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.

Previous month:
December 2008
Next month:
February 2009

January 2009

Northbrook Estates Open For Homesite Sales


There's a new upscale, restricted community that has been carefully developed in North Orange County. Deed restrictions are in place to protect the property values.  Homes must meet the minimum square footage requirement which has been set at 2,500 square feet. Homes are expected to start in the $250,000's and go up from there. When complete the community will be one of the higher end, nicer developments in Orange County. An architectural control committee will review all proposed building plans. The development team behind the Northbrook Estates is BWS Properties, LLC.

One home currently under construction is shown above.  It will be approximately 5,000 square feet. It is located on one of the larger home-sites that touches Ten Mile Creek on the West.  All nineteen home-sites are at least 1 acre in size.  Northbrook Drive which is the only entrance to the community is a concrete street lined with street lights.  The developers spent the extra money to provide a lasting quality environment to compliment the quarter million dollar homes that will be built in Northbrook Estates.

Soon a brick entrance will be built.  Some finish grading along the shoulders will be completed.  If you are interested in finding out more about this upscale community, call me.  The price list is available and there is still time to choose your favorite one of the beautiful home-sites.

Search MLS for Homes
Email Diane

Beaumont & Mid-County End 2008 with Healthy Home Sales

The final numbers have been counted.  Both the Beaumont MLS and Mid-County MLS have released their December sales numbers.  What you see may shock you. 


For starters, look at the months supply of inventory.  Both Beaumont and Mid-county have approximately a six month supply of homes available.  If you listen to the experts, a six month supply of homes is a healthy balance.  Its not tipped in favor of the buyers- as it is when there is an excess supply and its not tipped in favor of the sellers- as it is when there is a shortage of supply.

Another statistic worth note:  In December 2006 the months supply of inventory in Mid-county was 3.7 months and in Beaumont it was 5.0 months.  During this time there was a shortage of inventory in our area. As a result in 2007 prices started to increase.  It was a classic sellers market where demand outpaced supply so sellers could demand more for their homes.  In December of 2007, the months supply of inventory was 6.0 months in Beaumont, and 6.2 in Mid-county.  Prices continued to increase through-out much of 2007. 

When 2008 began the months supply of inventory had started to increase. Throughout much of 2008 the months supply of inventory rose slightly from 7.0 months up to about 8.0 months supply.  With the increase in inventory there was a downward pressure on some home prices.  Certain neighborhoods in Southeast Texas began to have an over supply of homes.  While Southeast Texas as a whole didn't face a buyers market, some sellers had to come off there list prices more than they had the year earlier. 

You can do your own research for any time frame that peaks your interest. Check months supply of inventory for any Texas metropolitan area at the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M.  If you really want to know where prices are headed months supply of inventory can be the best predictor.

One other statistic worth note:  The average sales price in December was down from 2007.  That tells us the more activity was happening on the entry-level homes than the move-up homes. 

Here's a good take away from the December inventory numbers:  Both Mid-County and Beaumont's home inventory supply is in balance at the present time.  We have a healthy market.  As the government puts more incentives in place for home buyers to buy a home, we may see the inventory in our area start to drop below the six month level.  When it does prices tend to go up.  If you are thinking about buying a home, you may never find a better time.  With interest rates at all time lows, prices off their record peak, and the $7,500 tax credit on the table for someone who hasn't bought in the past three years, you might wonder what you are waiting for.  We have a healthy housing market.  Why not take advantage of it before the sellers are in control again.

Search MLS for Homes
Email Diane

New Residents at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue


With all eyes focused on Washington, DC for the 2009 Inaugural Events, it seemed only appropriate to honor the most famous home of them all.  The White House will soon be home to the 44th president of the United States, Barack Obama.

Ever wondered what it might cost to buy the White House?  Well, the people at Zillow did.  They came up with a "zestimate of value" of $300,111,000.  Wow!  That's expensive.  Check out the monthly payment that you would be responsible for ($1,400,378) if you really bought the place.  Ouch. 

Zillows a fun website.  There's a lot of good information there but be careful of the zestimates.  If you really want to know what your home in Southeast Texas is worth you need a local real estate expert, like me to provide you with a competitive market analysis. 

As for the new residents at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, I wonder if they got a sellers disclosure before they moved in.  I have to give my friend and colleague Hojin Chang and his Southwest Orlando Blog the credit for this post.  Its his post that gave me the idea.  Being appropriate for the week, I couldn't resist. Besides it will be at least another four years before I could blog about the White House again.  

Search MLS for Homes
Email Diane

What's in store for the Southeast Texas real estate market in 2009?

Mark Dotzour Photo Local REALTORS heard from the "real estate expert" today.  Dr. Mark Dotzour, the Chief Economist with the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M was in Beaumont to talk about the "Economic Outlook for Residential Real Estate in 2009".

Not only is he a very smart guy, but he's funny.  If you ever have a chance to attend one of his speeches, I recommend you go.  Since the talk today was for local REALTORS only, I'll share a few key points with you.

  1. Every one of the 25 metropolitan areas in Texas experienced job growth from Oct. 2007- October 2008.
  2. Texas led the nation in job growth.

