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Trump, Oil Prices and a Record-Setting Year for Home Sales: Q&A with Houston Association of Realtors Chair Cindy Hamann

Cindy Hamann

Cindy Hamann, HAR Chair 2017

HOUSTON (By Dale King) – Houston Realtors just finished up their best year ever. Even though the local economy – and the energy industry – had a bumpy ride, 76,449 single-family homes were sold in 2016, shattering the previous annual sales record set two years earlier. With an abundance of optimism, Cindy Hamann kicked off 2017 as the new chair of the Houston Association of Realtors. A native Houstonian, Cindy is a vice president of recruiting and growth performance for Heritage Texas Properties. “I love real estate and all this career has to offer. This profession and compensation is not limited,” says the licensed Texas broker with close to 22 years of experience. For Heritage Texas Properties, in addition to her focus on recruitment and growth, Cindy divides her time between the firm’s offices in The Woodlands and Vintage Park where she participates in oversight of residential sales activity within those market areas. She has accumulated a number of awards as well as opinions about the world of real estate, which she shared during a recent interview with RealtyNewsReport.com.

Realty News Report: What impact do you think the Trump Administration will have on the real estate market, locally and nationally?

Hamann: A lot of people – potential buyers – have been sitting on the fence, waiting for the outcome of the election. Well, interest rates are starting to edge up a bit. [The Fed just raised the rate ¼ point.] People are starting to get back into the market. November 2016 was a good month, and calendar year 2016 was better than 2015. I think people are beginning to realize that no matter who is leading the country, we all live day-to-day and our lives go on. Even though the interest rate has gone up, it’s not too late to buy. We used to sell houses at 18% interest in the late 1980s. If you are a first-time buyer and have been waiting to get a few more amenities, buy now. You may not get as much later. Also, you can buy a lot of home for the money in Texas compared to other states.

Realty News Report: Despite the drop in oil prices, Houston just completed a record-setting year for home sales. Will this continue in 2017?

Hamann: Absolutely. Our rental market has been saturated by consumers whose leases will be coming up for renewal. With interest rates increasing, many will likely move away from renting and we should have a fabulous year for home sales. Also, more households are coming to Houston and so are companies like Halliburton and a lot of health care firms. We have a good, steady, relocation market. A lot of companies not related to oil are moving to Houston.

Realty News Report: What is it about Houston that attracts people?

Hamann: Industry and affordable housing are the two main things. There are also a lot of things to do, fun things. The city is very diversified. There are a lot of major sports teams, quality restaurants and bars. Of course, I’m biased because I am a native Houstonian.

Realty News Report: You said you got into the real estate business “by accident.” Can you explain that?

Hamann: I was working for small energy companies and kept getting laid off. I was preparing to be a stay-at-home mom when a friend who worked in relocations asked me to clean houses. So, the first two years of my real estate term I spent cleaning houses. Later, I received an offer to be a branch manager. I became passionate about the industry. It has allowed me to be a single mother and send all three of my children to college without debt.

Realty News Report: Can you describe a day in the life of the Cindy Hamann, the Houston Association of Realtors chair?

Hamann: It is definitely active. Once you get to be chairman, you have already served in five positions on the executive board of directors. HAR is one of the best associations in the country. You spend the day taking calls, doing interviews and sharing stories about what is going on in the industry and what tools our association can bring to its 36,000 members. I share the good word with them about what is happening in the market. I have a high level of energy, and I love the opportunity to help the next person coming in. If you are willing to work hard and take care of people and do the right things and have the best interest of clients in mind, you will be successful.

Realty News Report: Several neighborhoods in Houston attract home buyers because of their charm. Can you name a few?

Hamann: The Woodlands, The Heights, the Inner Loop area. They are moving to areas like Pearland, Clear Lake, Oak Forest, Timbergrove Manor and Memorial, among others.

Realty News Report: Is the overall real estate market being impacted by Millennials as well as seniors?

Hamann: Millennials won’t be buying homes until their lifestyles change. Some have student loans to pay off or they are still living with mom and dad. When they do get married and prepare to settle down, they tend to buy in areas like the urban core. At the other end, we do see elders moving into senior communities and assisted living centers. Many senior citizens are downsizing, but they are buying homes, and they are still able to get 30-year mortgages.

Realty News Report: What are people looking for in a home today that is different from a few years ago, or even 30 years ago?

Hamann: Overall, they are looking for something conducive to their lifestyles. I can tell you what they are not looking for. Formal things are not priorities any more – not formal living rooms or formal dining rooms. They want family room/den combinations with open kitchens. They want to be able to communicate with the family. They are looking for yard space. Even if they have a pool, they want an ample yard, or they want to be near a dog park. They want a home that is not overpriced. Price, condition and location are what drive the market. I always tell people to hire a full time professional Realtor that knows the market. It is the market that drives the prices.

Realty News Report: What’s going to happen in the Texas residential market in 2017?

Hamann: We are getting back to what we do best – living. God is still in control. We have to support our president and pray that the administration makes the best decisions for the best interest of this country. 2017 will be great, especially for the greater Houston area. It won’t be a buyer’s market or a seller’s market, it will just be a market. There is a need for homes for first-time buyers in the $200,000 to $300,000 price range, which is very popular. Contractors are aware of that and are building more affordable homes.

Jan 18, 2017 Realty News Report Copyright 2017

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