An inside look at the residential real estate market in Southeast Texas including: the hottest neighborhoods, proven home selling strategies, home buying and negotiating tactics, median prices by neighborhood, average days homes are on the market, and professional advice on how to get the best deal when buying or selling a home.

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March 2009
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May 2009

April 2009

National Housing Market Signs of Bottom on Horizon

Home prices are still falling across the nation but not as fast.  Here's a video from MSNBC.  There are signs that the national housing market may be starting to find the bottom.  Its been a long 3 plus years since the problems first began.  Let's hope the experts are right and the bottom is here. 

Southeast Texas by and large was immune from the housing market debacle.  It comes as a surprise to our out of state buyers that the sellers here in Southeast Texas aren't just accepting any offer that comes along.  It requires a little re-education for most out of state buyers.  They've heard nothing but how bad the housing market is across the country.  Maybe where they moved from, but not the case here.  After all Beaumont was named the hottest housing market in the nation.

Here's what the experts have to say:

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Welcome to the Family

Every now and then my husband and I take a break from our careers to enjoy our horses.  This last week we had our first foal born on our ranch in Pine Forest, Texas.  Its in North Vidor if you know Southeast Texas.  Here's a video (about 12 minutes long) of Ambrielle's first attempts to stand and then within 24 hours her learning to gallop in the pasture along side her mother.  Wow.  What an experience.  For you horse people out there, Ambrielle is a Swedish Warmblood by Amorex.  Her mom is our mare Centrifical or "Callie" around the barn. 

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Beaumont's Historic Homes For Sale Offer Home Buyers Charm and Character

Historic home There's so much charm in the old historic homes that are nestled in the Oaks Historic District.  Its hard to compare the character of these beautiful homes to new construction in Southeast Texas.  

Back in 1993, Beaumont's Oaks Historic District was established to preserve the historic character of Beaumont's only historic district. For home buyers thinking of buying in the historic district there are ordinances you will have to follow.  Exterior paint color changes, exterior modifications, fencing, windows, and any signage changes require a Certificate of Appropriateness from the City's Planning and Zoning Commission.  Think of it like a home owners association in a newer neighborhood.  For home buyers who like big trees, large yards, and wonderful traditional architecture the historic district might be for you.  Many of the homes have been through renovations and include lots of updates like you would find in the new construction homes.  Think of it as the best of today and yesterday.  Another benefit of an older home you get more living space for your money. 

With all the benefits and appeal of historic homes, there are trade offs.  The biggest concern most home buyers express when considering a historic home purchase is the maintenance and upkeep.  In the Southeast Texas housing market for the past twelve months it seems like more home buyers have been favoring new construction with less up keep and smaller living spaces to the big beauties in the historic district. 

Take a look at the active, pending, and solds.  This is a snapshot of the market since last April.  Data is for a specific price range of homes priced between $200,000-$400,000 only.  *Data is gathered from the Beaumont MLS.

Historic District Sales Chart  

Just looking at the past twelve months is a little worrisome if you are a prospective home buyer.  The nine listings and only two sales in this specific price range would give the neighborhood a four and a half year supply of homes on the market. 

Looking more closely at the two sales they both spent over 130 days on the market.  A little higher than the norm in the market.  Both these homes sold for a similar price per square foot.  One on Evalon sold for $88.46/ square foot.  The other on Ashley sold for $80.37/ square foot. 

The current actives range from $65.79/ square foot to over $120/ square foot.  The current average days on the market is about 140. 

If you want the charm and character that you find in a historic home then the Oaks Historic District is a great place to look.  There's a couple real beautiful homes for sale right now.  With the past twelve months sales being a little slow, and supply of inventory a little on the high side you might even be able to negotiate a great deal on one of these historic beauties. 

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Silsbee Texas Home Sales in 2009

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Located in the center of Hardin County, just fifteen miles north of Beaumont you'll find Silsbee, Texas.  Its a quaint, small town often thought of as the car sales capital of Southeast Texas because of the number of car dealerships.  Its also a town where your dollar will still buy you a good home for your money.   

So far this year twenty homes have changed owners as recorded in the Beaumont MLS.  The lowest price sale went for an unbelievable $15,000.  It was on the market on 3rd Street for about 4 months. 

Here's a few other interesting market statistics from the home sales in Silsbee this year:

  • Best deal contender! Someone bought a foreclosure on Harrison for 40% of the asking price.  It was on the market for $62,000 and sold for $25,000.  Even if it needed a lot of work that was probably a pretty good buy.
  • Best seller deal!  Five homeowners were able to get 100% of their asking price.

