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Inventory level tightens while prices reach November highs

HOUSTON (December 10, 2014) Homes appear to be high on holiday shopping lists as consumers continued to snap up properties in November, pushing prices up once again while driving the supply level down. The majority of the month’s sales activity took place among homes priced between $250,000 and the millions.

According to the latest monthly report prepared by the Houston Association of Realtors (HAR), single-family home sales totaled 5,092 units, an increase of 1.8 percent compared to November 2013. Months of inventory, the estimated time it would take to deplete the current active housing inventory based on the previous 12 months of sales, dipped to a 2.7-months supply versus a 2.9-months supply last November. That is markedly lower than the current national supply of 5.1 months of inventory.

Home prices achieved record highs for a November. The average price of a single-family home jumped 10.3 percent year-over-year to $271,232. The median price—the figure at which half the homes sold for more and half for less—rose 6.7 percent to $194,800.

November sales of all property types totaled 6,212 units, a 2.8-percent increase compared to the same month last year. Total dollar volume for properties sold rose 12.3 percent to $1.6 billion versus $1.4 billion a year earlier.

“The Houston housing market has shown only the slightest let-up over the past couple of months, but not enough to enable inventory levels to grow,” said HAR Chair Chaille Ralph with Heritage Texas Properties. “I have been asked whether falling oil prices could impact housing in 2015, and Stewart Title Chief Economist and former HAR Chairman Ted C. Jones, Ph.D., has forecast a 10 to 12 percent decline in home sales in the next 12 months, with about a 6.0 percent increase in prices.”

Jones predicts that $60 to $70 per barrel oil prices will cause Houston’s job growth to slow significantly in the new year, with about 65,000 net new jobs created versus the nearly 123,000 jobs seen in the past 12 months.

November Monthly Market Comparison

The Houston real estate market grew in all categories in November, with total property sales, total dollar volume and average and median pricing all up when compared to November 2013.

Month-end pending sales for all property types totaled 3,404. That is up 4.0 percent compared to last year and suggests another possible increase when December’s sales numbers are crunched. Active listings, or the number of available properties, at the end of November was 27,374, down 9.8 percent from last year.

Houston’s housing inventory slipped to a 2.7-months supply in November. One year earlier, it stood at a 2.9-months supply. According to the National Association of Realtors, the current supply of homes for the U.S stands at a 5.1-months supply.

Total property sales 6,044 6,212 2.8%
Total dollar volume $1,430,952,766 $1,606,455,376 12.3%
Total active listings 30,341 27,374 -9.8%
Total pending sales 3,273 3,404 4.0%
Single-family home sales 5,000 5,092 1.8%
Single-family average sales price $245,933 $271,232 10.3%
Single-family median sales price $182,500 $194,800 6.7%
Single-family months inventory* 2.9 2.7 -7.3%

* Months inventory estimates the number of months it will take to deplete current active inventory based on the prior 12 months sales activity. This figure is representative of the single-family homes market.

Single-Family Homes Update

November single-family home sales totaled 5,092, up 1.8 percent from November 2013. Home prices reached record highs for a November in Houston. The single-family average price increased 10.3 percent from last year to $271,232 and the median price climbed 6.7 percent year-over-year to $194,800. The number of days it took a home took to sell¬, or Days on Market, was 54 versus 60 last November. In July 2014, it fell to an historic low of 45 days. .

Single Family

Broken out by housing segment, November sales performed as follows:

  • $1 – $79,999: decreased 28.6 percent
  • $80,000 – $149,999: decreased 7.7 percent
  • $150,000 – $249,999: increased 2.6 percent
  • $250,000 – $499,999: increased 7.8 percent
  • $500,000 – $1 million and above: increased 19.4 percent
Single Family Average Home Price

HAR also breaks out the sales figures for existing single-family homes. In November, existing home sales totaled 4,361. That is up 6.3 percent from the same month last year. The average sales price shot up 11.7 percent year-over-year to $252,576 while the median sales price rose 6.6 percent to $180,000.

Townhouse/Condominium Update

Sales of townhouses and condominiums declined fractionally in November versus one year earlier. A total of 482 units sold last month compared to 487 properties in November 2013. The average price was flat at $201,390 and the median price rose 8.6 percent to $152,000. Inventory reached a 2.4-months supply, which is down compared to the 2.8-months supply a year earlier.

Townhouse/Condominium Sales
Lease Property Update

Demand for lease properties rose again in November, as inventory of for-sale properties shrank. Single-family home rentals climbed 4.2 percent compared to November 2013, while year-over-year townhouse/condominium rentals increased 5.7 percent. The average rent for a single-family home was up 5.0 percent to $1,669 and the average rent for a townhouse/condominium was up 3.6 percent to $1,520.

