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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May 2008
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July 2008

June 2008

Texas Home Sales Slow Down: Beaumont not immune.

SnailCould it be the pain we are all feeling at the gas pump is having an affect on home sales?  After resisting the national housing market meltdown of the past two years, the sales numbers in Texas have shown a bit of a slow down in May. 

The Real Estate Center at Texas A&M tracks home sales according to MLS data for all of Texas.  They just reported May sales.  23,969 total homes were sold.  That number represents a 14.9% decline from May 2007.  On a positive note the median sales price was up during the same time period.  The state now has a 6.6 month supply of inventory. 

Did you read the post about a buyers market?  Eight months supply is when the market is considered balanced.  Over eight months supply is a buyers market.  Under eight months is a sellers market.  The inventory supply across the nation stands at 10.9 months. 

Where does Beaumont-Port Arthur stand?

  • Inventory has moved up to a 7.4 month supply across the entire metro area.
  • Home sales this May were down 21.9% from May 2007.
  • Median price is down slightly to $127,600. 

Curious about some other areas?

  • Galveston has a 17.3 month supply of inventory.  (Buyers market)
  • Lubbock and Amarillo have less than a 6 month supply of inventory. (Sellers market)
  • Austin, El Paso, Amarillo, Galveston, Houston, Lubbock, San Antonio, and Texarkana all had an increase in the median price of homes sold even though some of those cities had a fewer number of homes sell.
  • For the full report log on to the Real Estate Center's Residential MLS Activity data.

Keep in mind real estate is local.  So local that it differs between neighborhoods.  Last week an analysis of Barrington Heights showed it was a sellers market.  This week I'll look at some other neighborhoods in Southeast Texas.  Want to know about your own neighborhood?  Just let me know.

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Barrington Heights: Buyers Market or Sellers Market?

Buyers_market The terms "Buyers Market" and "Sellers Market" are commonly used real estate terms but do you know what they really mean? 

How do we figure out if it is a buyers market?  How do we figure out if its a sellers market?  It takes a little math but if you can add and divide you can figure it out.  Of course you need access to the data but that's where I can help out. 

Today, let's look at Barrington Heights.  Is it a buyers market or sellers market?


Right now the sellers are in control. 

Not by much though.  Eight months supply of inventory is considered a neutral market.  Neither buyer or seller has an advantage.  The closer to eight months supply you get in a neighborhood the more equal the negotiating power of both parties. 

Driving though Barrington Heights today?  You will see quite a few for sale signs.  There are currently 14 homes on the market.  Looking at the past six months sales figures shows you that 15 homes sold since January 1, 2008.  Four others are currently pending.  Here's where your math skills come in handy.  Divide the fifteen sales by six months.  That equals 2.5.  Next take the current number of homes for sale (14) and divide by 2.5.  That equals 5.6. 

Barrington Heights is a Sellers Market at this time.  But a word to sellers...don't get greedy.  That 5.6 months supply could turn into a buyers market if six more homes come on the market before the next sale.  Want to know if your neighborhood is a buyers market or sellers market?  Call me or comment on this blog with your neighborhood.  I'll run the numbers and let you know. 

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$8,000 Tax Credit for 1st Time Home Buyers?

Dollar_bill_shirtHot off the press from  The Senate and House of Representatives are moving forward on a comprehensive housing rescue plan. 

Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. the Senate minority leader and Harry Reid, D-Nev., the Senate majority leader have reached agreement on most important points.  The bill may pass as soon as next week. 

So what's in it for you?

  • First-time home buyers may receive a $8,000 tax break on the purchase of a home.
  • The loan cap guaranteed by Fannie and Freddie could be raised from its current limit of $417,000 to $625,000.
  • The Federal Housing Administration could be allowed to insure up to $300 billion in new loans for at risk borrowers.  Here's the catch. Lenders would have to be willing to write down loan balances below the appraised value of borrowers' homes.

Whether you believe in government intervention or not, it is hard to argue that the National housing market is in good shape.  Whether you believe this bill will help the housing recovery or not is up to you.  One thing I know is a lot of first-time home buyers would be very glad to see that $8,000 tax credit.  Now we just have to wait and see if it will pass.

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Interactive Aerial View of Southeast Texas: New from Microsoft Virtual Earth.


Want to see an aerial view of Beaumont? 

How about an aerial view of your street?  With the new interactive program by Microsoft Virtual Earth you can even see an aerial view of your house. 

The interactive technology is really cool.  You can search anywhere.  There are bird's eye views, aerial views, road views and just about any view you can think of. 

Thomas_road_birds_eye Check out this close up.  This is a Bird's Eye View of Thomas Road.  The views are so clear you could see swimmers in the swimming pool. 

Look up your home and let me know what you think!  Need help selling your home, let me show you how this technology will help give you a competitive edge.

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What Sold in May in Mid-County?

