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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June 2009

100's of Choices for Luxury Home Buyers in Southeast Texas

Luxury homeWould you be surprised to hear that there are over 100 homes listed in the Beaumont MLS with asking prices at or above $400,000?  Well, there are at the present time 102 luxury homes for sale.

Would you care to guess how many homes priced at or above $400,000 have sold in 2009? 

Here's your choices:

  1. 40
  2. 23
  3. 67

Now before you find out the answer, here's a few things to consider.  If there have been 67 sales so far this year and there are 102 homes on the market we would have about a 10 month supply of homes in the luxury category.  That means a buyers market in most cases.  If there have been 40 sales so far this year, we would have about a 15 month supply of homes.  If there have been 23 sales so far this year, then we have a little over a two year supply of luxury homes on the market.  Luxury is defined here at a home priced above $400,000.  No other criteria factored in. 

If you guessed 23 sales, you win.  That's the number of homes that have sold at or above $400,000 as recorded by the Beaumont MLS in 2009.  Here's what this all means.  Luxury home buyers have a lot of choices.  Luxury home sellers are probably going to have to be flexible on their selling terms if they are looking for a quick sale.

Here's a few other facts about these luxury sales:

  1. Beaumont's west-end had the highest number with neighborhoods such as Brownstone, Montclaire and those near Delaware being the most active.
  2. Average days on the market was 139 but varied from a low of 4 to a high of 540.

  3. The highest of all the closings was $749,000.

  4. Lumberton, Winnie, Silsbee and Orange all had one closing in the luxury category.

  5. Sellers averaged about 89% of their asking price.  With three sellers getting 100% of their asking price and one seller coming down to 69% of the original asking price ( a reduction of a little over $200,000).

Here's some free advice.  If you are in the market for a luxury home you are in a good position.  There is a good selection of homes to choose from but the most desirable still sell in about four months time.  If you are a luxury home seller know your competition.  There is a lot of it.  If you want your home to sell you've got to be priced aggressive enough to attract attention.  If you need help selling your home call me.  With over 100 other homes competing against yours, you need a local professional to help make sure your home has the best marketing strategy possible because the buyers won't even take the time to see your home if the strategy is wrong. 

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90 Million Will Buy You Neverland

Little known fact about Micheal Jackson's Neverland Ranch is that last year it was bought just weeks before foreclosure by a California developer.  The developer is renovating the property and will be putting it up for sale soon.  The asking price will be close to 90 million.

Check out this short video for more details. 

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Owner Financing, Not Often Offered in Southeast Texas Home Sales

Dollar bill house Here's a question I hear all the time, "Do you have any homes with owner financing?".  With lending requirements being tougher than ever, more prospective home buyers have been forced to ask this question.  In today's market if your credit score is below the mid 600's you will have a hard time finding a bank to lend you money.  If you want to buy a home that only leaves one choice - find a home with owner financing. 

If only it were a simple thing to find.  Just this week, I heard that question, the same question again.  "Can you find me a home with owner financing?"  So I searched the MLS and here's what I found. 

10 listings that offer owner financing:

  • 2540 Tyler, 2 bedroom, 1 bath, $44,500, MLS 134001
  • 3360 Magnolia 2 bedroom, 1 bath, $45,000 MLS 135838
  • 570 Campus, 4 bedroom, 2 bath, $49,500 MLS 135832
  • 2348 Pecos, 2 bedroom, 2 bath, $63,000 MLS 127987
  • 345 E Alma, 3 bedroom, 1 bath, $169,900 MLS 135451

  • 5130 Canyon Circle, 3 bedroom, 2 bath, $175,900 MLS 133633

  • 5120 Canyon Circle, 3 bedroom, 2 bath $179,900 MLS 133632

  • 5140 Canyon Circle, 3 bedroom, 2 bath, $184,900 MLS 133634

  • 5110 Canyon Circle, 3 bedroom, 2 bath, $199,900 MLS 133631

  • 2108 Harrison, 5 bedroom, 2.5 bath, $395,000 MLS 136128

That's all.  Out of more than 1400 listings in the Beaumont MLS only ten offer owner financing.  But before you go out and offer owner financing on your home, you should know there has only been one sale in the Beaumont MLS this year that closed with owner financing.  Yes, home owners that can offer financing are picky about who they will finance too. 

The one home that closed was on Taft.  It sold for $55,000 and had 1024 square feet of living space.  So next time you are thinking about buying a home with owner financing, just remember you might have your work cut out for you because its not often offered in Southeast Texas.

