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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January 2009
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March 2009

February 2009

Land Grab: Homes on Acreage Selling Fast.

There's an interesting trend occurring right now.  Homes are acreage are being snapped up at a really fast pace.  On average, since the first of the year, homes on ten acres or more have been going under contract within 40 days of the date they first appear in the MLS.  Orange County properties are selling at the fastest pace. 

Take a look at the chart.

10+ acre properties sales data 

Its an interesting trend with homes on land selling faster than homes on a normal lot.  On average, most homes are taking about 130 days -roughly 4 months- to sell in the current market.  Compare that to less than two months for homes that have at least ten acres of property.  

These homes aren't in the entry level price range either.  The average price of listings that have sold and closed since 11/08 is $245,000.  The average price of those currently under contract is $175,788.  The average price of homes with ten or more acres under contract in Orange Co. is over $250,000. 

It sure seems like people are placing a priority on owning some land right now.  Personally, I have several clients looking for a home with ten or more acres.  They all have over $200,000 to spend but there's not much out there to buy.  Especially, if you want to buy in Orange County. 

If you have a home with some land to sell, call me we need to talk.  Especially, if its in Orange County!

Not to say there isn't anything out there.  There are currently thirty-four listings - with a home and at least ten acres.  Six of them are in Fannett.  Six of them are in Tyler County.  Tyler is a little too far for most of us to commute.  So where are the others?  There are three in Buna.  Three in Jasper.  Those are on the outskirts of a 45 minute commute to most of the big employers.  Kountze, Lumberton, Beaumont only have one listing a piece.  In Beaumont and Lumberton the asking prices are over half a million dollars.  And let's not forget there are always some unrealistic sellers out there.  I know of one home that's been on the market over a year at the same price in Orange County.  It would sell if the sellers would just get a little more realistic about their home.  Alas, they must not be that serious about selling the property.  When everything else is selling in under forty days and your home has been on the market over a year doesn't that tell you something.  There I've said my peace.

Other statistics worth noting:

  • All sellers expect one received 93% or more of their asking price
  • Half of the sellers received 97% or more of their asking price
  • Conventional financing was the most often used type of financing
  • There were two cash sales with a median price of $267,500
  • The most expensive property currently for sale $1,675,000
  • The least expensive was for $35,000.  It was in Fred.

If you are thinking of buying a home on some land, you aren't the only one.  These days homes on land are being grabbed up.  With the average property staying on the market for less than two months before going under contract, its an interesting trend.  Homes with land are selling quick.

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It's Official! January Home Sales Data for Beaumont and Mid-County

Jan_09 MLS data 

Here we are with two weeks left in February.  There's been a lot of news and speculation about the local Southeast Texas real estate market lately.  Here's the truth.  The real facts straight from the local Southeast Texas MLS systems. By the way, Did you read the last blog post?  Beaumont was named the hottest housing market in the nation for the fourth quarter of 2008.  

So how have sales started this year?

January 2009 had more sales than January 2008 in Beaumont.  Last January we had 122 homes close compared to 129 in 2009.  Mid-County had 52 homes close in January 2008 vs. 50 this year. 

So how have priced fared? 

Hold on to your hats in Mid-County.  Your average home sales price last January was $116,400.  Compare that to this year.  The average home sales price this January was $151,993. That's approximately a 34% increase. 

In Beaumont, the average sales price in January of 2009 was $146,656.  Compared to last year, the average sales price was $148,700.  Statistically, within a 2% point range. 

What's happening with time on the market?

In Beaumont, home sellers are averaging 135 days before sale and closing.  In Mid-County sellers are waiting a little longer.  They are averaging 169 days.  That's almost six months.  In January of 2008 it was taking approximately 100 days on the market for a property to sell.  What's that mean?  Maybe buyers are being a little more cautious.  Maybe lenders are taking a little longer to close loans.  It could be both, but it does mean sellers need to be prepared to have their home on the market about 5-6 months before they can expect a sale and closing.  Need to sell faster?  That's where strategy and marketing come into play.  Call me if you want to discuss a strategy to sell your home.

What price range are most of the home sales happening in?

As you might expect, the majority of our home sales are in the $100,001-$249,999 range.  The lower end -homes priced below $100,000- is outpacing the $250,000 plus price range right now by about a 3 to 1 ratio.  Our average price in Beaumont is holding steady right about $148,000.  We will have to see if the upward trend in Mid-County pricing continues or if it is just a statistical anomaly.  If you want to know what homes are selling for in a certain neighborhood, I can help you with that information to.  Just call me, email me or post a comment on the blog with any of your Southeast Texas real estate questions.  Say goodbye to January 2009.  The homes sales numbers are in and they are official.



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Home Prices Plunge, But Not in Beaumont.

Hot off the press at, The Beaumont-Port Arthur area bucked the national trend. Our median home prices jumped 16.7% in the fourth quarter of 2008 to $132,600-the highest increase in the nation. Plunge 

The National Association of Realtors home sales report from the fourth quarter of 2008 reports home prices dropped an average of 12.4% in the final quarter of 2008.  That's the biggest decline in 30 years according to records kept by NAR.  The distressed properties, short sales, and foreclosure sales in certain parts of the country are responsible for driving home prices down, according to NAR.

