Kids are back in school, and routines are back to normal as we head into September. While parents are probably relieved that their kids are back on a normal schedule, we all have to deal with increased traffic and longer commute times again. We are also breathing a sigh of relief in the real estate market as we look forward to home buying to return to a more normal routine after Labor Day.
As usual, home sales slowed in August as everyone turned their focus to finalizing vacations and preparing kids for school. The numbers aren’t out yet, but if you were trying to sell a home, you saw the decline in showings and open house traffic. I spoke to several mortgage lenders that also saw a slow down on the home loan side.
I don’t want to be a “Debbie Downer”, but I feel it important to report what we see going on in the market from the perspective of the people in the trenches, which are the Realtors and the mortgage lenders. If you read the newspaper, you would think that we have a booming seller’s market and all the homes are selling fast and at higher prices. If your home is on the market for sale, you may be asking, “why isn’t my home selling”? To be frank, it is still a mixed bag on the market. Homes that are priced well and fully updated could see multiple offers in 2 days, while others are sitting on the market for well over 100 days, and prices continue to adjust downwards.
Houston is the 4th largest city in the nation, so our real estate market can vary from neighborhood to neighborhood. Unfortunately, the newspapers are showing a snapshot of the city as a whole, so it is important to talk to your Realtor and understand what the market is doing in your neighborhood or zip code. Your Realtor should not only advise you on pricing, but also advise on improvements that may be needed to make sure your home is marketable in the current climate.
On a positive note, voters passed the $2.5 billion flood bond, and with the federal government matching these funds. This should help answer the question that most buyer’s have when considering a flooded neighborhood, “What is the government doing to correct the flood problem”?
The other good news is that we are seeing more activity with high end rental properties than we have seen in 3 years! These renters are relocating with the oil companies and signing long term leases in many cases. In the past, this movement was a precursor to more hiring in the Energy Sector, which means that our relocation market is picking up again. Although, I have been told that most oil companies do not plan to start major projects until the beginning of 2019, the rental activity is a positive sign!