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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October 2008
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December 2008

November 2008

New FEMA Flood Maps Coming To Southeast Texas.

Bridge City Flooding

Have you heard that The Federal Emergency Management Agency  has released digitized flood insurance maps of certain parts of the country? 

The maps were first rolled out in 2003 for some areas.  By 2010, FEMA should have about 92 percent of the U.S. population and 65 percent of the land covered by the new maps.

Southeast Texas is not included yet! 

USA Today featured a story about the new high-tech digitized maps.  It looks like Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Wisconsin got the new maps before us.  Good bet the Southeast Texas maps are being redone right now with Hurricane Ike data included.  

What it might mean for Southeast Texas homeowners? Some of us will need flood insurance that never were required to have it before.  A few lucky homeowners may not be in a flood zone anymore relieving them of their obligation to buy the insurance which can be costly.  

If you go to the  FEMA Website Flood Info you will be able to look up your address and see what flood zone you are in.  Just one thing, Southeast Texas is in the preliminary map phase.  Our firm data isn't available yet.  Purple on the map below represents firm flood data.  Houston has it.  Galveston is partial at this time.  It is probably being "Ike" updated. 


Flood zones have an impact on home values.  There are a lot less home buyers willing to take the risk associated with a flood prone area unless they are getting the benefit of direct water access.  It is hard to say what impact the recent flooding in Orange and Bridge City will have on the housing markets in those two Southeast Texas towns.  One thing that is probably a certainty is any new home mortgages written in those areas will require home buyers to have flood insurance. 

We will know for certain once FEMA releases the new high-tech flood maps. 

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Southeast Texas Dogs and Cats Need Homes Too.

Finding homes for people is my profession.  Finding homes for homeless dogs and cats is my passion.  A wonderful organization that finds homes for animals in Southeast Texas is The Humane Society of Southeast Texas.  It serves all of the Golden Triangle.  It is the only Humane Society in all of Southeast Texas.  Over 5,000 animals a year come through the doors.  All of them hope to find a home.  A lot of them do find new loving homes.  However, some aren't as lucky.

Right now the shelter is hosting an adoption special.  To coincide with "Black Friday" all black dogs and puppies can be adopted for a reduced adoption fee.  The fee that is collected helps cover the cost of spaying and neutering the animal before he/she goes to a new home.   

If you have a home think about how good that feeling is.  If you can give a home to a homeless animal image how that would make you feel.  If you are a soft-heart you might have a hard time watching the video.  You will see a lot of lonely faces just wanting a home.  Animal lovers in Southeast Texas are appalled by the actions of Animal Control as reported by The Examiner.  The story is not for the soft-hearted either.  Now, if that story doesn't make you want to donate to help with animal over population then nothing will. 

So if I can't help you find a new home, then I'm sure the Humane Society would be able to help you find a really cute dog, cat, puppy, or kitten to go with the home you have.  If you don't have room in your home to adopt or furry friend, that's no problem.  I'd be glad to help you find a home with more room.

Southeast Texas dogs and cats need homes too.

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Ranchland Up 9% in 2008.

If you had to guess the hottest property type these days, what would you guess?  Condos.  Nope, not it. Waterfront homes.  No, try again.  Fancy subdivisions. Third Strike.  No more guesses for you.

The hottest property class right now is Farmland/Ranch-land.  Realtor Magazine published this brief recap of an article from  The Christian Science Monitor.   Apparently, farmland is hot property right now.  That made me start to wonderhow Southeast Texas ranch-land property values have fared the past year.  Here's what I looked at.  What did property's with more than 20 acres of land sell for last year?  What are they listed for this year?  Now there is a little flaw in all this because any given area (ie Fannett) might have only had one property sell last year or may only have one listing for sale this year. 

So think of this as a "gross estimate" of the percentage change in prices of homes with more than 20 acres of property.  Here's the raw data and a cool little chart.