So how does it feel to live in the top real estate market in the country?  Beaumont-Port Arthur's increase of 16.7% is the highest in the nation.  

Here's a look at some of the other metro areas and their fourth quarter homes prices.

NAR_Q4 home prices   

You can see the whole report click here.  Or you can read about it .  As a local REALTOR, in my experience, we have the best of both worlds right now.  Our real estate market was not over appreciating back in 2005 when the Florida and California real estate markets were being driven by speculation and investor buyers.  We have a stable economy, and stable job growth.  We don't have an excess of inventory.  There wasn't an boom of home construction that led to an over supply.  Right now our area has a great balance.  Sellers can't ask outrageous amounts for their homes because there are enough other competing homes available.  Buyers can't low-ball and expect to buy a home at 60 cents on a dollar as they can in the hardest hit foreclosure markets.  Its just a good, fair, level playing field.  That's what we should all hope for in our local housing market.   

If we start seeing homes appreciate at 20% or more a year for a few years, that could be a sign of danger.  Just ask someone that bought a home in Fort Myers, Florida (the hottest real estate market in the country back in 2005).  But we can worry about over appreciation another day.

For now, let's take our 16.7% home appreciation and be happy we live in the hottest market in the nation- Beaumont, Texas!

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Owning Land, A Lot of Land. The Top 100 List.

If you've ever wondered who owns the most land in the United100_top_landowners States, all you have to do is take a look at this new list from The Land Report.  Coming in at number one position, owning a staggering 2 million acres is none other than Ted Turner.  His land holdings cover more territory than Delaware and Rhode Island combined.  

Coming in at number one for the state of Texas is none other than two-time Texas governor Dolph Briscoe Jr.  The list of the top 100 largest landowners in America has twenty Texans in the group.  You've probably heard some of the names such as:

#23 Jeff Bezos, founder of; #33 the Koch Family, They own Koch industries makers of Dixie cups and Stainmaster carpet; #18 The East Family, of King Ranch lineage, and the list of Texans at the top goes on.

An interesting note, none of these largest Texas land-owners have their sprawling ranches in Southeast Texas. No one in Southeast Texas made the top 100 list.  Land around here must have been parceled up into smaller pieces long, long ago.  Its probably not surprising most of these huge ranches are located in West Texas where land is plentiful and industry not so much so.  Its also probably not too surprising that most of these top 100 land owners have had the land passed down to them through family generations. 

If you ever wondered who owns the most land in our country, now you know who the top 100 land-owners are and you know how much they own.  A lot!

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Southeast Texas Home Sellers Sell for 93% of List Price On Average

The first month of 2009 has officially concluded and home sellers have something to smile about.  As a whole they averaged 93% of the original asking price when accepting an offer on their homes.  See chart below for analysis by area.

Jan. Sales % of Asking Price by Area   

Look at it on a graph and it looks like this:

Jan. Sales % of Asking Graph1


Areas with one or zero closings in January weren't added to the data.  Lumberton takes top honors for the largest number of sales (twelve) with the highest percentage (98%).  Silsbee home sellers have to be feeling pretty good about now.  All (four) of them averaged 99% of their asking price as a final sales price.  Beaumont residents in West-end section four have to be pretty happy also.  Seven sales averaged 97% of their asking price.  

Home buyers out there if a home is priced well you are probably going to pay about 93% of its asking price.

Now there were a few real steals.  A seller in Bridge City took 37% of their asking price for a home on White Oak.  A seller on Gulf Street in Beaumont accepted 31% of their asking price.  The sale closed for $7,000.  In Orange County, one buyer was able to purchase a home on Old Peveto Road for 82% of the asking price.  After 152 days on the market, the seller sold for $159,400 after asking $195,000 originally.  In Vidor, one buyer was able to purchase a home on Honeybee for 78% of the asking price.  The seller accepted $125,000 after having their home on the market for over 200 days.  In Beaumont, a home on Harrison sold for 57% of its asking price, one on McFaddin sold for 69% of the original asking price after 160 plus days on the market, and one on Swallow sold for 40% of the original asking price.  It sold for $39,900 after 143 days on the market.  The original price was $99,900.  If you want to know what most of these "awesome deals" have in common, here's a clue, they need work.  Most of the time they need a lot of work.  If you aren't afraid of a fixer upper there are some deals to be had.  But if you want something cute, clean, updated and move-in ready be prepared to pay at least 93% of the asking price.

There are twenty two sales that closed in January where the seller received 100% of their asking price or more.  Usually, offers over 100% of the asking price occur when there is a seller contribution that assists with the buyer's closing costs or there is a bidding competition between two buyers that want the same home.

Other statistics worth noting from the January sales:

  • average days on the market for the area as a whole is 135
  • average price was $150,841
  • financing was mainly conventional(48), followed closely by FHA(32), and not far behind was cash(29).
  • as of today's data there were 112 sales that closed in January

  • *all data is from the Beaumont MLS

If you want more information about the Southeast Texas residential housing market, subscribe to the blog.  If you want to buy or sell a home you can reach me on my cell at 409-504-9097. 

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