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Lumberton Home Sellers Average 97% of Asking Price

CB for sale sign Welcome to Lumberton, Texas.  If you are selling your home in Lumberton, you are probably a pretty happy home seller.  Since Jan. 1, 2009 home buyers have been willing to pay 97% of the asking price on average for all homes that have sold with a Lumberton address.  

While many areas across the state have excess inventory and desperate home sellers, that's not the case in Lumberton.   The average number of days a home has spent on the market in 2009 is just 101- just a little over three months.  Now, keep in mind, that is the average.  As I glance over the Beaumont MLS data, there are several active listings that have been on the market for over 400 day - that's more than a year. 

One popular neighborhood, Gracelake Estate, has a few homes that have been on the market for over a year.  They are brand new construction.  The builder must not be that eager to sell.  There have been four closings so far in 2009 in the neighborhood and they averaged right about 100 days on the market.  

Here's a snapshot of sales in some other neighborhoods in Lumberton: 

  • Crestview - 3 homes for sale, 5 sold in 2009. 
  • River Birch Place - 6 homes for sale, 3 sold in 2009.  All sales closed at over $100/sq ft.
  • Silvercrest - 13 total, 3 for sale, 7 closed, 3 under contract.  $91/sq. ft. was the lowest sale.  $109/sq. ft. was the highest sale.
  • Stonegate- 3 sold, 3 pending, 5 for sale. All closings have been over $100/sq.ft. but one of the pendings was listed at $77/sq. ft.  It was corporate owned and it looks like some home buyer got a really great deal.

  • Westwood had the most activity of any Lumberton neighborhood.  Its one of the only newer communities where you can find homes priced around $150,000.  

Five other interesting market trends:

  • So far this year the median price of homes that have sold is $149,900.    

  • Six homes spent less than 30 days on the market prior to sale.

  • Five homes spent more than 200 days on the market prior to sale.

  • Thirty-three sales were in Westwood.

  • Only six homes sold for under $70/square foot of living space.

If you are planing to sell your home and want to know how to price it so that you get 97% of your asking price, call me.  There is a strategy to pricing a home correctly no matter what town you live in. Price it correctly and you'll be a happy home seller too.

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Residential Market Trends In Southeast Texas...Up, Up, Up

May Sales Data

More than just the temperature is rising in Southeast Texas.  The residential housing market shows several significant upward trends in May.  With data just released from the Beaumont Board of Realtors and Mid-County Board of Realtors here's the latest developments in residential real estate market:

Home sale prices are up!

Beaumont home prices continue to rise.  Last May the average sales price was $146,600.  This May the average sales price was $165,600.

Days on the market is up!

Its taking a little longer for those homes to sell.  Right now the average number of days a home stays on the market in Beaumont is 123.  In Mid-County sellers are averaging 132 days or about 5 months from the time they list their home until the time it sells.

Months supply of inventory is up!

In May of 2007, Beaumont has 5.4 months supply of homes for sale.  The months supply of inventory is the most commonly used statistic to determine if an area has an excess of homes for sale or a shortage of homes for sale.  Six months supply is often considered the perfect balance where buyers and sellers both have the same opportunity.  When there is a shortage of homes on the market, then sellers can increase prices and buyers have to compete for the best homes.  When there is an excess of homes for sale the opposite happens.  Buyers have more control over home prices because there is an abundance of homes to choose from.  So back to 2007, Beaumont had a 5.4 month supply.  Sellers market!  May 2008, there was a 7.4 months supply of homes available which tipped the balance toward buyers.  Here in May 2009, the number of available homes is up to 8.0 months supply.  This would make you think prices aren't going to be able to keep going up much longer unless the supply of homes start to decrease.

First-time home buyer home purchases are up!

On a national level, first-time home buyers account for 40% of the May home sales.  I can't remember where I read that.  Now here in Southeast Texas, we don't track first-time home buyer sales.  But I can say we have a lot of first-time home buyers interested in taking advantage of the first-time home buyer tax credit.  Who wouldn't be interested in getting a check for $8,000?  *You've only got until November 30th to take advantage of it.

What should you do?

If you are planning to buy or sell,this is an interesting market.  Prices are going up but overall sales are going down. Its important to have a local real estate expert help you with the best negotiation strategy.  It will save you thousands.  Need an expert?  Call me today. 

