Common Misconceptions About The Houston Real Estate Market: Relocating to Houston
Below is an article titled On the move: Relocation Spotlight: Heritage Texas Properties written by Michelle Sandlin, an award-winning writer, journalist and global mobility industry expert.
In it, she interviews Kirsten Abney, Senior vice president of Heritage Texas properties addressing “the myths versus the realities of the Houston market.” It is great information not only for our Westin Buyers, but for everyone relocating to Houston.
On the move: Relocation Spotlight: Heritage Texas Properties
Published 9:46 am, Friday, September 23, 2016
A thorough understanding of the local real estate market is often one of the greatest challenges for people who are moving to Houston.
According to Kirsten Abney, senior vice president of Heritage Texas Properties, that challenge is further confused by what she calls “the myths versus the realities of the Houston market.”
During a recent interview, she discussed some of the most common misconceptions.
Myth: Houston is a buyer’s market.
Reality: “We can’t generalize our entire market and say that it’s a buyer’s market, because real estate in Houston right now is very local to areas and neighborhoods. So, there might be pockets with a higher level of inventory that would be considered more of a buyer’s market, but equally so, there might be pockets that are still more of a seller’s market, and other pockets where it has really become more balanced and stable.”
Myth: Housing in Houston is inexpensive.
Reality: “We have affordable housing in a number of areas across the city, and our cost of living is comparatively very low cost. Areas that we might consider to be affordable, might seem more expensive to a buyer depending on where that buyer is coming from when they move here. If someone is going to be working downtown, and they want to buy a four-bedroom home for under $250,000 and stay within a five-minute commute of their job, then they wouldn’t necessarily think that our market is affordable and inexpensive, because there wouldn’t be any options that would meet that particular criteria.”
Myth: The Houston market is going to crash.
Reality: “We have had a couple of years of double-digit appreciation, which is not at all normal for our market. We typically see normal rates of appreciation of around three percent. So, because of the impact that the downturn of the energy industry has had on Houston, many people are fearful that the market is going to crash. While we don’t have a crystal ball, there are no indicators that our market is going to crash. We see a market that is still healthy, and that the rates of appreciation are going back to a much more normal level.”
Myth: A balanced market is a bad market.
Reality: “A normal, balanced market is actually healthy for a city. Buyers need to understand that if they are looking in an area where properties are still moving pretty quickly, and something comes on the market that is in good condition and priced well, that it’s probably not going to stay on the market very long. So, for those types of properties, buyers don’t have an unlimited time to make a decision.”
“On the flip side, a more balanced market is a shift for what sellers in Houston have experienced over the past three or four years. No longer do they have the luxury of testing the market, or trying to be aggressive in their pricing. Sellers really have to be willing to prepare their homes to attract buyers. In a market where properties aren’t moving as quickly, sellers might have to be more flexible in terms of what they are willing to do.”
Myth: A buyer can find out everything they need to know about the market on the internet.
Reality: “The internet is a great source of information; however, what a person sees on the internet doesn’t always represent the reality of what they will experience when they get here. They may see homes that appear to be exactly what they are looking for, but when they get here they may find that those homes aren’t in a neighborhood that necessarily meets all of the other criteria.
“Having a trusted real estate professional to help them, even in the initial stages, can be important, because the buyer’s expectations might be really out of line with what the reality is. The agent really understands what’s important to the buyer, and can help them narrow their focus, so that the properties they are looking at on the internet are those that will meet their criteria when they get here.”
Myth: A buyer doesn’t need to be preapproved for a mortgage before looking at properties.
Reality: “If a buyer finds a home that has just come on the amarket, is in good condition, and in a neighborhood that is moving quickly, then there’s a very good chance that they will end up losing out if they aren’t preapproved for a mortgage. Until a buyer has spoken to a lender, they don’t know what their buying power is. There have been many changes in guidelines and regulations within the mortgage industry, so it is really important for a buyer to know and understand what their buying power is before they start their home search.”
Michelle Sandlin is an award-winning writer, journalist and global mobility industry expert. She is a frequent contributor to Worldwide ERC’s Mobility magazine, and is vice president of creative strategies at AMBER Lodging Co. Follow her on Facebook: www.facebook.com/TheMichelleSandlin and on Twitter: @MichelleSandlin. Also visit “On the Move” at blog.chron.com/onthemove.