Houston Real Estate Milestones in November
  • Single-family home sales rose 1.8 percent versus November 2013;
  • Total property sales were up 2.8 percent year-over year;
  • Total dollar volume increased 12.3 percent, from $1.4 billion to $1.6 billion on a year-over-year basis;
  • At $194,800, the single-family home median price achieved a record high for a November;
  • At $271,232, the single-family home average price also reached a November high;
  • Days on Market for single-family homes was 54 days;
  • Rentals of single-family homes rose 4.2 percent year-over-year and the cost of renting those homes increased 5.0 percent to $1,669.
  • Townhouse/condominium rentals climbed 5.7 percent, with rents up 3.6 percent at $1,520.
The computerized Multiple Listing Service of the Houston Association of REALTORS® includes residential properties and new homes listed by 29,000 REALTORS® throughout Harris, Fort Bend and Montgomery counties, as well as parts of Brazoria, Galveston, Waller and Wharton counties. Residential home sales statistics as well as listing information for more than 50,000 properties may be found on the Internet at

The information published and disseminated to the HAR Multiple Listing Services is communicated verbatim, without change by Multiple Listing Services, as filed by MLS participants.

The MLS does not verify the information provided and disclaims any responsibility for its accuracy. All data is preliminary and subject to change. Monthly sales figures reported since November 1998 includes a statistical estimation to account for late entries. Twelve-month totals may vary from actual end-of-year figures. (Single-family detached homes were broken out separately in monthly figures beginning February 1988.)

Founded in 1918, the Houston Association of REALTORS® (HAR) is a 29,000-member organization of real estate professionals engaged in every aspect of the industry, including residential and commercial sales and leasing, appraisal, property management and counseling. It is the largest individual dues-paying membership trade association in Houston as well as the second largest local association/board of REALTORS® in the United States.

Written by rickmartinez

December 11, 2014 at 1:42 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

OPEN HOUSE – Saturday, August 16th 2pm to 4pm

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7306 Penny Lane – 5-6 Beds/3 Full & 2 Half-Baths w/ 3 Car Garage
















Written by rickmartinez

August 15, 2014 at 1:58 pm

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10 tax tips for home sellers

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By Stephen Fishman, Friday, September 7, 2012.

Inman News®

<a href="">Tax time</a> image via Shutterstock.

The IRS has recently issued a helpful list of 10 tax tips all homeowners should keep in mind when selling a home:

1. You are usually eligible to exclude the gain from income if you have owned and used your home as your main home for two years out of the five years prior to the date of its sale.

2. If you have a gain from the sale of your main home, you may be able to exclude up to $250,000 of the gain from your income ($500,000 on a joint return in most cases).

3. You are not eligible for the exclusion if you excluded the gain from the sale of another home during the two-year period prior to the sale of your home.

4. If you can exclude all of the gain, you do not need to report the sale on your tax return.

5. If you have a gain that cannot be excluded, it is taxable. You must report it on Form 1040, Schedule D, Capital Gains and Losses.

6. You cannot deduct a loss from the sale of your main home.

7. Worksheets are included in Publication 523, Selling Your Home, to help you figure the adjusted basis of the home you sold, the gain (or loss) on the sale, and the gain that you can exclude.

8. If you have more than one home, you can exclude a gain only from the sale of your main home. You must pay tax on the gain from selling any other home. If you have two homes and live in both of them, your main home is ordinarily the one you live in most of the time.

9. If you received the first-time homebuyer credit and within 36 months of the date of purchase the property is no longer used as your principal residence, you are required to repay the credit. Repayment of the full credit is due with the income tax return for the year the home ceased to be your principal residence, using Form 5405, First-Time Homebuyer Credit and Repayment of the Credit. The full amount of the credit is reflected as additional tax on that year’s tax return.

10. When you move, be sure to update your address with the IRS and the U.S. Postal Service to ensure you receive refunds or correspondence from the IRS. Use Form 8822, Change of Address, to notify the IRS of your address change.

For more information about selling your home, see IRS Publication 523, Selling Your Home.

Stephen Fishman is a tax expert, attorney and author who has published 18 books, including “Working for Yourself: Law & Taxes for Contractors, Freelancers and Consultants,” “Deduct It,” “Working as an Independent Contractor,” and “Working with Independent Contractors.” He welcomes your questions for this weekly column.

Written by rickmartinez

September 10, 2012 at 12:36 pm

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Home prices post strongest growth since 2006

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NAR: July inventory down 24 percent from a year ago

By Inman News, Wednesday, August 22, 2012.