  3. If Texas was a nation, we would rank ahead of Russia and India.  Just behind Spain and Brazil.

  4. If you are going to own a home for three years or more, there has never been a better time to buy than now.

  5. We may never see interest rates this low again in our lifetime.  (30 year fixed rates today are below 5%)

  6. Generally, the 30 year fixed rate is 1.5% higher than the 10 year Treasury.  Today the 10 year Treasury is about 2.25%.  That said, rates should be around 3.75% but they aren't because no one wants to invest in mortgage backed securities at the moment.

  7. Housing starts will probably be the lowest they've been since World War II.  This is a good thing because it will help reduce the excess inventory that is out there.

  8. Months supply of inventory is the best predictor of the future direction of home prices.

  9. Buying a home right now is smarter than buying gold as an investment. 

  10. The economy is likely to hit bottom before the end of the year and a rising stock market will signal the end.

Dr. Dotzour has a plan that he thinks would help the country get out the current housing crisis.  You can see the video in the video files on the Real Estate Center Website.   

Search MLS for Homes
Email Diane

Southeast Texas Animal Rescue Caught on Video

For those of you who don't know me, when I'm not helping people find homes I'm trying to help pets find homes.  The Humane Society of Southeast Texas serves the entire Southeast Texas area and parts of Louisiana.  Thousands of dogs and cats are brought to the shelter each year hoping to find "forever homes".  

This video shows a small bit of the rescue work that was done by the Humane Society after Hurricane Ike.  Over 350 dogs, cats, puppies and kittens were located, rescued, and transported to the shelter for food and emergency care.  

If you are looking for an addition to your family, please look at the wonderful animals at the Humane Society.  You really can save an animals life.   

Search MLS for Homes
Email Diane

Southeast Home Sales 2007 vs 2008.

Hello 2009. 

"What will you bring for the Southeast Texas housing market?"  Time will tell.  But for a moment let's reflect on the past.  2007 was the banner year for home sales in Southeast Texas.  All prior sales numbers were beaten.  New highs were reached.  Then 2008 came along. If you read the paper, watched the news or listened to the "talk on the streets", you might have thought home sales came to a screeching halt in 2008.  However, that was not the case fellow real estate watchers. 

Since numbers don't lie.  Here's a few numbers to consider.

Sales 07v08  

10 things the 2007 and 2008 sales numbers tell us:

  1. April and July of 2008 had higher sales than the same months of 2007.
  2. September 2008 had the lowest number of sales in two years.  Thank you Hurricane Ike!
  3. The first quarter of 2008 was off the 2007 pace by about 20%.
  4. The second quarter of 2008 was off the 2007 pace by about 9%.
  5. 2008 had 85% the number of sales that 2007 had.  85% of the best year ever!  That's not bad considering a Hurricane messed up a whole month of 2008.
  6. The stars on the graph represent the quarterly sales totals.
  7. The year end total sales for 2007 was 2,491 and in 2008 it was 2,094.
  8. The second and third quarter of both years had the most sales actively during the year.
  9. The month with the highest number of sales was May 2007 with 270 sales.
  10. The month in 2008 with the highest number of sales was July with 239.

For those of you who thought 2008 wasn't a good year for the Southeast Texas housing market, you might have to admit you were wrong.  Not beating the best year ever doesn't mean "bad", it is just not another record.

So back to the original question, "What's in store for 2009?".  With the government working on trying to stimulate the economy and interest rates below 5%, 2009 might just turn out to be a record breaking year for Southeast Texas home sales.  In you've been "sitting on the fence" waiting to buy, now's the time to act!  Wait too much longer and you might find all the good inventory has been bought up by someone else who was "sitting on the fence" with you but decided now is the to buy!

Search MLS for Homes
Email Diane

Its Time To Buy! Beaumont, Texas Mortgage Rates Under 5%.

Squirel on fenceIf you've been sitting on the fence looking for the best time to buy a home, its time to jump!  Rates have fallen below 5% on a 30 year fixed rate mortage.

Local Southeast Texas lender's rates:

Wells Fargo, Beaumont has a rate of 4.75 today!

Bank of America, Beaumont has a rate of 4.85 with a 10% down payment, 30 year fixed today!  

The Mortgage Group, Beaumont has rates right around 5% depending on your down payment. 

It's a great time to buy.  Rates won't be staying this low once the economy starts to rebound.  I guess there are some good things to come from a national recession.  Now, get off the fence and buy a home.  You'll be kicking yourself if you miss these rates.  Need help finding one?  Email me.

Search MLS for Homes
Email Diane

162 Homes Sold in Southeast Texas in December '08.

Dec Home Sales by area

Welcome to 2009.  Farewell 2008.  

Its all in the history books now.  So how did Southeast Texas home sales end the year?  162 sales is how with over 21 million in real estate changing owners. We also ended the year with days on the market, for Southeast Texas as a whole, holding steady at just over 100 days.   

Curious what areas went up in value in 2008?  Check the blog later this week there will be more 2008 recap to follow.  Happy 2009! 

Search MLS for Homes
Email Diane