Tag Archives: Real estate

Houston Housing Market Best In Country?

If you’re on the market for a new home in Houston, now is the time to buy. Or sell, whichever suits your fancy.

As the old saying goes, “You could be left out in the cold.”

By all accounts www.luxuryrealestate.com, 2014 could continue the trend of a great housing market in southeastern Texas.

There are multiple reasons why experts feel this way, but here are some.

The Housing Association of Realtors in October reported that a 22.5 percent year-over-year increase in home sales. HAR chairman told Luxury Real Estate that Houston “continues to benefit from a confluence of very positive economic forces: strong growth, low interest rates and reasonable home prices compared to other parts of the country.”

Most experts’ prediction for 2014 includes lower inventory levels, along with rising levels of demand that will push Houston real estate values even higher in 2014. Prediction sites like Luxury Real Estate add that the numbers will not be as dramatic as 2013, but homeowners can expect a healthy level of appreciation in the coming months

With fewer homes for sale, that means less completion and higher prices. Most people who shop in the winter months just don’t want to hassle with the market come spring. Come March, April and May when the market increases, the price could go down. Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the National Association of Realtors, told McGeough LaMacchia website that existing-home sales across the country have shown a 20 percent cumulative increase over the past two years, while prices have gained 18 percent.

As you would expect, all this leads to historic low numbers when it comes to foreclosures in Houston as well. According to this press release from http://www.har.com/mls/dispPressRelease.cfm, foreclosure property sales fell 49 percent in November compared to the same time a year earlier. Foreclosures make up 8 percent of all property sales, down from 20 percent at the start of 2013. The median price of foreclosures rose 9 percent to $88,000, according to the press release.

While interests remain low, they will go up in 2014. As we speak, the rates are expected to rise to 5.5 percent by the end of 2014. Another possible factor is that the Fannie Mae announced a few weeks ago that it would raise the fees it charges for lenders, who in-turn would pass those fees on to borrowers. Again, as you read this, you have to ask yourself: Why wait to do this?

With fewer homes on the market, simple logic tells you that they sell faster. If you wait until April or May, more will show up on the market and increase the time it takes to sell your home.

Selling a home is not an easy task. It can be stressful and time consuming. Why make it more difficult on yourself? One resource that will is www.homevestors.com. Instead of waiting until the typical months of April and May to put your house for sale, do it when the market is at its strongest, there isn’t a lot of competition, won’t take that long and will make the most money for you, do it now.

Author Bio: Ian St. Clair is an award-winning writer who has close to 10 years of newspaper experience. He’s written about everything from the Denver Broncos and college football to community theater and romance novels. He’s now at We Buy Ugly Houses Houston. You can find him at Google-Plus.

Houston’s Oddly Absent Zoning Laws

Houston NeighborhoodHouston, Texas is one of the largest cities in the United States, ranking in at number four in terms of population. It’s got all the hallmarks of a huge metropolis.

The bustling city represents the locale of headquarters and flagship establishments for many of the world’s largest companies. It’s a logistical and economic artery, with railways and shipping channels. NASA is right around the corner, and it is an epicenter of the energy and oil industries.

But Houston also has a huge, sprawling populace with residential suburbs peppering the entire landscape. In most cities, especially larger ones, the commercial and residential sectors are somewhat segregated by zoning. But Houston has a quirky exception to this convention – No zoning laws.

The absence of zoning code means that there are no city-wide rules that regulate the use of land or the placement of business and residential establishments with respect to each other throughout the city. Your home could be right next to a business park. In some cases, a home can also be a business itself.

While there is no actual zoning code placing restrictions on building and land use, most property deeds contain contractual obligations that act in a similar fashion as zoning laws would. The difference is that the land owner and developers usually govern them.

As for whether or not this unusual absence of zoning laws in Houston is positive or negative, we have to look at it from a few different perspectives: Commerce, Residents and Prosperity.


In terms of commerce, Houston’s zoning laws grants a bit more flexibility to where a business can set up shop. Unlike other cities with zoning codes, it’s easier for a business to find a good location without such restrictions. Investors, however, sometimes find the lack of zoning somewhat tricky.

In suburban markets, real estate investors are apprehensive about working through the unusual zoning situation. Values and returns might be tough to feel confident about if a subdivision ends up sitting next to an airport. But residential developers have created a method to give investors peace of mind by building deed restrictions and land use covenants into the properties.


The one obvious drawback for residents living in a big city like Houston and having no zoning laws is the potential misfortune of a home right next to an industrial complex. But that occurrence is very rare. On the other hand, residents who wish to run a business out of their own homes might find it easier to accomplish that compared to a city with zoning codes.

Another benefit for residents is the convenience of easier commutes to work and the nearby locations of businesses and services. A worker in Houston could have a potentially long commute given the sheer sprawling size of the city. But because they have more options to choose from when selecting a home close to their workplace, residents can enjoy very short commutes.

Overall Prosperity

Even with all the varying opinions of both residents and commercial enterprises alike regarding the advantages and disadvantages of having no zoning laws, the real proof can be gleaned from the historical prosperity of the city.

