Texas’ housing market slowed in August after a surge of pent-up demand inflated sales numbers the previous month.
"Sales activity is no longer catching up from the economic shutdown that hindered the showing of homes and closings at the beginning of the spring buying season," said Real Estate Center Chief Economist Dr. James Gaines. "Existing homes sold through Texas Multiple Listing Services peaked in July as the economic consequences of the ongoing pandemic continued to develop."
Existing-home sales fell 14.6 percent from July but remained 3.4 percent higher than in August 2019.
"Low mortgage rates supported the year-over-year increase, but the effect of that stimulus may dwindle if persistent unemployment shrinks the number of qualified homebuyers," Gaines said.
According to the National Association of Realtors, existing-home sales at the national level increased for the third consecutive month on a seasonally adjusted basis and maintained double-digit year-over-year growth. They attribute the gains to robust demand but note rising supply-side constraints. Center Research Economist Dr. Luis Torres highlighted the supply-demand imbalances that will challenge the housing market over the next year.
"While sales surged during the summer, the number of new listings hitting the market has not matched that recovery, worsening the state's housing shortages, particularly for homes priced less than $300,000," said Torres. "This mismatch has pulled the months of inventory for homes priced less than $300,000 to record lows of fewer than 2.5 months."
Diverging trends across price ranges have led to increases in the median sale price for existing homes, which increased by more than 10 percent year over year for the second consecutive month, according to Center research.
Excerpted from Texas A&M Real Estate Center
Kitchens can be expensive to renovate, so make sure to choose upgrades that will stand the test of time—and outlast trends that come and go.
Engineered quartz will continue to be a popular countertop option for a long time. It’s less prone to damage than other countertop materials and doesn’t stain from acidic substances, making it an increasingly long-lasting choice.
2. Bright, cool spaces
The all-white kitchen will likely stay popular for years to come,” Life Rejoice notes. Still, some of us will appreciate a dash of color, if only to accentuate the squeaky clean impression all those white walls and cabinets give. For example, blue on larger surfaces against mostly white backdrops can add elegance. Keep the pallet sparse, with only one or two other colors used for touches on fixtures and hardware.
3. Add in Texture
Texture can help break up the monotony of an all-white space. For example, consider beadboard, shiplap, brass, strap hinges, latches, various wood essences, and combined with gray paint to “give your kitchen a lively, but at the same time restrained look. “Expressing through texture is considered to be an all-around safer bet than doing so with pure colors if a timeless look is what you’re after.”
4. Dark floors
Bright kitchens offer cleanliness and warmth. But to balance out predominantly light colors on walls and cabinetry, use darker floors. Hardwood or wood-look tile would be great choices.
Excerpted from www.lifechoice.com
A neighbor of mine in our 41 patio home community sent a message to each of us asking if we could consider donating to a special service project she had undertaken: a friend of hers would be filling a 38 foot trailer next week to deliver to Lake Charles and a neighborhood there that desperately needed donations! My neighbors told their friends and they told friends….and Thursday a full load will be on its way! Kindness shines through even in the darkest moments.
The pandemic and the quarantine in place have give me a lot of time to reflect on what is important in my everyday Life. I believe in Kindness.
Kindness gives us hope that better days are ahead. But, like many positive traits, kindness must be consistent in order to be authentic. You can’t be compassionate and caring every other day. It’s an all-in, all-the-time proposition!
So be kind. Be fair. Honest. Ethical. And do it consistently, so it becomes a habit and part of who you are. The best part: Kindness spreads, creating a ripple effect that can touch many lives beyond the initial act. Kindness also sows optimism, and optimism is exactly what we need right now. Because if we give in to the gloom and allow fear to drive our behavior, each day will move us another step further away from where we all need to be.
At its core, real estate is a people business, and being kind to people is a business approach that never goes wrong.
Throughout this ordeal, kindness has won the day over and over again.
No one knows what the next chapter in the story of COVID will be. What we do know is that people still want to buy and sell homes, and our role is to help them do that. With the right mindset, a sense of empathy, the courage to press forward, the help of each other, and the resolve to be kind, we can continue to thrive—no matter what else is happening around us.
The pandemic fast-tracked a number of paradigm shifts that were already reshaping our living habits, and it’s important to consider which of those will “stick” and which ones will revert to form when the pandemic settles down.
Amazon, for example, had already normalized the concept of shopping for items online and expecting home delivery within 1-2 days. To avoid supermarkets, many people quickly became comfortable with the use of Instacart for their grocery shopping, and it is reasonable to predict this practice will also become routine. So, there may be in the future a reduced need for proximity to shopping centers.
But other major trends are certain to revert to form once the coronavirus is no longer a concern. Kids will return to school. Diners will return to restaurants. People will congregate in bars, sports arenas and theaters. Schools and entertainment will again be important in our future.
As human beings, our innate drive is to be close to others. Fear and circumstances may have us retreating from activities we prefer, but eventually, we will find our way back. The axiom that the majority of homebuyers will plan on staying in their homes for a minimum of 5-7 years, and even longer in many cases, will remain. How will you feel in a couple of years when the home you purchased isn’t near the school district with the curriculum you want for your children? Or the commute to your office is 2 hours away through the traffic that has returned!
Your priorities in choosing a home are more important right now than ever. Make sure that the home you are buying in 2020 is not ONLY for the time being, but also for the future.
