Monday, December 30, 2013

Houston up 28% for Residential New Construction Starts

The Nation’s Busiest Residential New Construction Markets

 by Peter Ricci                                                                                                     August 26, 2013 

 July was a very strong month for residential new construction. Not only were building permits up 2.7 percent from June to July, but housing starts and housing completions also posted monthly increases of 5.9 and 1.8 percent, respectively. Overall, residential construction is up 23 percent from last year, and has risen 45 percent since bottoming in 2009. How do those numbers, though, stack up with Houston’s residential housing market? Quite well – in fact, Houston is among the leaders of the pack. According to the latest numbers from McGraw-Hill Construction, in July, residential construction in Houston was up 28 percent from last year to $716 million, and year-to-date, the city’s incredible $4.874 billion in residential building is good for a 22 percent uptick over last year. But how are other metro areas growing?

See our graph below for some perspective:

32 Words of Wisdom to Consider for the new year

I have carried this newspaper clip with me since the early 90's. Every year I reflect back on it.  I hope you will enjoy as much as I do. 

 by Ann Landers

 Let this coming year be better than all the others. Vow to do some of the things you’ve always wanted to do but couldn’t find the time.
  1. Call up a forgotten friend. Drop an old grudge, and replace it with some pleasant memories.
  2. Share a funny story with someone whose spirits are dragging. A good laugh can be very good medicine.
  3. Vow not to make a promise you don’t think you can keep.
  4. Pay a debt.
  5. Give a soft answer.
  6. Free yourself of envy and malice.
  7. Encourage some youth to do his or her best. Share your experience, and offer support. Young people need role models.
  8. Make a genuine effort to stay in closer touch with family and good friends.
  9. Resolve to stop magnifying small problems and shooting from the lip. Words that you have to eat can be hard to digest.
  10. Find the time to be kind and thoughtful. All of us have the same allotment: 24 hours a day. Give a compliment. It might give someone a badly needed lift.
  11. Think things through. Forgive an injustice. Listen more. Be kind.
  12. Apologize when you realize you are wrong. An apology never diminishes a person. It elevates him.
  13. Don’t blow your own horn. If you’ve done something praiseworthy, someone win notice eventually.
  14. Try to understand a point of view that is different from your own. Few things are 100 percent one way or another.
  15. Examine the demands you make on others.
  16. Lighten up. When you feel like blowing your top, ask yourself, "Will it matter a week from today?"
  17. Laugh the loudest when the joke is on you.
  18. The sure way to have a friend is to be one. We are all connected by our humanity, and we need each other.
  19. Avoid malcontents and pessimists. They drag you down and contribute nothing.
  20. Don’t discourage a beginner from trying something risky. Nothing ventured means nothing gained. Be optimistic. The can-do spirit is the fuel that makes things go.
  21. Go to war against animosity and complacency.
  22. Express your gratitude. Give credit when it’s due—and even when it isn’t. It will make you look good.
  23. Read something uplifting. Deep-six the trash. You wouldn’t eat garbage—why put it in your head?
  24. Don’t abandon your old-fashioned principles. They never go out of style.
  25. When courage is needed, ask yourself, "If not me, who? If not now, when?"
  26. Take better care of yourself. Remember, you’re all you’ve got. Pass up that second helping. You really don’t need it. Vow to eat more sensibly. You’ll feel better and look better, too.
  27. Don’t put up with secondhand smoke. Nobody has the right to pollute your air or give you cancer. If someone says, "This is a free country," remind him or her that the country may be free, but no person is free if he has a habit he can’t control.
  28. Return those books you borrowed. Reschedule that missed dental appointment. Clean out your closet. Take those photos out of the drawer and put them in an album. If you see litter on the sidewalk, pick it up instead of walking over it.
  29. Give yourself a reality check. Phoniness is transparent, and it is tiresome. Take pleasure in the beauty and the wonders of nature. A flower is God’s miracle.
  30. Walk tall, and smile more. You’ll look 10 years younger.
  31. Don’t be afraid to say, "I love you." Say it again. They are the sweetest words in the world.
  32. If you have love in your life, consider yourself blessed, and vow to make this the best year ever.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013


