HOUSTON – (Realty News Report) – Houston was one of the Top 10 markets in the country where buyers could get a deal on a home last year, according to a study by Owners.com. That’s definitely some good news, particularly after all the international publicity about the city following Hurricane Harvey. Launched in 1996, Owners.com began as an online directory of for-sale-by-owner (FSBO) property listings. Five years later, the company began offering FSBO sellers the ability to add listings to their local multiple listing service (MLS) for a fixed fee. Since 2009, Owners.com has helped sell over 160,000 residential properties. To find out more about what the Owners.com survey discovered about residential real estate in Houston, Realty News Report talked with Mathew Anderson, Texas managing broker at Owners.com.
Realty News Report: Houston made the list of the top 10 markets for homebuyers to get a deal. What are some of the reasons for this?
Mathew Anderson: The Owners.com 2017 Market Recap showed that homes in Houston are selling below their listing price, but rent is increasing in the market. These two factors are creating favorable conditions for potential homebuyers who may find it more affordable to own a home versus renting. While the market is competitive, smart homebuyers can still snag a deal before the area gets too hot.
Realty News Report: Owners.com says homes in Houston sell for almost $16,000 under the listing price. Why? Do you feel this will translate into more home sales? More relocation activity?
Mathew Anderson: One factor is the loan-to-value ratio in Houston is lower than the national average (-6.04%), which can indicate that there are more foreclosure or short-sale properties available in Houston. This only increases the opportunity for a buyer to get a good deal on a home in this desirable area. And although homes are selling for below listing price, they aren’t staying on the market long with Houston homes taking only two days longer to sell than the national average (96 days). Homebuyers, particularly millennials, are seeing the value and how much Houston has to offer, which will translate to an influx in homebuyers.
Realty News Report: Briefly, what is Owners.com?
Mathew Anderson: Owners.com is a technology enabled real estate brokerage that handles all key aspects of the home buying and selling experience on one platform.
Realty News Report: Houston has experienced some effects from Hurricane Harvey. Do you feel this has affected the local residential real estate market?
Mathew Anderson: Directly after the hurricane there was a shortage of inventory, but over the last few months, reports have shown an increase in home sales. This can be partially attributed to associations like FEMA giving consumers money for homes that were lost in Harvey so that they can purchase new properties, and a lower than normal foreclosure rate as those impacted by the flood have the money to purchase homes in new areas. This demonstrates that the real estate market in Houston is coming back and homebuyers are enthusiastic about getting into this area. I expect that we will continue to see an upward trend in home sales as the market recovers and storm-damaged properties are rebuilt.
Realty News Report: In Houston, the average number of days listing is on the market according to the Owner.com survey is 98, one of the lowest in the Top 10 list. What do you attribute this to?
Mathew Anderson: Compared to the other top 10 markets, home buyers in Houston can expect that homes will be on the market for less time. Houston is desirable for potential homebuyers given affordability, job availability and the number of top companies headquartered in the city. Taking into account these elements that make the city so livable, it makes sense that homes will be on the market for a shorter amount of time than other cities in the country, and homebuyers can expect more competition. Also, Houston is seeing an uptick in investors who are willing to purchase properties that need some work rather than wait for a home that is move-in ready, causing homes to fly off the market at a faster rate.
Realty News Report: The Owners.com survey indicates the inventory of homes for sale is tight in Houston. Why?
Mathew Anderson: Inventory in Houston was below the other top 10 buyer markets and low for the area in general, which again is somewhat attributed to the damage caused by the hurricane. Many homeowners lost their homes that otherwise might be listed on the market and housing demand has increased in the Houston area. This means that while you can still get a deal on a home, there might still be stiff competition resulting in bidding wars due to the more limited inventory.
Realty News Report: What do you predict for 2018? Increased sales in Houston?
Mathew Anderson: 2018 will be another hot year for Houston real estate. The study shows that Houston is a good market for home buyers to get a deal, which may mean there will more home buyers in 2018. Furthermore, it is expected that the area will see an influx of homebuyers from the new jobs in the energy sector, the rise of construction in the outer city and from those impacted by Hurricane Harvey.
Jan. 15, 2018 Realty News Report Copyright 2018