Inman News®

<a href="">Sunny outlook</a> image via Shutterstock.

Demand for homes grew faster than the inventory of homes for sale in July, helping push the national median price of existing homes up for the fifth month in a row despite a modest increase in sales that fell short of some analysts’ expectations.

The National Association of Realtors said today that the national median price of existing homes was up 9.4 percent from a year ago in July, to $187,300 — the strongest annual gain since January 2006. The last time the national median home price posted five consecutive months of annual gains was January to May of 2006.

Sales of existing homes — resales of single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops — were up 2.3 percent from June to July, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.47 million. That’s a 10.4 percent increase from a year ago.

“Mortgage interest rates have been at record lows this year while rents have been rising at faster rates,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun in a statement. “Combined, these factors are helping to unleash a pent-up demand.”

Yun said sales “could easily be much stronger” — in a more “normal” range of 5 million to 5.5 million per year — if not for “abnormal frictions” such as tight lending standards and shrinking inventory.

Although the number of existing homes on the market was up 1.3 percent from June to July, to 2.4 million, that represents a 6.4-month supply of homes at July’s faster pace of sales, down from 6.5 months of supply in June. And looking back a year, listing inventories were down 23.8 percent, when there was a 9.3-month supply of existing homes for sale.

Analysts generally consider a six-month supply of existing homes to be a healthy balance of supply and demand. More than that indicates that sellers significantly outnumber buyers, which puts downward pressure on prices.

“The total supply of housing inventory appears to be balanced in historic terms but there are notable shortages in the lower price ranges which are limiting opportunities for first-time buyers,” Yun said. “The low price ranges also are popular with investors, so entry-level buyers are at a disadvantage because many investors are making all-cash offers.”

Although first-time buyers accounted for 34 percent of purchases in July, up from 32 percent in June, in a normal market they account for 40 percent of purchases, NAR said.

Writing on the blog Calculated Risk, Bill McBride noted that while the annual rate of sales in July was slightly below expectations of 4.5 million, “those focusing on sales of existing homes, looking for a recovery for housing, are looking at the wrong number. For existing-home sales, the key number is inventory — and the sharp year-over-year decline in inventory is a positive for housing.”

Source: National Association of Realtors via Calculated Risk blog.

Written by rickmartinez

August 29, 2012 at 2:47 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Price gains lift 400,000 homes above water

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Zillow sees improvements in negative equity rates in 29 of 30 largest markets

By Inman News, Thursday, August 23, 2012.

Inman News®

<a href="">Life ring</a> image via Shutterstock.

Home price increases helped more homeowners regain some equity in their homes during the second quarter, according to an analysis by Zillow.

Zillow’s Negative Equity Report estimates that 30.9 percent of homeowners with mortgages owed more than their homes were worth at the end of June, down from 31.4 percent at the end of March. That translates into 15.3 million underwater homes — about 400,000 less than three months before.

The report — which compares Zillow’s automated home valuation “Zestimates” for individual homes with actual mortgage loan balance data from TransUnion —  showed all but one of the 30 largest markets tracked by Zillow saw a quarter-over-quarter improvement in their negative equity rate.

Metro areas seeing the greatest quarter-to-quarter percentage point decreases in the negative equity rate were Phoenix (-3.9 percentage points, to 51.6 percent), Miami-Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (-2.7 percentage points, to 43.7 percent) and Las Vegas (-2.5 percentage points, to 68.5 percent).

Among those 30 markets, only Philadelphia experienced an increase in its negative equity rate, which was up 0.4 percentage points from March to June. But the city’s 25.4 percent negative equity rate was still well below the national average. Charlotte, N.C. (-0.2 percentage point, to 36.4 percent) and St. Louis (-0.5 percentage point, to 30.2 percent) also failed to best the 0.5 percentage point improvement in the negative equity rate seen at the national level.