Throughout the years, despite an absence of zoning laws, Houston has seen great prosperity. Whether you look at the continued population growth, or the influx of tourism and fresh investors and entrepreneurs, or perhaps the strong economic stability and growth in Houston; all of the signs point to a successful city. And it didn’t need zoning laws to get there!

Austin Faux works for We Buy Ugly Houses Houston. When not dealing in real estate Austin loves helping his wife relax, playing with is kids, and taking the family to the park.

Where Is Houston’s Real Estate Hot Spot?

Houston Park

Downtown Houston was once booming with all types of real estate, commercial, commerce and residential. The real estate business is still booming there but now the trend is buying outside of the Loop for residential, but why?

According to a study done by the Houston Chronicle last year, more than 80% of homes that were sold were outside of Beltway 8, compared to just 6 percent inside Loop 610 and 12.8 percent between the Loop and the Beltway. Residents aren’t minding the long commute for several different reasons.

Property in the suburbs of Houston can be twice as affordable as those within the larger city limits. According to housing data in that area, last year, the median price per square foot for a home outside the Beltway was $72.98. The Inner Loop value was $178.09 per square foot, still less than half. Courtney Johnson Rose, a realtor in the Missouri City area stated that to get a four-bedroom home inside the Loop, you are probably looking at $400,000-plus versus outside the loop at around $200,000.

Another big draw to the burbs is the amount of jobs locating outside of downtown.  Houston’s outlying areas are becoming home to major business districts along the West Belt, including oil companies like Exxon Mobile Corp. They are moving 10,000 employees to a new building west of I45. As a result, areas beyond city limits are booming. Other large companies such as BP, Shell and Conoco Phillips also employ thousands of people along I10, now becoming known as the Energy Corridor.

Schools and shopping are an important part of our everyday lives and there are a multitude of those showing up all along the outer city. The Institute for Regional Forecasting and the University of Houston’s, C.T. Bauer College of Business calls the West Belt their home. The largest shopping mall in Texas, The Galleria Houston is also located outside of the Loop. It boasts 26 million visitors each year with over 400 stores and restaurants, three office towers, and two high-rise hotels.

Some residents love the big city life, but without all the hustle and bustle that downtown is sure to provide. That is another reason for moving to the suburbs. There seems to be less crime, less traffic and a little slower pace of life for those who chose to live here. Some residents state it just feels more like home to be away from all the lights but still less than 30 minutes from just about any destination in Houston. It can be a  great place to raise a family because of the master-planned communities.

Although living in the outer edges of the city can only be a 30 minute commute, some find this to be a drawback to living there. Because of today’s technology, thankfully, many employees are finding that their employers are making is easier for them to telecommute. This is making it easier and easier for residents to say yes to buying outside of Loop 610.

Whether you are a city person at heart or not, it is clear why 80% of buyers are choosing to buy outside of the Loop. There is a lot to offer from schools to shopping and who can forget affordable housing and a strong job market in this economy? The burbs of Houston might just be the best place for you and your family.

Rickey Williams is a real estate investor, expert, and blogger. He works with We Buy Ugly Houses in Houston, a home buying franchise.

Downgrading Your Home In Houston

Sometimes in life, a major change can mean the need to downgrade to a smaller home.  Whether your kids move out or you receive a pay decrease, the important thing is to realize the need to change your lifestyle.  But downgrading doesn’t always come easy; some things need to be taken into consideration.  Deciding on your new needs, finding a market for your old home, and finding a place for your stuff, are things to consider when you get started.  Doing things like putting your stuff into storage or simply being flexible with your asking price for your old home can help things go smoothly.

City of Houston

Deciding on Your New Needs

If you’re looking to downgrade your home, you’ve already decided what you don’t need, but what exactly are you looking for?  This can be a bigger question than you anticipated, so it’s important to decide once and for all what you are looking for in your next home.  This can be the difference between whether you look for a new home in the Spring Branch neighborhood, an apartment in the downtown area, or a place in one of the many other Houston neighborhoods.

Finding the Market for Your Home

Once you’ve figured out exactly what you’re looking for in a new Houston home, it’s time to decide what to do with your old home.  Putting your home on the buying market requires a number of considerations.  Go online or talk to a Houston real estate agent to find out what the market is for homes similar to yours; this can give you the price range for your asking price.  It’s also important to decide what the lowest price is you’re willing to accept for your home.  It’s unreasonable to expect the selling of your home to go without some compromise, so being flexible will be expected of you.  The market of your place will depend on the neighborhood, so make sure you research the market of your specific Houston neighborhood.

What to Do with All That Stuff

One of the biggest issues that come along with downgrading into a smaller place is figuring out what to do with all the stuff that you’ve accumulated throughout the years.  Luckily, there are a number of options that you have at your disposal.  If you don’t have much to get rid of, having a garage sale can be a great way to minimize the amount of excess stuff that you have to take care of.  If you have stuff that you can’t seem to get rid of, or things that you don’t want to, consider moving your personal items into a storage facility.  Seasonal items, such as Christmas decorations or pool items are perfect candidates to be moved to off-site storage in Houston.  It can be the best idea to help alleviate the problem of too much stuff.