Among all the shifts that have happened this year, the fact that businesses rely on a remotely-located workforce has become an accepted fact; as a result, homeowners are now spending the majority of their time in their houses and condos. This has proven especially true in the luxury real estate market, where buyers are often remote-working professionals with the means to afford a property that supports this new lifestyle.
But what exactly does this lifestyle look like, and what are the demands and expectations of today’s higher-end buyers?
Overriding the requirements listed above is a demand for quality. Time to precious to these buyers and the focus on Moving In and Living Fully NOW prevails.
With interest rates dropping into "under 3% levels", the move to buy for both 1st time homebuyers and those moving from their current homes, has skyrocketed! Knowing and limiting yourself to your price range can be difficult. Ask questions from ALL the persons involved in your transaction...including your Realtor!
Getting pre-qualified for a mortgage will help some understand the ceiling on their price range. However, it is equally important to understand whether the monthly payment on a new home is not only feasible for you, but also comfortable! Consider the following questions: Is it more or less than your current housing payment? Can you make the new payment without impacting your lifestyle and budget? Assuming a household’s income is never a guarantee, is there a safety blanket to maintain payments for a period of time?
With low interest rates on other "large ticket items": cars, furniture and more, I want to caution every qualifying buyer to avoid opening any new credit lines, increasing the balances on credit cards or other loans, or drawing from savings accounts that will be utilized for down payments and closing costs. This could lead to a delay in closing, or worse, cause a buyer to no longer qualify for a loan!
Questions…need a referral to a mortgage professional? Call me @ 713-594-7391.
25+ years of Helping Buyers and Sellers With Their Real Estate Needs.
If you’re a parent of a school-age child, or school-age children, your home probably will need to accommodate some distance learning when the new school year starts. For some households, spring became a frantic last-minute scramble to adjust to sheltering and schooling at home. For fall, you might want to spend time thoughtfully planning and setting up a more effective remote-learning environment that works for your entire family.
1. Functional Desk
2. Comfortable Seating
A comfortable chair or other seat for your child is high on the must-have list for a successful study space and suggest comfortable padded seats. Adding an extra one for a parent or other adult is best, in case that person needs to assist with homework.
3. Practical Storage and Organization System
As the school year progresses, the amount of projects and assignments to keep track of will grow. Bins, shallow boxes, stackable trays and art caddies are all great options that can be easily moved around as needed. Add a magnetic chalkboard or dry-erase board close to a child’s desk. This visualization tool will help kids plan and complete their assignments, and will provide a central place to display reminders or jot down learning tips, like multiplication facts.
4. Good Lighting
The right lighting helps kids stay focused and can protect their eyes. Task lighting is a must-have, and will be especially important when the sun sets earlier in the fall and winter. And consider adding a wall sconce to provide even more light.
(excerpted from Houzz.com)
The National Association of Realtors has done studies on the value of having a home staged professionally before putting it up for sale:
One more thing: let me clarify: a professional stager’s purpose is very different from an interior designer’s usual work. The typical designer wants to make a home livable for the residents. A stager’s goal, on the other hand, is to emphasize home’s assets, minimize its less desirable facets, and make everything look big, light, bright, and open in the photographs that all buyers today see online before they decide to spend time on a personal visit.
Staging-savvy designers can work wonders with dark rooms, spaces that are too small or too large, furniture that’s out-of-scale for the setting, too much furniture, strange floor plans, poor color choices, and dowdy design features. Whether what they do is comfortable to live in is almost immaterial. So, usually it’s uncomfortable! But if the goal is a shorter time on the market and more money in the bank at closing, isn’t a short term inconvenience worth it?!
I believe in this value to the seller SO much, that I pay for it!
from Inman Property Portfolio, 7-21-2020
As the pandemic lingers into the summer months, real estate investors are carefully examining their portfolios and identifying growth opportunities. While single-family or multifamily rentals may not be as lucrative as rents decline, rental management site Rented Inc.’s said investors might find their golden egg in Florida’s vacation rental market.
According to Rented’s latest market report with Weiss Analytics, published on 7-20-2020, vacation properties along the Florida Panhandle offer the best return on investment, due to a relatively low cost of ownership and acquisition cost matched with healthy short-term revenue potential, annual home value appreciation and future asset value gains.
The Florida Panhandle, which includes Tallahassee and Pensacola, received a score of 98.7 out of 100, which reflects the robust return on investment for a three-bedroom, two-bathroom single-family home. The South Jersey Shore (93.4), the Pennsylvania Poconos (93.0), the Smoky Mountains (77.8), and Central Texas (77.7) round out the top five best places to invest.
“Our findings uncover the most lucrative locations to buy real estate where the cost of ownership is outweighed by the returns vacation rentals provide,” Rented, Inc. CEO Andrew McConnell explained in a prepared statement. “Hospitality is still front and center, but it’s become clear that there is more to vacation rental investment management than finding a property and someone to keep things clean.”
To stay competitive, the report said investors must invest in smart home technology to accommodate renters who are working during extended stays. Furthermore, investors must be able to offer a seamless, totally digital experience, as travelers aim to reduce in-person contact during the pandemic, it added. “Our bustling global economy came to a screeching halt with the travel industry at the center of near collapse,” the report read. “What we’re seeing now is two years of innovation happening in a quarter! Remote work, video conferencing, longer stays, and no-contact check-ins, once optional, are now essential.”
As we move through the next few months, take the time to do several of the following to “refresh” your home. It will also add value if you decide to sell in 2021!