Metro area Q1 2012 negative equity rate (homes with mortgages) Q2 2012 negative equity rate (homes with mortgages) Difference in rate from Q1 to Q2
United States 31.40% 30.90% -0.50%
Phoenix 55.50% 51.60% -3.90%
Miami-Fort Lauderdale, Fla. 46.40% 43.70% -2.70%
Las Vegas 71.00% 68.50% -2.50%
Boston 22.00% 19.60% -2.40%
San Jose 22.70% 20.30% -2.40%
San Francisco 30.70% 28.50% -2.20%
Riverside, Calif. 53.40% 51.20% -2.20%
Orlando, Fla. 53.90% 51.90% -2.00%
Sacramento, Calif. 51.20% 49.30% -1.90%
Chicago 41.10% 39.20% -1.90%
Denver 29.00% 27.10% -1.90%
Dallas-Ft. Worth, Texas 30.70% 28.90% -1.80%
Seattle 39.60% 37.80% -1.80%
San Diego 35.60% 33.90% -1.70%
Tampa, Fla. 48.30% 46.60% -1.70%
Detroit 49.80% 48.30% -1.50%
Los Angeles 30% 28.60% -1.40%
Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn. 39.90% 38.70% -1.20%
Cincinnati 31.50% 30.30% -1.20%
Washington, D.C. 32.40% 31.30% -1.10%
Pittsburgh 16.70% 15.60% -1.10%
Portland, Ore. 34.30% 33.20% -1.10%
Cleveland 33.90% 32.90% -1.00%
Atlanta 55.20% 54.40% -0.80%
Columbus, Ohio 34.20% 33.40% -0.80%
New York 21.30% 20.70% -0.60%
Baltimore 31.40% 30.80% -0.60%
St. Louis 30.70% 30.20% -0.50%
Charlotte 36.60% 36.40% -0.20%
Philadelphia 25.00% 25.40% 0.40%

Written by rickmartinez

August 29, 2012 at 2:47 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

The Safety Issue – Part II

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Do-It-Yourself Home Security Check: 5 Essential Steps

Conduct a do-it-yourself home security check by walking around your house to assess what needs to be done to reduce the risk of a break-in.

1. Keep your home well-maintained on the outside.

Burglars want an easy target. Stand on the street outside your house and ask yourself: Does my property look neglected, hidden, or uninhabited? A front door or walkway that’s obscured by shrubbery offers crooks the perfect cover they need while they break a door or window. To improve security, trim shrubs away from windows and widen front walks.

2. Install motion detector lights.

All sides of your house should be well-lit with motion-activated lighting, not just the front. Simple motion-activated floodlights cost less than $50 each, and installing them is an easy DIY job if the wiring is already in place.

3. Store your valuables.

Thieves want easy-to-grab electronics, cash, jewelry, and other valuables, though some are not above running down the street with your flat-screen TV. Most make a beeline for the master bedroom, because that’s where you’re likely to hide spare cash, jewelry, even guns. 

Tour each room and ask yourself: is there anything here that I can move to a safe deposit box? Installing a home safe ($150 to $500) that’s bolted to your basement slab is a good repository for items you don’t use on a daily basis.

4. Secure your data.

While you probably won’t be putting your home computer in a safe anytime soon, take steps to back up the personal information stored on it. Password protect your login screen, and always shut off your computer when not in use (you’ll save energy, too!) Don’t overlook irreplaceable items whose value may hard to quantify, like digital photos.

5. Prepare ahead of time in case the worst happens.

  • Take a photo or video inventory of items of value in your home, and store the file online or in your home safe.
  • Check that you’re properly insured for theft. Note that high-ticket items in your home office, such as computers, professional camera equipment, or other business essentials, may require an additional rider or a separate policy.


By: Joseph D’Agnese

Published: November 12, 2010

Written by rickmartinez

August 22, 2012 at 10:39 am

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The Safety Issue – Part I

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10 Things a Burglar Doesn’t Want You to Know

By: Jan Soults Walker

Published: July 10, 2012

Successful burglars have lots in common — home owners who unwittingly give invitations to robbery. Here’s how thieves thank you for your generosity.

1. Thanks for the ladder!

Call me a social climber if you will, but I did discover a ladder in your back yard. Thank you for leaving it where I could lean it against your home and easily reach a second-story window. I really love it when upper story openings aren’t wired to a home security system!

So, if you want to keep me out, store your ladder in the basement or a locked garage. And call your security company to wire upper-story windows into your alarm system.

Vertically yours,
A rising star

2. Loved your trash

Can’t tell you how much fun I have driving around neighborhoods on trash day (especially after big gift holidays) when the empty boxes on the curb reveal what wonderful new toys you have. Your thoughtfulness made it possible for me to land a new laptop and a flat-screen television in one easy trip to your home!

Next time, break down the boxes and conceal them in the recycling or trash bins.

Happy shopping!
Curbside Cruiser

3. Dear Can’t-Get-Around-To-It

Recently, I noticed you hadn’t trimmed trees and shrubs around your home, so I knew I’d have a wonderful place to hide while I worked to break into your home. I really can’t thank you enough for all the great new things I grabbed.

Next time, trim back bushes and trees near windows and doors. Make sure entry points to your home are easily visible from the street — I much prefer to work in private! While you’re at it, install motion-sensor lighting. I’m scared of bright lights!