Settling In

Getting comfortable in your new home can be a longer process than you’d expect, especially if your downgrade is a major one.  If you’re downgrading into a different Houston neighborhood, there could be an adjustment period based on amenities in the new area, the commute that you now must take to work, or even something as simple as where you get your morning coffee.  It’s important to remember that no matter how major or minimal a downgrade actually is, your first home was once new as well, but it wasn’t long before it became familiar to you.  Given time, your new place will be as familiar to you as your old place was.

Downgrading can be a blessing in disguise and it can go smoothly if you plan ahead.  Once done, it can be a whole new beginning for you and your family.

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Ashely is a new writer that has an interest in writing about home improvement and real estate. Check out her Twitter @ashelymarie1985 to see more.

Houston Commercial Real Estate Overview

Houston Blue BonnetsAccording to a number of experts in the industry, the Houston commercial real estate market is the best in the country at this moment in time. Indeed, the residential market in Houston is also on the rise when compared to all others in the United States. On the commercial side of things, vacancies are down and rents are up while developers have started to create a host of large and expensively constructed projects. Businesses have a real desire to be located in The Woodlands or the Energy Corridor but since these locations are almost full, they need to look elsewhere.

Good News

By the end of 2012, the Class A office building vacancy rate in Houston fell below 9%, its lowest level in over 4 years. Critics are trying to suggest that there are too many new office buildings being created and a quick look over the city’s skyline shows an amazing amount of cranes in operation. However, developers in Houston are being extremely disciplined and experts believe that suggestions of overbuilding are wide of the mark.

Bad News?

The office market is likely to get even stronger during 2013 and well into 2014 as the city is one of the country’s leading lights when it comes to job creation. There is of course some bad news as well with Continental Airlines’ abandonment of its office in downtown Houston a black mark during 2012. Although the city’s office market has thus far fought its way through some rough patches, there may be more on the horizon: Exxon Mobil is leaving its 1 million square foot tower block with the process set to begin next year.

The Future

The commercial real estate market in Houston is growing because of an increase in the number of jobs being created. If the city was to experience a downtown in job creation, it is likely that commercial real estate would suffer. Although environmental regulations could be an issue, it seems as if Houston will retain its status as one of the country’s energy centers and this alone should guarantee an increase in jobs.

Even though Exxon is leaving Houston, it is certain that the space it is vacating will be snapped up in record time. Additionally, Exxon is moving just 30 miles away to The Woodlands so the Houston area does not suffer as a whole. At this moment in time, there is simply no better place in the United States when it comes to commercial real estate investment and with Houston continuing to grow; it is likely that the market will continue to bask in the city’s glow.

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My name is Jenny and I enjoy writing about topics related to commercial real estate, such as how to pick a good commercial real estate agent and how to purchase Montgomery County commercial real estate.

Commercial Real Estate News In Houston

Houston, TX

Houston Ranked As One of Nation’s Best Cities for Energy Star Rated Buildings

Houston is often said to the world’s energy capital and it has hit the headlines again for being one of America’s top 10 cities when it comes to volume of Energy-Star rated buildings. The Environmental Protection Agency published details and pointed out that the 20,000+ Energy-Star certified buildings in America have saved almost $3 billion in utility bills while preventing gas emissions equivalent to yearly electricity usage from 2 million homes. Phoenix Tower in Houston received a record breaking 14th straight Energy-Star certification making it the only building in the United States to receive this accolade. In order to gain certification, a building must be rated in the top 25% of similar buildings across the country. These buildings use 35% less energy than average buildings.

SkyHouse Houston Construction to Begin in April

Simpson Housing LLP, Novare Group and Peter W. Dienna are the first development team to utilize Houston’s downtown residential incentive program and the first building, called SkyHouse Houston, will be built from April 2013. It is believed that 500 new construction jobs will be created by this building while it is estimated that its creation will also attract 400 new residents to Houston’s Central Business District. This building will contain ceiling heights of up to 9 feet and be adorned with glass from floor to ceiling. A ‘Sky House’ will be created on the top floor and will contain amenities such as a fitness center, club room and swimming pool while the entire project will be Energy-Star rated. The $15,000 per apartment unit tax abatement awarded by the city was a huge incentive and one of the main reasons why the project is coming to fruition.

Alden Hotel to Be Rebranded

Once upon a time, the Aldon Hotel in downtown Houston was known as the Sam Houston hotel and the new owners of the property believe that restoring the original name is a crucial part of the future success of the building. Nick Massad III said that his family loved the idea of going back to the original name but they also needed to make sure it made sense from a business perspective. He is the son of Nick Massad II, renowned hotelier and American Liberty Hospitality’s CEO and President. Massad III believes that the name change and restoration of the hotel’s heritage will see a boom in business. A full interview is available in the 8 March edition of the Houston Business Journal’s Hospitality Focus section.

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Hi, My name is Mary MacDermid and I enjoy writing about everything Houston, including developments in The Woodlands commercial real estate and where to find a great brokerage like Bobek Realty Group Commercial.