light on" for someone who may not get many hugs? There's still time, and it's easy.

First, learn who needs hugs. Check with your local fire, police, or sheriff's department. Ask whether they know of three or four families or individuals who could use a hug. Ask also whether they would consider delivering your hugs at the appropriate time. Two groups stand out as needy - the elderly and families with small children. Of course, we're talking about individuals who are experiencing difficult circumstances in their lives, be they physical or financial.

Next, consider what type of hugs you have to offer. Perhaps you might prepare three or four Thanksgiving turkeys with all the trimmings. Live in the country where people heat their homes with a wood stove? Deliver firewood. Live in a cold climate? Add some warm socks or a sweater to your dinner box. It's really not that difficult to come up with ideas that would make a difference to your chosen recipients. If you aren't able to provide "things," consider visiting with some nursing home residents. Brighten their day by listening for a while.

It goes without saying that our country is truly blessed. Although practically invisible to most of us, however, there are some individuals who are being challenged. They need a hug, and we can brighten their lives by way of simple gestures. Make a family project out of it - involve your kids. Do it anonymously. Afterwards, when you get home, we'll leave the light on for you!

Texas is Doing Better than the Nation in Foreclosure

by Lorna Calder

According to the Mortgage and Bankers Association mortgage delinquency survey  Texas is faring better than the rest of the nation in actual foreclosures. "Texas’ seriously delinquent loans stood at 5.2 percent versus 8.7 percent of loans nationally," said Real Estate Center Research Economist Dr. Jim Gaines. Loans that are considered to be "seriously delinquent" are 90 or more days past due or in the process of foreclosure.  

In the third quarter of 2010 foreclosure was started on 0.85 percent of all loans in Texas while nationally, that number was 1.34 percent.  

The percentage of loans in foreclosure in Texas at the end of the quarter was 1.8 percent, compared with 4.4 percent nationally.  

According to Gaines, "Texas delinquent loans have picked up, but third quarter 2010 total delinquencies were down nearly 2 percent from the previous year," Gaines said. "Both the United States and Texas are running at around 9.5 percent delinquency on all loans."

Source: Texas A&M University RECON , Mortgage Bankers Association Washington, D.C.

Still on the Fence?

by Lorna Calder

There has never been a better time to buy a home.

First the selection of homes available to purchase in all price ranges is tremendous and with more homes on the market buyers naturally have a better selection. Many markets have experienced values above that are above prices. This translates to an increased supply resulting in prices that are below values in some areas.

One of the most compelling reasons to buy a home now is interest rates. They are the talk of the town and for good reason. We are experiencing generationally low interest rates that will not stick around as the economy recovers.

It is important for buyers to talk with their real estate consultant and mortgage lender about the cost savings of even a quarter point over the life of a mortgage loan.

Finally the tax advantage of homeownership with respect to the mortgage interest and property tax deductions should be considered compelling reasons to buy a home.

November 2010 Houston and National Housing Market Trends

by Lorna Calder

Housing Trends eNewsletter is filled with local and national real estate sales and price activity provided by MLSs and the National Association of Realtors, U.S. Census Bureau key market indicators, consumer videos, blogs, real estate glossary, mortgage rates and calculators, consumer articles, and local community reports.

This months featured video focuses on Short Sales. A short sale is a process used by attorney's and REALTORS to stop a foreclosure action. Foreclosures have devastating effects upon homeowners, not the least of which is the loss of a good credit rating. Foreclosures can also have a negative impact on neighborhoods as they tend to bring the prices of other homes in the same neighborhood down....  

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 November 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 housing trends issue features:    

Pending Home Sales Slip but Modest Recovery Expected in 2011

The Greater Houston Area Market Trends Report for November 2010  

Estate Tax, Tax Credits, Flood Insurance: An Update on Tax Issues

Featured Homes for Sale

What is the Value of my Home?

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 Home Prices Show Continued Stability

by Lorna Calder

Pricing remained stable for homes in Houston for the month of October despite a decline in housing sales for the fourth straight month. While this news may seem like the good mixed with the bad, there are other highlights to consider. The average price of single-family homes in Houston for this past October (2010) was up 5.6 percent to $208,459 when compared to one year (2009) earlier. That is the highest level ever recorded for an October in Houston. The median sales price at $150,000 for single-family homes edged up slightly 0.7 percent versus October 2009, still achieving its highest level for an October in Houston. The national single-family median price reported by NAR is $172,600. This continues to illustrate the higher value and lower cost of living that consumers enjoy in the Houston housing marketplace.