Five things about these ranch-land sales that you might not know:

  1. Average days on the market 126.
  2. Tyler County had the most sales -5 of them.
  3. Vidor, Jasper County, Kountze, and Orange tied for second place with three sales each.
  4. The fastest sale was in Silsbee.  One property on Twin Bridge Road sold in two days.
  5. The most expensive sale was in Fannett.  It sold for over a million.  The home was a one bedroom, two bath. *Data from the Beaumont MLS.

Its good to know that there is a bright spot in the National real estate market.  Way to go farmers and ranchers.  Its about time something was in their favor.  Now, for the rest of us with other types of real estate the market is a little crazy.  Some areas of Southeast Texas are still gaining value.  Other areas have flattened out.  Luckily, not many parts of Southeast Texas are experiencing depreciation in home values.  You can say, "Thank you" for the strong job growth at the refineries. 

Curious to know what your homes value is in the market today?  Call me for a property evaluation.  You might find your property value is up 9% or more too.

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Buyers Are Asking, "What's Available North of I-10?".

They are also asking "Is it in a flood zone?".  Those two questions have been "oh so popular" since Hurricane Ike.  Southeast Texans don't want to move too far from home but I'm talking to a lot of people who are tried of being in a flood prone area.  If you are from Bridge City or Orange and you don't want to move too far from home, going North lands you right smack in Mauriceville. 

 What homes are for sale to the North of Bridge City you ask.  Let's look at a map!

Mauriceville map 

Mauriceville, Texas is a small town.  The last population estimate done in 2007 counted just under 3,000 residents.  Here's a little fact that may surprise you.  Median income is close to $70,000.  About $20,000 per year higher than the average Texan.   

You might say the right price home is available no matter what your budget. Homes range in price from $65,000-$359,900 at the present time.  *Data from Orange MLS. 

  • The most affordable home is a 3 bedroom, 2 bath, with 1344 square feet.  Its approximately 22 years old.  Asking price $65,000.
  • The most expensive home is a 5 bedroom, 3.5 bath home, with 3500+ square feet.  Its only 3 years old.  Asking price $359,900. 
  • You can find a 4 bedroom, 2.5 bath home on just over 5 acres for $89,900. 

With just eleven homes on the market in Mauriceville at the present time you don't have a lot of time to waste if you want to head to higher ground.  There's a lot more than eleven people out there that need a new home. Especially, one without water damage.  So if you are trying find a home for sale North of I-10, Mauriceville might be worth a look.

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Fore! Golf Course Living in Southeast Texas.

Brentwood Map

Moving to Southeast Texas?  Is golf your recreation activity of choice?  Beaumont County Club may be the perfect neighborhood for you.  

"Fore"things you may not know about home sales in Brentwood Club: *Data from May 2008-November 2008, Beaumont MLS.

  1. The neighborhood has averaged 3 sales per month for the past six months.
  2. The average price of homes sold $242,000.
  3. The average number of days these homes were on the market 122.
  4. 95% of listing price is the average sales price sellers accepted.

"Fore"things you may not know about homes available in Brentwood Club:

  1. There are 19 homes for sale.  Most expensive $399,900 ($130.81 per square foot).  Most affordable $149,000 ($48.25 per square foot).
  2. Average asking price $244,000 ($94 per square foot).
  3. Most homes are about 2,000 square feet in the neighborhood.  Largest 4900 square feet.  Quaintest 1935 square feet. 
  4. Golf front homes are available.

Interested in learning more about the golf course?  Here's the Golf Course Link .  Need more information about buying or selling a home in Brentwood Club.  Call me.    

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Hurricane Ike Boosts Home Sales In Vidor, TX.

For the past two months, Southeast Texas has been cleaning up from Hurricane Ike and Southeast Texans have been buying homes.  The Vidor housing market has had 23 homes close since Ike and another 21 are under contract.  That's 44 homes in the past 60 days.  At almost one sale per day, you could call it a hot market. 