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Fairfield Residential Real Estate Snapshot

Fairfield homeLocated off Major Drive in the westend of Beaumont is where you find Fairfield.  Its an upscale neighborhood with prices starting in the low $200's. 

You'll find luxury amenities adorning the homes interiors.  Granite counter- tops, hardwood floors, jetted tubs, gourmet kitchens and exposed brick interior walls are common features the builders are putting in the new homes.  

Another positive about Fairfield are the schools.  If you want to see the BISD attendance zone for any street in the neighborhood you can type in the address.  Westbrook High School, Marshall Middle, and Regina Howell Elementary are some of the most popular schools in town. 

The real test of the desirability of a neighbor is the most recent sales history.  So here's what we find in Fairfield so far in 2009.  There are seven homes listed for sale in the MLS.  There are two pendings as of today.  Five homes have closed since Jan. 1, 2009.  The average days on the market for active listings is 173.  That's a little more than the MLS average which is about 100.  If you like to see your data in a chart, here's one to glance over.

Fairfield snapshot 

Homes that sold ranged in price from $230,000 to $325,000.  The most expensive sale based on price per square foot went for $126.16.  The best bargain went for $113 per square foot. 

Homes that are on the market right now range in price from $218,900 to $299,900.  They range in price per square foot from $111 to $127. 

Home buyers you can find new construction and buy a brand new home in Fairfield or you can find a gently used resale.  With five sales and two pendings in the past six months, and seven homes currently for sale, there is about a six month supply of inventory.  That's a neutral market.  There are some builders a little anxious to sell some standing inventory so home buyers are in a good position to get a better deal than in the past.  In Beaumont builders normally don't negotiate on the price of their homes.  With the economy moving a little slower- even here in the Golden Triangle - some builders are accepting offers.  A few are even assisting with closing costs right now. 

Its a great time to buy a home.  Fairfield's a great neighborhood.  If you want more information on Fairfield or any other neighborhood in Southeast Texas call me.  I'll be glad to share our current market snap with you to help you make the best home buying decision. 

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Vidor Homes Selling Faster Then Beaumont Homes

Magnfying glassIn May, homes in Vidor, Texas averaged just 71 days on the market.  Compare that to Beaumont's 126 days on the market and you see why I say, "Vidor homes are selling faster".

Now, numbers can be misleading.  There were fewer homes sold in Vidor than in Beaumont.  Having a smaller sample will tend to throw off your numbers but none-the-less, seven homes closed in May.  Eighteen homes went under contract.  

Other facts you should know about Vidor home sales:

  • The highest price sale in May was $156,000
  • The most expensive home to go under contract was for sale for $200,000.  It was on Duncan Woods.
  • The most affordable home sold for $21,000.  It was a 1700 square foot home on Dewitt.  It sold for less than $15 per square foot.  (Yes, it was a fixer upper.)
  • The average price per square foot of the homes that closed in May was $50.75
  • The most expensive home sale based on price per square foot sold for $90.64.  It was less than five years old on Michelle. 

If you want to know more about home sales in Vidor or any other part of Southeast Texas, I'm always looking for new ideas for the blog.  Let me know the Southeast Texas real estate topic you want to know about.  I'll be glad to research it for you. 

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April Homes Sales Across Texas Show Slight Decline

If you like residential home sales data then you have to book mark the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M website It has more data than you will know what to do with.  The latest trends for April 2009 vs. April 2008 have been reported for select Texas metro areas.  

Here's a chart from the Real Estate Center.

Texas metro sales 

Across the state sales were down from the April 2008 numbers.  Some markets had median price increases-  like Beaumont (up 3.6%).  In fact, only Lubbock had a higher percentage gain than we did.  The Real Estate Center also states the median price across the state declined 2.8%.  The state has a 7.1 months supply of residential home inventory on the market.  7.1 months isn't bad.  If 6.0 is considered perfect balance, the state as a whole is still in pretty good shape.  Beaumont's inventory numbers are up a little but we've been averaging 6-8 months supply for the past two years. 

Beaumont home sellers won't want the inventory numbers to climb much higher or the scales will tip to a buyers market.  However, certain neighborhoods in Beaumont, Lumberton, Vidor and Mauriceville have a shortage of inventory.  You really have to get details for a specific neighborhood to know how much negotiation room you will have. 

If you want to know what's happening in your neighborhood, you can call me, email me or comment here on the blog.  I'll let you know how April home sales fared in the neighborhood you are interested in. 

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