Even more sunny news for Houston, the Houston Multiple Listing Service (MLS) reported a decline of 13.4 percent for foreclosure property sales compared to October 2009 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.

Here is what John Mendel and the 2010 Chair for the Houston MLS Margie Dorrance had to say about the Houston Housing Market for October 2010...


October Monthly Market Comparison
CATEGORIES October 2009 October 2010 PERCENT CHANGE
Total property sales 5,777 4,404 -23.8%
Total dollar volume $1,095,994,570 $873,412,880 -20.3%
Total active listings 45,424 53,039 16.8%
Total pending sales 3,673 2,821 -23.2%
Single-family home sales 4,877 3,739 -23.3%
Single-family average sales price $197,445 $208,459 5.6%
Single-family median sales price $149,000 $150,000 0.7%
Months inventory* 6.1 7.7 25.8%
* 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. Source

Read the full MLS Press Release here.

Morning Coffee - Ideas come from Space

by Lorna Calder

Monday Morning Coffee

Morning Coffee


"Ideas come from space. This may seem astonishing and
impossible to believe, but it is true. Ideas come from out of space."
- Thomas Edison

From the "Commercial and Financial Chronicle" (December 10, 1932) comes this quote from an article entitled "El Dorado":

"El Dorado, a country rich beyond all precedent in gold and jewels, lies at every man's door. Your bonanza lies under your feet. Your luck is ready at hand. All is within; nothing is without, though it often appears that men and peoples by dumb luck or avarice or force or overreaching strike upon the sea of prosperity. Man individually and collectively is entitled to life in all abundance. What do you seek? Pay the price and take it away. There is no limit to the supply. By a full and powerful imagination anything can be brought into concrete form."

Thomas Edison was a man of 10,000 ideas - a virtually endless supply. Grasping those ideas that he attributed as coming "from space," he created a long string of life-changing inventions. By his "full and powerful imagination" he brought the light bulb into its tangible form.

Inside each of us lies that same power - to see the future through our own imagination, and then cause it to happen by taking actions consistent with its manifestation. As author Wayne Dyer said in his book by the same name, "You'll see it when you believe it." By understanding the power of your own imagination, you are capable of creating your own "El Dorado," both in the physical and the spiritual plane.

Houston is One of the Top Ten Most Affordable Cities in America

by Lorna Calder

In the oil business it is sometimes said that all roads lead to Houston….  The same could be said for affordable housing – or at least all roads are leading to Texas with three Texas cities making the top 10 Affordable Cities in America according to

Along with Houston ranked #7 most affordable city in America, San Antonio and Austin also made the list.

Here is how Houston ranked:

Metropolitan Statistical Area: Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, Texas

Cost-of-living rank: 7

Unemployment rank: 22

Housing-costs rank: 13

When compiling the list, Forbes looked for cities that had a balance of cheap living and economic prosperity - places with solid job markets, but where costs aren't prohibitive.

Read the full article on


Interest Rates Hit Record Low ~ Again

by Lorna Calder

Mortgage rates fell last week according to hitting or matching modern record lows.

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage  rate average fell to 4.42 percent according's weekly national survey. The 30-year fixed rate of 4.42 percent matched a record low Bankrate's weekly survey. The same record low was set two weeks ago in the same survey.  According to the National Bureau of Economic Research's statistics on FHA-insured loans, Rates haven't been lower since March 1953.

Weekly national mortgage survey:

Results of's Nov. 3, 2010, weekly national survey of large lenders and the effect on monthly payments for a $165,000 loan:

  30-year fixed 15-year fixed 5-year ARM
This week's rate: 4.42% 3.81% 3.57%
Change from last week: -0.09 -0.09 -0.1
Monthly payment: $828.21 $1,204.83 $747.39
Change from last week: -$8.80 -$7.40 -$9.28
You can read Bankrate's full article here. 


So what's the takeaway? There is no better time to buy a home taking advantage of the fantastic rates coupled with values that are above prices and homes that are more affordable than in years past.

Displaying blog entries 1-9 of 9




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