Provided by HAR
Despite another month of positive sales and pricing, there are signs of tapered demand
HOUSTON  (December 17, 2013) — Houston home sales recorded a 30th straight month in
positive territory in November, with buyers plunging inventory levels to an all-time low.
The supply of homes fell to 2.9 months of inventory compared to 4.1 months in November 2012.
Throughout 2013, inventory has dwindled from a 3.6-month supply in January to a 3.1-month supply
in October, as more homes were being snapped up than were listed for sale.
Nonetheless, there are signs that the buying frenzy may be tapering. According to the latest
monthly report prepared by the Houston Association of REALTORS®, home sales climbed 3.3
percent year-over-year – the smallest one-month sales increase since June 2011. November
single-family home sales totaled 5,108. That is the lowest one-month sales volume since
February of this year.
An ever-shrinking supply of homes put more upward pressure on pricing, as it has each
month throughout the year. The median price of a single-family home—the figure at which
half the homes sold for more and half for less—rose 8.7 percent to $181,000. The average
price increased 8.4 percent year-over-year to $245,707. Both figures represent the highest
prices for a November in Houston.
For the past several months, all but the under-$80,000 segment of the single-family market
have experienced sales growth. November, however, saw declining sales in both the sub-$80,000
market and the $80,000-$150,000 market, and a slowing rate of closings in the $150,000-$500,000
range. The luxury market performed at rates consistent with earlier months of the year.

Foreclosure property sales reported in the HAR Multiple Listing Service (MLS) fell 49.0 
percent compared to November 2012. Foreclosures currently make up 7.7 percent of all 
property sales, down from 19.6 percent at the start of the year. The median price of foreclosures 
rose 8.6 percent to $88,000.
November sales of all property types in totaled 6,180, a 5.6 percent increase over the
same month last year. Total dollar volume for properties sold rose 13.1 percent to $1.5 billion
versus $1.3 billion a year earlier.
November Monthly Market Comparison
Houston’s real estate market saw gains in all measurements in November when comparing
sales to November 2012. Total property sales, total dollar volume and average and median pricing
all rose on a year-over-year basis.
Month-end pending sales totaled 3,273, a 0.2 percent gain over last year and another possible
indication of slower sales when the December numbers are tallied. Active listings, or the number of
available properties, at the end of November dropped 17.0 percent to 30,341.
Houston’s inventory of available homes declined from 3.1 months in October to 2.9 months
in November, down from 4.1 months of inventory one year ago. The inventory of single-family
homes across the U.S. currently stands at 5.0 months, according to the latest report from the
National Association of REALTORS®.
Total property sales5,8536,1805.6%
Total dollar volume$1,293,602,179$1,463,409,51913.1%
Total active listings36,53930,341-17.0%
Total pending sales3,2673,2730.2%
Single-family home sales4,9435,1083.3%
Single-family average sales price$226,699$245,7078.4%
Single-family median sales price$166,500$181,0008.7%
Months inventory*4.12.9-29.7%
* 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
November sales of single-family homes in Houston totaled 5,108, up 3.3 percent from November 2012. That marks the 30th consecutive monthly increase. It also represents the smallest one-month sales increase since June 2011 and the lowest one-month sales volume since February 2013.

Home prices reached the highest levels ever recorded in Houston for a November. The single-family median price rose 8.7 percent from last year to $181,000 and the average price climbed 8.4 percent year-over-year to $245,707.
Single Family
Broken out by housing segment, November sales performed as follows:

  • $1 - $79,999: decreased 31.7 percent
  • $80,000 - $149,999: decreased 5.5 percent
  • $150,000 - $249,999: increased 10.7 percent
  • $250,000 - $499,999: increased 17.5 percent
  • $500,000 - $1 million and above: increased 22.6 percent

