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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February 2010
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April 2010

March 2010

Southeast Texas Home Buyers Get Ready, Loan Changes Announced By FHA

FHA logo

FHA Announces Changes


The course of the past week, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) has announced several policy changes in order to better manage risk while continuing to support   the nation's housing market recovery.

Three items in particular will impact PHH’s current FHA product parameters:

• MIP: Up-front Mortgage Insurance Premiums (MIP) will increase from 1.75% to 2.25%.

This change will be effective for all FHA purchase and refinance transactions (including streamline) with case number assignment dates on or after April 5, 2010. The required system updates will be a priority. As this date approaches, pipeline will be monitored and communication will be issued to outline the corresponding policy updates that will be made.

• Seller Contributions: Allowable seller concessions will be reduced from 6% to 3%.

This change will be posted in the Federal Register in February, and after a notice and comment period, would go into effect in the early summer.

• Waiver of the 90 Day Property Flipping Rule:

Re-sales occurring up to 90 days or less following acquisition are not currently eligible for FHA financing, providing the seller does not come under any of the specific exceptions that apply to the 90-day rule. To help support housing recovery and to allow more opportunities for investors to refurbish and resell properties, this restriction is being waived only for transactions meeting the following conditions:
1. All transactions must be arms-length, with no identity of interest between the buyer, seller or other interested parties to the transaction.
2. If the sales price of the property is 20% or more above the seller’s acquisition cost, the lender must justify the increase in value with supporting documentation and a property inspection report must be ordered and provided to the purchaser before closing.
3. This waiver will expire February 1, 2011 unless otherwise extended or withdrawn by the FHA Commissioner. All other guidance regarding property flipping prohibition remains unchanged.

What does it all mean for home buyers and home sellers in Southeast Texas?

  1. Home buyers will have to save up a little more to cover the up-front MIP increase
  2. Home sellers can't help out quite as much with a closing cost contribution, which means home buyers will have to save up a little more to cover closing costs.
  3. Investors with the ability to buy distressed homes below market prices and renovate them won't have to worry about the anti-flipping rule.  That means more renovated homes for sale. 

Overall, I don't see the changes having a significant impact on the Southeast Texas housing market.  Most sellers in the area weren't willing to give 6% in closing costs anyway.  3% assistance is far more common.  What do you think?  Are the new changes going to affect your home buying plans?  Let me know. 

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No Real Estate Slow Down with Jefferson County Foreclosure Notices

Jefferson Co. CourthouseOn Tuesday, April 6th, one hundred and forty one homes could be auctioned off on the court house steps. 

According to the Jefferson County Clerk's Office, there have been one hundred and forty one notices of trustee sale filed in time for the April 6, 2010 auction.  These homes are in neighborhoods you know.  River Oaks Estates, Dowlen West, Glenwood, Northwest Forest, Calder Place,and Stonegate Manor are all on the list. 

The good news is not even close to one hundred and forty one homes will be auctioned off.

The bad news is if one that is auctioned is in your neighborhood watch out for falling property values.

Generally speaking, on any given month for the past two years, the clerk's office has received over 100 notices of trustee sale.  Check for yourself.  All foreclosure notices are a matter of public record.  The clerk's office website is

Having attended a good number of the Tuesday auctions over the past two years, I've never seen more than thirty properties auctioned on any given Tuesday.  Keep in mind most of these homeowners are working on a plan to keep their home.  Some homes are for sale, some sellers make a payment in time, so only the worst of the worst situations actually end up being auctioned.

A few other things to know about the foreclosure sales:

  • Cash is king.  No financing allowed.
  • Do your homework.  There will be others there bidding on the homes with profit potential.
  • Be brave.  No inspections allowed.  You are buying the home "as is".
  • Eviction is not a simple process.  If the owner is still living at the home, you'll have to become knowledgeable on the ins and outs of eviction.
  • Why buy this way at all?  Sometimes a good profit stands to be had for the educated buyer.

Want to know more about buying a foreclosure in Jefferson County?  One way to start is by attending an auction.  An easier way to start is to contact me and ask for a list of the REO homes that are available. 

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Beaumont's W2 Neighborhoods Top Home Sales

More homes sold in W2 than any other area in February.  In fact close to 15% of all of the homes that sold in February sold in the westend neighborhoods of W2.  Interestingly enough it was also the area with the highest average price. 

Take a look.


Eight Southeast Texas residential areas had at least five home sales in February 2010.  (Shown above on the chart.)  If you are looking to live in Beaumont's westend and want to keep your purchase price around $100,000 then W3 is your best bet.  Those are the neighborhoods West of Phelan and East of College. It's a nice area with older homes.  Your dollar will stretch farther in W3 than any other westend area. 

Of the popular residential areas shown on the chart, Beaumont's westend area W4 had the fastest home sales.  Homes averaged sixty-seven days on the market.  The overall residential market average is 134. Most of the new construction is in Westend area 2 or 4.  Don't worry if you don't know the boundaries of those areas.  I can show you on a map. 


If you want to know more about home sales in Southeast Texas, I'm just a call, text or email away. 

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Southeast Texas Home Sales: February's Big Three

Feb_Big 3

Home sales are up about 20% from January.  Big jump right?  Ninety-nine home sales is better than January's anemic 83 sales. However, when you consider in 2009, 139 homes closed in February the big jump doesn't look that great anymore.

Southeast Texas home sales in 2010 are down about 30% from 2009.

2009 was down from 2008.  The months supply of inventory is up to 9.5 months.  Balanced markets have a six - eight month supply of homes for sale.  Guess what?  We're not balanced anymore.

Want to know more about the Southeast Texas housing market?  Subscribe to the blog and you'll always be one of the first to get critical market data.  

Coming soon:  Where homes were selling in February and how much seller's came off their asking price. 

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