Vidor "Heat Map"

Vidor Solds Since Ike 

Five Things Inquiring Minds Want to Know:

  1. The average price of a home sold is $106,395.
  2. The average days on the market during this time frame was 115.
  3. For the homes under contract the average price is $74,900.
  4. More than 50% of the buyers used FHA financing to purchase.
  5. The best deal... or at least the "cheapest sales price" $10,500.  It was a 4 bedroom, 2 bathroom, 2 story, 2200 square foot home, on a acre.  Sounds too good to be true doesn't it? Well, it is.  The home was a foreclosure and probably a knock down. Even so a one acre lot for $10,500 isn't a bad deal.

Map Key:

  • #19 was the lowest sale.  $10,500 on Evangeline.
  • #38 was the second highest sale. $229,100 on Creekwood.
  • #39 was the highest sale. #230,500 on Lakeside.
  • All other red numbered circles represent a home that was sold or is under contract since Hurricane Ike.
  • *Data from the Beaumont MLS.

Want to buy a home in Vidor, Texas?

  • There are currently 94 on the market. 
  • The average asking price is $123,830.
  • The average days on the market is 103.

From the looks of it the more affordable homes are being snapped up.  Most of the homes currently under contract are priced in the $60-$70 per square foot range.  Only three of the pendings are over $100,000.  So there you have it.  Homes have been selling in Vidor, Texas faster than the clean up crews have been able to clear out the Hurricane debris. 



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Where Homes Are Selling Faster Than A Gun Sale At Academy: Beaumont, Texas 77708

Homes are selling fast in Beaumont, Texas zip code 77708. "Okay, I'll concede they aren't selling quite as fast as the guns".  It is deer season in Texas after all.  And for those of you National Rifle Association members worried about the new President rumor has it you are stocking up before any new restrictions are put in place.  So maybe the headline is a little exaggerated, call it Freedom of Speech if you wish. 

This is my spin on the Trulia Heat Maps.  Here's what's been happening with home sales in Beaumont, Texas zip code 77708 since Hurricane Ike.

Beaumont 77708 map 

Five things to know about the housing market if you are planing to buy or sell a home in 77708. *Data complied from the Beaumont MLS.

  1. There are 38 active listings for sale with an average price of $118,695.
  2. Since Hurricane Ike, 15 homes have sold or gone under contract with an average price of $109,000.
  3. With the rate of sales since Hurricane Ike, there is less than a 3 month supply of homes available in zip code 77708.  (A six month supply is normal.  Less = Sellers Market)

  4. 95% of the asking price is the average price buyers paid for these homes.  Sellers only had to come down 5% on average.  (There is always the exception.  One seller came down 30%.)

  5. The homes that are currently under contract averaged 56 days on the market.  (The Beaumont area average is about 110 days on the market.)

Map Key:

  • Red numbered dot represents an active, pending, or sold property.
  • Circled red numbered dot represents a sale.  Not all sales are circled.
  • #32 on Concord sold for $110,000.
  • #39 on Firethorn sold for $133,000.
  • #34 on Mayhaw sold for $62,200.
  • #36 on Navajo Trail sold for $149,900.
  • #40 on San Anselmo sold for $129,000.
  • #41 on Falcon sold for $120,000.

Tell me what you think.  What else would you like to see on the map?  Is there a certain zip code or neighborhood you are thinking about buying in?  Let me know and I'll create a "heat map" just for you.

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Take A Look: Beaumont Home Price Heat Maps.

Beaumont trulia heat map 

Southeast Texas real estate market watchers, here's a new tool created by trulia.  They call this the Home Price Heat Map.  Pretty catchy title don't you think? According to their data, the most expensive zip codes in Beaumont are 77706 and 77713.  That seems correct.  You've got Beaumont West in 77706 and a lot of the new development off Major Drive in 77713.  The most affordable zip code to live in 77703.  Average listing price less than $96,000.  Zip Code 77703 is East of Hwy 69 and North of I-10 behind Target and Home Depot.

trulia also gives us some percentage increase and decrease figures for listing and sales prices but their information gets less dependable here.  For example they show a 371% increase in the average sales price for zip code 77657.  Don't you wish you would have bought a home there last year?  They also show a 488% increase in value in zip code 77703.  I wish I would have bought two homes in 77703 if that were really accurate. 