Tex_ritter_park_nederland_txFor those of us that call Southeast Texas home, we know that when someone refers to Mid-County they are talking about the cities of Groves, Nederland, Port Neches and Port Arthur.  When some refers to Beaumont they are talking about Beaumont and the more rural county areas outside the proper city limits.

However, sometimes our area is combined in a MSA "Market Survey Area" which combines both Beaumont and Port Arthur together.  Texas A&M Real Estate Center offers some of the best data about our area and all of Texas for that matter.  You can find housing sales, building permits, employment statistics and much more if you are really curious and have a lot of time to spare.  If you are like most of us- short of time these days- and you don't have time to research the housing statistics about Southeast Texas on your own.  Have no worries.  You can still know the inside scoop about what's going on in our area. Just read the blog. 

Here's the recap of Mid-County residential sales activity for May, 2008.

  • 80 sales closed
  • $126,000  (rounded to even thousand) was the average sales price
  • Over 10 million in dollar volume changed ownership
  • 82 days on the market is what the average home spent from listing to sale

As always you can request information about any neighborhood, city, town or even street in Southeast Texas and I'll research it for you.  Southeast Texas Real Estate Talk is for anyone who wants to know more about the housing market.  Now you know what sold in May in Mid-County. 

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Calder 1929 Historic District: Active, Pending, Sold

Tucked away between Phelan and Gladys is one of Beaumont's Historic Districts.  Calder 1929 is the place.  Consisting of just a few blocks, Calder 1929, is a charming group of homes.  Neighbors are renovating.  Values are going up and the historic architecture is a priority.  If you haven't driven up and down the streets of Calder 1929 now is the time.  You could walk but its really hot out this June.  I suggest your favorite cold drink from Sonic and a nice car ride.  Yes, gas prices are outrageous but its a short drive to see the whole neighborhood. 

To make it easy for you, here's a map.  Isn't Google great?

View Larger Map

There's plenty of activity in this area.  Since Jan. 1, 2008 there have been ten sales.  There are 13 homes for sale right now and one home is pending. 

What's sold so far this year?

  • 865 N 23rd sold for $156,000
  • 1090 20th sold for $141,300
  • 760 21st sold for $385,000
  • 3940 North sold for $247,000
  • 1095 22nd sold for $198,000
  • 1150 East sold for $157,000
  • 1035 20th sold for $154,000
  • 880 22nd sold for $180,000
  • 595 22nd sold for $185,000
  • 985 21st sold for $171,000

These sales averaged 93 days on the market.  The days on the market is skewed up because one home spend 329 (almost a year) on the market.  The quickest sale occurred in just seven days.  The average offer was 95% of the original asking price.

What's on the market today?

Of the thirteen homes for sale you'll find the lowest priced at $89,900 and the highest at $650,000.  Ten of the thirteen are priced between $164,900 and $249,000.  As you would expect in a historic area the homes are mainly thirty-one years or older.  Want to see more information?  Click Trulia for details on 777 21st Street.  This cutie is on the market for $189,000.

Want to see any of the others for sale in the Calder 1929 Historic District?  Call me and we'll go see them.  755 23rd is another home worth a good look.  Its got nice updates and a super backyard. 

If you are a history buff and want to read a little more about Beaumont's early days, here's some interesting reading about our town written by W. T. Block. 

Now you know more about what's happening in this unique little section of town.   

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Mauriceville, Texas: Homes For Sale, Pending and Sold.


It was a tough call deciding which photograph to use with this post about Mauriceville, Texas.  For those of you not familiar with, you should give it a look.  Its a cool photo sharing site where anyone can post photographs they have taken and share them with the world. 

Often, the photographs you see on the blog are photos people have


posted on Flickr that I select because of how the photo relates to the topic of the day's post.

Today's post is the market statistics for Mauriceville in 2008. 

Not many photos to choose from titled Mauriceville, Texas.  You Mauriceville residents need to post some more photos.  I know you are taking them.  Who doesn't use a digital camera these days?  But, I digress from the topic of the post. 

What's sold and what's pending so far in 2008?

*Statistics from the Beaumont MLS on single family homes designated in the Mauriceville area.

There have been four closings.  The most expensive sale was for $337,000.  It was on the market 266 days.  The asking price was $429,900.  It was new construction located on Hwy 12 with fifteen acres of land, 3500 square feet, 3 bedrooms, 2 full baths, and 2 half baths with a 3 car garage.  Some one got a good deal.  That's brand new construction on fifteen acres for less than $100 per square foot.  The other three closings were much smaller homes. 

  • 10265 N. Hwy 62 sold for $130,000.  4 bedrooms, 2 full baths, 21-30 years old, on 1.6 acres.
  • 1125 N. Linscomb sold for $98,500. 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, 6-10 years old, on 2 acres.
  • 2230 FM 2802 sold for $75,000.  2 bedrooms. 1 full bath, size of property not listed.

There are six homes either pending, contingent on a sale, or pending with an option period.  The most expensive was on Horseshoe Bend asking price $299,900.  The least expensive is $94,500.  Its a 3 bedroom, 2 bath with 1.26 acres.  It was only on the market seven days.