  • Single Family Average Home Price

    HAR also breaks out the sales performance of existing single-family homes throughout the Houston market. In November 2013, existing home sales totaled 4,287, a 5.6 percent increase from the same month last year. The average sales price rose 6.1 percent year-over-year to $226,267 while the median sales price rose 10.5 percent to $169,000.
    Townhouse/Condominium Update
    November sales of townhouses and condominiums rose 14.8 percent from one year earlier. A total of 503 units sold last month compared to 438 properties in November 2012. The average price rose 8.3 percent to $203,648 while the median price was up 6.2 percent to $143,350. Inventory dipped to a 2.8 months supply versus a 4.7 months supply in November 2012.
    Townhouse/Condominium Sales

    Lease Property Update
    Houston’s lease property market showed mixed results in November. Rentals of single-family homes rose 7.7 percent compared to November 2012 while year-over-year townhouse/condominium rentals were flat. Average rents are down from their summertime record highs, although they are up year-over-year. The average rent for a single-family home rose 4.8 percent to $1,591 while the average rent for a townhouse/condominium increased 5.1 percent to $1,466
    Houston Real Estate Milestones in November
    • Single-family home sales increased 3.3 percent year-over-year, accounting for the market’s 30th straight monthly increase;
    • Total property sales rose 5.6 percent compared to one year earlier;
    • Total dollar volume climbed 13.1 percent, increasing from $1.3 billion to $1.5 billion on a year-over-year basis;
    • At $181,000, the single-family home median price reached the highest level for a November in Houston;
    • At $245,707, the single-family home average price also reached a November high;
    • 2.9 months inventory of single-family homes is down from 3.1 months in October 2013 and from 4.1 months in November 2012 while comparing to the national average of 5.0 months;
    • Sales of townhouses/condominiums rose 14.8 percent year-over-year;
    • Rentals of single-family homes rose 7.7 percent while rentals of townhouse/condominium units were unchanged.
    The computerized Multiple Listing Service of the Houston Association of REALTORS® includes residential properties and new homes listed by REALTORS® throughout Harris, Fort Bend and Montgomery counties, as well as parts of Brazoria, Galveston, Waller and Wharton counties. Residential home sales statistics as well as listing information for more than 50,000 properties may be found on the Internet at

    The information published and disseminated to the HAR Multiple Listing Services is communicated verbatim, without change by Multiple Listing Services, as filed by MLS participants.

    The MLS does not verify the information provided and disclaims any responsibility for its accuracy. All data is preliminary and subject to change. Monthly sales figures reported since November 1998 includes a statistical estimation to account for late entries. Twelve-month totals may vary from actual end-of-year figures. (Single-family detached homes were broken out separately in monthly figures beginning February 1988.) Founded in 1918, the Houston Association of REALTORS®

    (HAR) is a member organization of real estate professionals engaged in every aspect of the industry, including residential and commercial sales and leasing, appraisal, property management and counseling. It is the largest individual dues-paying membership trade association in Houston as well as the second largest local association/board of REALTORS® in the United States.

    | Houston | Home Sales | Sold | For Sale | Homes | RE/MAX | Heidi Bridwell | 832-876-0335 |