That's the trouble with a national company trying to give information about individual markets.  Their computer analysis programs make mistakes.  Even though its not all accurate, the maps and charts are still fun to look at.  These Heat Maps cover the whole U.S.  You can check out any city (as long as it is big enough to meet trulia's criteria). 

Another interesting map is one they call "Traffic Rank".  It looks like this map shows where most of the sales occurred in a given week.  Here's a sneak peak.

Beaumont trulia traffic map 

If you are interested in finding out more about buying or selling your home, trulia is a good resource.  Just be aware that the data they prvide is sometimes a little off.  If you really want to know the Beaumont, Texas neighborhood with the most sales last week, email me.   If you want to know the Southeast Texas neighborhood with the highest average listing prices I can let you in on that information too. 

If you need to know anything about Southeast real estate just keep reading the blog, eventually I'll write about it.  Need to know an answer right away? You can always get in touch with me for answers to specific Southeast Texas real estate questions.  No questions at the moment?  Then just enjoy these nifty trulia maps. 

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Beaumont - Port Arthur Median Home Prices Q2 2008

NAR Median Price Map 

The National Association of Realtors has come up with a user-friendly new tool to look at median home prices in the nation's largest metropolitan markets.  Want to test it out?  Latest Quarterly Median Home Prices  are now brought to you on a Google map.  You gotta love Google maps. 

My only complaint - Beaumont and Port Arthur should be separate.  What is happening in one area can be very different that what is happening to prices in the other area. 

Real estate is so local that you really have to look at neighborhoods to say if home prices are going up or down.  Beaumont - Port Arthur as a whole may have had a  2.2% decline in value but your neighborhood may have gone up.  Want to know what's happening in your neighborhood?  On your street?  

Did your home's value go up this year?  Post your comments on the blog.  Which neighborhood's saw the highest appreciation in value? (Stay tuned...more information later this week)  If you want to know your home's value, just email me your address and I'll let you know if your home's value is up or down since the first quarter of 2008.   

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Bridge City, Texas: Flooded and For Sale.

You might think that Bridge City real estate sales got washed out with the flood waters, but not so according to the latest MLS data.  Since Hurricane Ike's flood waters receded many homeowners have been faced with daunting clean up and restoration projects.  Some homeowners decided to throw in the towel and sell.  One common comment on many Bridge City listings is "as is". 

Where there are homeowners selling, there are investors buying.  The average cost per square foot of a water damaged home is about $50 per square foot.  It doesn't take a math genius to know you can't buy a brick home on a slab foundation for much under $85 per square foot these days. A new home is going to run you close to $100 per square foot in most areas of Southeast Texas.  So if you have the will, money and knowledge to restore and repair a water damaged home there could be a lucrative upside potential.

Right now six homes are under contract in Bridge City. *Statistics from Beaumont MLS.  To see where the brave buyers have snapped up homes see the map below.

Bc map 

Now look at the pending home details:

Bc pendings    

The two sales - Roundbunch and Winchester- both were listed at less than $50 per square foot.  Both had water damage and are being sold as is with no repairs. 

Five things that might surprise you about home sales in Bridge City:

  1. As of this post, there are no active listings under $150,000 in Bridge City.
  2. The Bargain Hunters are out snapping up the below $100,000 listings regardless of condition.
  3. The median price of all active listings in Bridge City is over $250,000.
  4. Of the 15 active listings only 3 are priced under $200,000.
  5. Of the 6 pending sales only 1 is priced above $110,000.

One last thing that might surprise you is that there are less than 20 homes for sale in Bridge City.  Not that many homeowners decided to sell.  Its a strong showing for the loyalty and pride of Bridge City residents. 

Yes, Bridge City may have flooded but according to the latest data not much is for sale. If you are looking for a bargain you aren't the only one.  Bridge City homes, even the ones that flooded, are selling.  

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