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.

National Housing News

Southeast Texas Home Sales: Where Do We Go From Here?

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No news is good news.  Well, here's some news that's not so good.  As a Real Estate Professional sometimes it's hard to know what to tell a seller who's home seems to be priced great but it still won't sell.  Right now the market doesn't want to "recover" but for all you would be home buyers out there, your going to kick yourself when prices go up and the chance of a lifetime has passed you by.

Want to talk about why this is the best time to buy a home in Southeast Texas?  Contact me.

 

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Beaumont, Port Arthur and Lumberton Fair Better Than Most in Foreclosure Filings

I'm sure you've heard all the news talk about the problems "foreclosures" are causing in towns across the country.  People call the office daily requesting information on foreclosures.  Interesting thing in Southeast Texas, there really aren't that many homes in foreclosure.  Certainly not like parts of the United States.  Take a look at this chart. 

2010 foreclosures 

Now, don't be confused.  The longer the line the better shape a town is in.  Take the Lumberton, Texas housing market for example- one out of 6,333 homes had a foreclosure notice filed in 2010.  Orange County, Texas was not far behind with only one out of 4,338 homes receiving a foreclosure notice in 20io.  Beaumont, Texas had one out of every 940 homes receive a foreclosure notice but receiving a notice is different than having an actual foreclosure occur. 

Each month in Jefferson County somewhere around a hundred foreclosures notices are filed by lien holders but each month at the foreclosure auction less than 20% of those homes end up being sold at a foreclosure sale. 

Its not to say you can't find some good deals on foreclosed homes in Southeast Texas, but there aren't as many as one might think.  Its important to know what to look for in a foreclosure and how to negotiate with the lien holders.

A professional REALTOR can save you from making a big mistake.  Many of these homes are in need of repair.  If you are interested in finding out more about homes for sale in Beaumont, Lumberton or any part of Southeast Texas contact me.  My experience can save you money and help you find the best home for your family at the best price.

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Southeast Texas Home Builders Optimistic?

Interior constructionNo official poll has been taken of the local Southeast Texas home builders, to the best of my knowledge, but according to this Wall Street Journal report the National Association of Home Builders, home builder confidence is the highest its been in three years. 

Daily Real Estate News  |  May 18, 2010  |   Share

Builder Confidence Hits Highest Level Since 2007
Home builder confidence reached 22 in May, the highest point since August 2007, on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index.

This was the second consecutive month confidence was up, gaining 3 percentage points. Scores lower than 50 are still considered pessimistic.

Analysts said they were surprised by the increase because the home buyer tax credits expired at the end of April.

Weiss Research analyst Mike Larson said the tax credit provided some optimism, but the real driver behind the increase is a sense that the market is actually improving. “Even with the credit in the rear-view mirror, real, underlying demand remains for housing," Larson said.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, Shara Tibken (05/17/2010)
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Has the Southeast Texas Residential Housing Market Hit Bottom?

Dog&bootHere's an interesting little snippet from the CEO of Freddie Mac. 

Daily Real Estate News  |  January 27, 2010  |   Share

Freddie Mac CEO: Housing Is Near Bottom
The inventory of foreclosed houses still hampers the recovery of the housing sector, but overall, the U.S. housing market appears to be at or near bottom, Freddie Mac CEO Charles Haldeman told the Detroit Economic Club on Tuesday.

He predicted that the 30-year fixed mortgage rate would remain between 5 percent and 6 percent through 2010.

"The big downside risk to all this is a large wave of homes now in foreclosure potentially hitting the market at prices that are destructive," Haldeman said.

Source: Reuters News, Soyoung Kim (01/26/2010)

In Southeast Texas our foreclosure rates have remained relatively stable and don't comprise a big part of the residential housing market.  If foreclosures are the thing hampering the recovery across the nation, Southeast Texas should recover faster than the markets with higher foreclosure rates.  In a few more days we'll see how many homes sold in Jan. 2010.  What's your bet?  Have we hit bottom?  Let me know what you think. 

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Southeast Texas Housing Outlook for 2010

Magnfying glassThursday, Dr. James P. Gaines, was in Beaumont talking about the residential housing market and what's in store for 2010.  If you have never heard of him, then a brief introduction is in order.  Dr. Gaines is a Research Economist with the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M. 

"If you are a buyer or seller of real estate in Texas when Dr. Gaines talks you should listen."

The Beaumont Board of Realtors was fortunate enough to have him present his "Economic and Housing Outlook" for 2010 at the first quarter luncheon.  Now, if you already know if homes values are going up or down this year then there is no need to read any further. 

To give credit where it is deserved the following charts and graphs are from a power point presentation Dr. Gaines presented on Jan. 14, 2010.

First and foremost take a look at home sales in Texas:

Texas Home Sale_Dr G
The numbers are small but the trend is clear.  Home sales rose from 1990 to 2006.  Since the peak in 2006 they have fallen back to the levels seen in 2001-2003.

Second, here's the same trend shown in Southeast Texas:

Beaumont Home Sales_Dr G 
Southeast Texas home sales peaked in 2007.  They have fallen back to about the 2002-2003 levels. 

Third, this chart shows what was going on with median prices and inventory in 2008 and 2009.

Texas SFR Market_Dr G
There was a decline in sales.  Roughly, 9.5%.  There was a decline in the average and median price across the state.  The months supply of inventory remained the same.

Last but not least, take a look at the single family homes sales data for Southeast Texas.

Beaumont SFR Market_Dr G 
Year to date sales fell about 5% for the year in Beaumont.  The average price went down a smidgen.  Our median price actually went up.  One red flag that you don't want to overlook is the months supply of inventory increased to 9 months.  Hint: A six month supply is considered balanced and healthy by the Real Estate economists.  A nine month supply would indicate a buyers market and in a buyers market the pressure on home prices is downward.   