  • The homes that sold for 100% of their asking price averaged less than two months on the market.

  • $500,000 was the highest sale.

  • 80 days was the average number of days all of the sold homes stayed on the market.  That's a little less than Beaumont's average days on the market which is closer to 110. 

  • 94% of asking price is the average sold price that sellers received.  That's even figuring in the one that sold for 40% of its list price. 

  • 246 days was the longest time any of these homes spent on the market.

  • $2,463,000 plus is the dollar volume of residential home sales in Silsbee so far this year.

Calling all home sellers...

If you have a nice little home in Silsbee that's in good condition and your price is under $100,000 call me. I have buyers looking and ready to buy!  I just sold the one on W. Ave P to some clients of mine and have other clients looking to buy a home in Silsbee.  

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Shangri La Honored As Top Green Projects

Shangri laShangri La Botanical Gardens & Nature Center in Orange, Texas  was recently named one of the top ten green projects in the world.  

Read the Full Story that was published in the San Antonio Express-News.  Shangri La was the first project in Texas to achieve this award.  

For those of you not from Southeast Texas, Shangri La was hit with the destructive force of Hurricane Ike last fall and had to close for repairs.  It recently reopened for visitors.  If you haven't made it out to see the beauty of Shangri La, it is something you should do next time you are in Southeast Texas.

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Southeast Texas Home Sales 2009 Starting Off Like 2008

Its a new year.  Its the end of the quarter.  Its time to compare.  Here's a quick comparison between the first quarter of 2009 and the first quarter of 2008. 

Q1 comparison 08v09 

 Five Sales Trends Worth Noting:

  • We've had almost the same number of sales.  Statistically, speaking there were about 2% fewer sales the first quarter of 2009.
  • Prices are up.  The median price in the first quarter of 2009 is about $7,000 higher than the first quarter of 2008.

  • The trend with sales increasing throughout the first quarter holds true in both years.

  • Sales in Southeast Texas tend to peak in the late spring and early summer months.

  • In 2009 there were more sales in January and March than there were in 2008- Only February had fewer sales. 

Overall, the home sales in Southeast Texas seem to be holding a similar patten to the same time last year.  It will be interesting to see if home sales increase in the spring and if the first-time home buyer tax credit has an impact on our real estate market.  If April continues on the same trend as last year we will have about 210 homes change owners this month.  If you are in the market to buy or sell a home in Southeast Texas, call me for the market statistics in your neighborhood.

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Southeast Texas Home Sales In March, Preliminary Numbers Show Little Change

Goodbye March, hello April.  It looks like one hundred and sixty eight single family residences changed owners in the month of March.  Four condo/town-homes changed owners as did four mobile homes, and one patio home.  At present the total home sales for Southeast Texas, for the month of March is 177.  *Data is from the Beaumont MLS.  These preliminary numbers are showing little change from the same period last year when we recorded 178 home sales.

The home sales activity is still weighed more heavily on the entry level price point.  More than 1/3 of the sales in March were in the $125,000 and under price range.  For a breakdown of price ranges, here's a crafty little pie chart.

March Sales by Price Range

As you can see sellers with homes priced above $300,000 aren't finding a lot of buyers at the moment.  There were eight sales above $300,000 during March.  Above $400,000 there were only three sales.  Average days on the market is always worth noting.  Southeast Texas homes are still averaging about 108 days on the market.  Three and a half months from list date to sale.  That's the average.  If you are planning to sell your home you will want to factor that in to your schedule. 

Also worth noting is how home buyers are getting their financing these days. 

March Sales by Loan Type Conventional financing was still the most common type of financing used by the home buyers in March.  FHA was a close second.  FHA has increased dramatically since the conventional lenders have done away with 100% financing.  With an FHA loan, home buyers can still buy with 3.5% down.  The seller can help with closing costs.  Conventional loans require a minimum of 5% down.  It still remains a whole lot harder to get a loan today than it was last year.  Most lenders are asking for forty-five to sixty days to fund a loan.  Home buyers you will want to consider that in your plans.  If you want to move in in June, you need to have found the home and be under contract in April. 

The top six Southeast Texas areas with the most single family home sales in March were:

  1. Beaumont west = 59
  2. Lumberton = 28
  3. Vidor = 18
  4. Orange County = 13
  5. Beaumont North = 11
  6. Silsbee = 10

The biggest change in residential home sales comparing March 2008 to March 2009 is the increase in home buyers financing with the FHA.  The number of home buyers and the number of sales showed little change.

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