    Saturday, December 14, 2013

    5 Tips to Sell Your Home Fast

    1. DE CLUTTER & NEUTRALIZEIt is imperative to remove all clutter from the home before showing it to potential buyers because buyers need to be able to picture themselves in the space. This might include removing some furniture to make rooms look bigger, and putting away family photographs and personal items. You may even want to hire a stager to help you make better use of the space. Staging costs can range from a couple hundred dollars for a basic consultation to several thousand dollars, particularly if you rent modern, neutral furniture for showing your home.  
    2. STEP UP CURB APPEAL Many sellers often overlook the importance of their home's curb appeal. The first thing a buyer sees is a home. Try to make certain that the exterior has a fresh coat of paint, and that the bushes and lawn are well manicured.  It can also be as easy as adding a fresh layer of BLACK MULCH and a few Large potted plants near front door.  Black Mulch seems to be the most neutral color and really makes the landscape POP.                   
    3. Make your home MOVE IN CONDITION-A home that shows well sells fast.  I recommend fresh paint and new carpet.  Typically homes that are in move in condition sell 30% faster then other homes on the market and closer to asking price.  Many times these are the properties that also bring in multiple offers; thereby, the seller possibly sells for more then asking price.  Make sure all known deficiencies are repaired prior to placing the home on the market as well. 
    4. PRICE YOUR PROPERTY ACCORDING to the MARKET- First you will need a Comparable Market Analysis provided by your Real Estate Expert. Focus on recent SOLD COMPS for pricing and not homes that are Active on the Market.  Active properties are merely your current competition. Do not OVERPRICE simply because you HAVE TIME.   This is a common mistake of sellers.  Your most optimum time to get the most for your home is in the first 30 days on the market.  Use the time to your advantage. If your home is on the market and is not being shown or if you receive feedback that you are priced too high, don't hesitate to adjust your price. Bad news, like spoiled milk, doesn't get better with time.   
    5. MAKE SURE YOUR HOME IS CLEAN AS A WHISTLE- From shining floors and gleaming windows to clean counters and scrubbed grout, every surface should sparkle. This is the easiest (well, maybe not easiest, but certainly the cheapest) way to help your home outshine the rest. You may want to hire pros to do some of the really tough stuff, especially if you have a large house. Don't skimp -- this step is key!

    Tuesday, December 10, 2013

    5 Proven Strategies to Becoming a Top Producing REALTOR and Crush The Competition

    1. Align yourself with a top leading BRAND in the Real Estate industry.  Statistics prove that the chance of success with being with a top recognized firm is far greater then a small unrecognized company.  I can personally testify that when I left ....let's call them , Company C and joined RE/MAX in 2003 my business nearly doubled and has not stopped since then.  I am not giving all of the credit to the Brand; however; I do feel the client confidence in my services went up by being with a nationally recognized company.  Seek out the top producing companies in your market and align yourself with them.
    2.  Not for Part-timers-Selling Real Estate is a full time job.  It is not a hobby and cannot be done part time.  Even after 17 years in the industry the phone does not stop ringing at 5 PM or throughout the weekend.  Clients will have questions and concerns at odd times and it is your job to get back with them as soon as possible.  There are also critical time deadlines throughout a Real Estate transaction.  Missing one of these deadlines could prove to be very costly for your client whereby you end up liable. Real Estate is a profession....NOT a hobby.
    1. Shadow a Top Producer-Find a Top Producing Agent that will allow you to watch them in action.  This may prove to be better then any class you will ever take.  What better knowledge can you gain but by watching a successful agent interact with a client.  Now I am not saying to mirror their business exactly .  But I am saying learning from the best will have huge rewards for you.  
    2. Top Producers are in constant MOTION- You will  find that a Top Producing Agent is in constant motion.  Successful businesses are not lucky.  They have worked hard to become #1. Following a Top Producer in action will most likely prove that there is very little down time.  Whether on a listing appointment or showing buyers, they most likely are constantly marketing for their next lead.
    3. Become a Lead Generating Machine-Every person you come in contact with knows someone.  And those someones will most likely buy or sell a home someday.  I find many agents get wrapped up in the Right Now.  They focus on who is buying and selling right now only.  They do not think of long term.  But Real Estate is just that.  A long term business relationship.  Of course focusing on the HOT LEADS right now is obviously most important....but it is also important to to keep in contact with every lead.  The most efficient way to do this is to have a database whereby you add each lead or person you come in contact with.  There are some great programs out there.  I would recommend also setting each of these contacts up on a program to stay in contact with them. BY all means I am not saying to SPAM them with hundreds of emails; however, sending a monthly newsletter or a quick " Hello, how are you email" will keep you in contact and possibly trigger their mind when their Mom or friend is needing a REALTOR.                       

    Now Go Sell Something 

    | Real Estate | REALTOR | Top Producer | Houston | Cypress | TX | Tomball | Spring | RE/MAX 832-876-0335