One statement Dr. Gaines made that stuck in my mind went something very close to this; "There has never been a better time to buy residential real estate and there will probably never be this same unique opportunity to buy real estate again in our lifetime." 

What really happens in 2010 remains to be seen but the outlook seems to say if you plan to buy a home do it soon or you may have missed a golden opportunity in the residential housing market. 



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Southeast Texas Homeowners Check This Out

Houselogic

The National Association of Realtors has just launched HouseLogic.  You can check it out during the Beta Test.  The big advertising push to consumers will be in February. 

The new website will help homeowners with home improvements, home maintainence projects, and provide consumers with information about taxes, incentives and home financing. 

Check it out!  Tell your friends you saw it first on setexasrealestatetalk.com. 

Let me know what you think.


 

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The Worker, Homeownership, and Business Assistance Act Offers Help to Southeast Texas Home Buyers

Ark cartoonYou haven't missed the ship yet!

It is no secret the economy has seen better times.  It is no secret that the U.S. Government has been trying to help keep it afloat. 

For homeowners who want to move up and want-to-be homeowners trying to buy a first home consider this your life raft. 

Say "Hello" to the, The Worker, Homeownership and Business Assistance Act of 2009.  The law went into effect on November 6, 2009 and in a nut shell it extends the first-time homebuyer credit for five months and allows an eligible move-up buyer to sell their home, buy a new one and receive up to a $6,500 credit. 

Details can be found at The IRS.gov website.  Just want the cliff notes, then here you go:

  • Purchase deadline extended to April 30, 2010
  • Maximum credit for a first-time home buyer is $8,000
  • "Long-time resident" buyers can receive up to $6,500.  To qualify a buyer must have owned and used the same home as a primary residence for at least five consecutive years of the eight-year period ending on the date of the purchase of a new home as a primary residence. 
  • You have the option of claiming the credit on your 2009 or 2010 tax returns.

Its a great opportunity to move-in or move-up to a new home.  Once the economy is running smoothly again you can bet the homebuyer tax credits will be gone for good.  Don't get left behind. Jump on board this ship before it has sailed.

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Southeast Texas Home Buyer Tax Credit Extension In Works

Taxes

The first time home buyer tax credit which has been responsible for as many as 50% of the home sales that have occurred this year is set to expire on November 30th.  Right now the Senate is working on an extension.  There are a few changes in the proposed legislation. 

Fresh from the Daily Real Estate New headlines, here's the latest:

Daily Real Estate News  |  October 28, 2009  |   Share

Senate Dems on Board with Credit Extension
Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) says Senate Democrats have agreed to extend the first-time home buyer tax credit. The latest version extends the program to home sales signed — not closed — by April 30. Purchasers would have another 60 days to close the sale. The credit will also be expanded to include so-called step-up buyers who have lived in their current home for at least five years.

The credit would be cut nearly 10 percent to a $7,290 cap. Income eligibility for first-time home buyers would stay the same, but it would rise for step-up buyers to $125,000 for individuals and $250,000 for couples.

Source: Bloomberg News, Dawn Kopecki and Ryan Donmoyer (10/27/2009)

The exciting part of the extension is the step-up provision.  We may start to see some better activity in the mid and upper price ranges once the ink is dry on the new legislation.

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Economists Predict Housing Recovery in 2010

Cows in storm

Rainy days and Mondays get a lot of us feeling down, so here's a story that may lift your spirits. 

From the Associated Press, Happy Tuesday.

Daily Real Estate News  |  October 13, 2009  |   Share

Economists Predict Housing Recovery
Economic forecasters predict that 2010 will be the first year since 2005 for housing to contribute to the growth of the U.S. economy, according to a survey released by the National Association for Business Economics.

Home prices are expected to rise 2 percent next year, but forecasters don’t believe the increase in prices will discourage homebuyers.

More than 80 percent of economists surveyed by the NABE think the recession is over and recovery has begun, but they expect the expansion to be slow because unemployment persists.

Source: Associated Press, Mae Anderson (10/12/2009)
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Beaumont Number Two in Nation For New Building Permits

Business Week Story

Need some good news on a rainy Monday afternoon?  Well, this story should do the trick.  Business Week just released a list of the top twenty markets across the nation where building permits are on the rise.  

Don't have time to read the whole story?  Here's the "cliff notes".

 10 Markets Where Building Is Booming
The building business—both commercial and residential—is a seeing a recovery in some markets, especially those where military, government, and energy jobs are driving demand.

Lake Charles, La., which leads the nation, is an anomaly—it’s recovering from hurricanes—but the other markets are largely driving by economic growth. For instance, building permits for apartments in Huntsville, Ala., near the expanding U.S. Space & Rocket Center, have jumped 400 percent so far in 2009.

Many of the contracts are going to smaller local builders, but some of the giants are getting back in the game as well. KB Home resumed construction in the Mid-Atlantic, including Washington D.C., after pulling back earlier this year.

The top 10 growth markets, based on building permits, are:
Lake Charles, La., 122.5 percent
Beaumont-Port Arthur, Texas, 65.8 percent
Salt Lake City, 36.6 percent
Huntsville, Ala., 30 percent
Jacksonville, N.C., 28.6 percent
Augusta-Richmond County, Ga.-S.C., 21.6 percent
Fayetteville, N.C., 12.2 percent
Las Cruces, N.M., 11.6 percent
Auburn-Opelika, Ala., 11.3 percent
Little Rock-North Little Rock, Ark., 7.7 percent

Source: BusinessWeek, Prashant Gopal (09/18/2009)

There now, doesn't that make this rainy Monday a little better.

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