The Tree Lover

4. Su casa es mi casa!

I was sincerely relieved to find your back door was a plain wood-panel door. I had no trouble kicking it in (my knees appreciate how easy that was!) Imagine how silly I felt when I discovered that your windows weren’t locked anyway.

You may want to take a cue from your neighbor and install steel-wrapped exterior doors with deadbolts on all your entries. And be sure your windows are locked when you’re away.

All the best,
Buster Door

5. Bad reflection on you

You’d be surprised how many home owners position a mirror in their entry hall so I can see from a window if the alarm system is armed. (Yours wasn’t, but I’m guessing you know that by now!) Thanks for taking a lot of pressure off of me.

A little free advice: Relocate the mirror so your alarm system isn’t visible if someone else would peer through a window.

Mr. Peeper

6. The telltale grass

Wow, isn’t it amazing how fast the grass grows these days? I swung by now and then and noticed your lawn was uncut, newspapers were piling up on the front steps, and your shades were always closed. To me, that’s an open invitation.

Next time, hire someone you trust to mow regularly, pick up around the doorstep, open and close various window shades, and turn different lights on and off (or put a few on timers). One more thing: Lock any car you leave in the driveway, or I can use your garage door opener to get in quickly.

Your Trip Advisor

7. Getting carried away

Many thanks for putting your valuables into an easy-to-carry safe that I could carry right out your back door. (Nice jewelry, and thank you for the cash!)

You may want to invest in a wall safe, which I rarely attempt to open. Or, rent a lock box at your bank.

With appreciation,
Mr. Safe and Not-So-Sound

8. Dear BFF

Thanks for alerting a professional acquaintance of mine via your social network that you were away for the week in Puerto Vallarta, having the time of your life. Me? I enjoyed a very relaxing visit to your home with no pressure of being caught.

If only you had known that posting comments and photos of your trip on social networks is fine — but do that after you return so you won’t broadcast your absence!

Cyber Savvy

9. Tag, you’re it!

Where are you? When you use popular geo-tracking apps, such as FourSquare and Glympse, I might know if you’re not home. Web sites such as help me keep track of your whereabouts.

If you prefer that I not visit your home, be careful about geo-tagging. But, otherwise, thank you for the loot!

— Just Tagging Along

10. Thanks for the appointment

Thanks for inviting me into your home to view the laptop you wanted to sell. I do apologize for the scare I gave you when I took it (and your purse).

Did you know that some large U.S. cities are averaging one so-called “robbery by appointment” per day? If you want to sell high-ticket items to strangers, I suggest you arrange to meet at the parking lot of your local police station. I definitely won’t show up, and you’ll still have your valuables (and your purse!)

A Tough Sell

Written by rickmartinez

August 22, 2012 at 10:37 am

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Update: Ceiling Fans and Market News

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Written by rickmartinez

July 2, 2012 at 1:02 pm

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Ideas for Flying Old Glory on the 4th

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Ideas for Flying Old Glory on the 4th

Independence Day is a good time to pump up your respect for Old Glory. So proclaim your patriotism with one of the unique flagpoles and accessories below. But first, ask your local zoning board about any height or setback restrictions.

Flag set: Get started displaying Old Glory with this complete set that includes a 3-by-5-foot U.S. flag, 6-foot steel pole, gold eagle ornament, and mounting bracket with screws. ($9.98)

Black spinning flagpole: Here’s a new twist on old flagpoles: One that spins to keep your flag from twisting around the pole on windy days. The top half of the aluminum pole spins freely and eliminates the need for an anti-wrap sleeve. ($15.75)

Commercial grade solar-powered flagpole light: If you fly your flag at night, illuminate it with this solar-powered light that produces 100 lux (equivalent to the light available on an overcast day) and lasts 6 to 12 hours. It mounts to flagpoles 2 to 4 inches in diameter. ($115)

DIY flagpole: Making your own 20-foot flagpole is easier than it sounds. It will cost about $57 in parts, plus the cost of the wood or pipe you use for the pole, and concrete for the foundation. Anchor Flag and Flagpole shows you how.

Flag etiquette

To ensure that you fly your flag respectfully, here are some flag etiquette basics:

Whenever you fly more than one flag on the same flagpole, the U.S. flag should fly above the rest.

Ordinarily, the flag is flown from sunrise to sunset. If you fly it at night, it should be illuminated.

When you lower the flag, don’t let it touch the ground or any other object.

When a flag is worn and no longer fit to fly, it should be burned in a dignified manner.

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Written by rickmartinez

July 2, 2012 at 12:58 pm

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Weekend Warrior: Made for the Shade

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Written by rickmartinez

June 1, 2012 at 12:02 pm

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