What's currently for sale?  Six properties.

They range in price from $94,900-$274,900.  None of these six have a lot of acreage.  6.35 acres is the largest at this time.  Want the details on the six homes currently for sale?  Email me your address and you'll have the information the same day.

Want to know more about Mauriceville?

City data provides demographic information about Mauriceville.  Here's Elementary School Information from the Little Cypress-Mauriceville School District.  Wikipedia has great facts and history about any town in the U.S.  One little known but incredible feature about Mauriceville is the Inspire 12 Scholarship Program.  If you have children and you want them to go to college- for free- read this!  Its the most frequently asked questions about the scholarship program available for children attending Little Cypress-Mauriceville ISD.

Since January 2008 homes have been averaging about 139 days on the market.  Three of the four closings have sold for more than 97% of the asking price.  Now you know what's happening with home sales in Mauriceville.   


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Look At These Five Websites Before You Buy Your Next Home In Southeast Texas.

Polar_bear_paw "Buyer Beware" is a phase that used to be commonly used in real estate transactions years ago.  Today, there are a lot more protections in place for home buyers and home sellers.  But it stills pays to be an informed purchaser. 

Take a look at these Five Websites.  You'll be amazed what you may or may not know about buying a home.

  1. Texas Real Estate Commission Consumer Information Site
  2. Texas Homeowners Insurance Site.  Find out about insurance.  Read up on Windstorm Certificates.
  3. Texas Education Agency Site.  Find out about the schools in the area where you plan to buy your next home.
  4. Texas Association of Real Estate Inspectors.  Find out why you should have a home inspection and what the useful information page has to say about wells, septic systems, radon gas, and other potential concerns.
  5. Demographic Data provided by Sperlings Best Places.

After spending a little time on these websites you can consider yourself an educated buyer.  There's only one more thing you'll need and that's a local real estate expert to help you find the home of your dreams and guide you through the process.  That's where I can help. Call me and you'll be ready to start home shopping.   

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What Sold In May? 209 Southeast Texas Homes Closed.

Sold_sign"How are home sales in our area?" 

That's a popular question these days.  Some buyers seem to believe the National press and think our housing market is a struggling like most of the country. 

But don't always believe everything you hear on the nightly news.  Housing markets are local.  What is going on in one market can be very different than another market. If you look at the data, you will see the Southeast Texas market remains strong.  The Texas comptroller was in town today speaking about the strength of the Texas economy.  As long as Texas keeps creating the most jobs in the country there is going to be a strong demand for housing. 

Look at our sales numbers for May 2008.  There were 209 homes that closed between May 1st and May 31st.  *Figures from the Beaumont MLS.  Add in the Mid-county MLS and the Orange MLS and the number of closings in May will be higher. 

Texas A&M Real Estate Center tracks sales numbers for our area.  They count Beaumont and Port Arthur as the same area for statistical tracking purposes.  Here's a surprising statistic.  More homes were sold in April 2008 (210 total sales) than were sold in April 2007 (204 total sales). 

Some other juicy housing statistics to think about: 

  • 122 closings in May used conventional financing
  • 47 used FHA
  • 32 paid cash

Analysis by area:

  • Beaumont west had the highest number of sales by area with 70.
  • Lumberton 27
  • Silsbee 11
  • Vidor 10
  • Fannett 9
  • North Beaumont area rezoned to Westbrook had a good number of sales to approximately 13.

Homes that closed in May averaged about 100 days on the market.  The median price was $127,000.  Total dollar volume of those 209 sales $92,890,039. 

"So how are sales in our Southeast Texas housing market?" 

According to the April sales figures, they are better than last year.

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National Home Prices Struggle, Southeast Texas Home Prices Remain Strong.

Every now and then its good to look at the National housing market. 

Just don't look at it too long. You will start to worry.  Once again, its time to be thankful you live in or are moving to Southeast Texas.  Not too many days ago, the National Association of Realtors released the latest information on the healthiest housing markets across the Country.  Texas held three of the top four spots in the Southern region of the U.S.  Beaumont ranked fourth.  Fourth!  Let's all repeat it together.  "Beaumont is currently the fourth best housing market in the Southern region of the U.S."

Okay, now you can watch the video.  Feel sorry for the folks in Las Vegas where home prices are down 25.9%.  Feel bad for the homeowners in Miami who's homes have lost 24.6% of their value since the peak.  Other places homeowners are feeling a loss:  Phoenix 23%, Los Angles 21.7%, Tampa 19.6%.  To keep it all in perspective these are the markets that saw double digit home appreciation over the past five years. 

Even David Blitzer points out in this video if you have owned your home for more than 10 years it has gone up in value no matter where you live.  Its nice to own a home in the fourth strongest housing market in the Southern region of the United States.  If you haven't bought yet what are you waiting for? 

Enjoy the video.  Just remember, the National market may be struggling, but Beaumont's housing market remains strong.

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