Houston Texas Real Estate News

November 2019

U.S. Real Estate Overview

Note: September 2019 data below are the most recent released by the National Association of Realtors.

Existing-home sales receded in September following two consecutive months of increases, according to the National Association of Realtors®. Each of the four major regions witnessed sales drop off last month, with the Midwest absorbing the brunt of those declines.

Total existing-home sales (transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops) fell 2.2% from August to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.38 million in September. Despite the decline, overall sales are up 3.9% from a year ago (5.18 million in September 2018).

National Association of Realtors August 2019 DataLawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, said that despite historically low mortgage rates, sales have not commensurately increased, in part due to a low level of new housing options. “We must continue to beat the drum for more inventory,” said Yun, who has called for additional home construction for over a year. “Home prices are rising too rapidly because of the housing shortage, and this lack of inventory is preventing home sales growth potential.”

The median existing-home price for all housing types in September was $272,100, up 5.9% from September 2018 ($256,900), as prices rose in all regions. September’s price increase marks 91 straight months of year-over-year gains.

Total housing inventory at the end of September sat at 1.83 million, approximately equal to the amount of existing-homes available for sale in August, but a 2.7% decrease from 1.88 million one year ago. Unsold inventory is at a 4.1-month supply at the current sales pace, up from 4.0 months in August and down from the 4.4-month figure recorded in September 2018.

Properties typically remained on the market for 32 days in September, up from 31 days in August and even with September 2018. Forty-nine percent of homes sold in September 2019 were on the market for less than a month.

First-time buyers were responsible for 33% of sales in September, up from 31% in August and 32% recorded in September 2018. NAR’s 2018 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers – revealed that the annual share of first-time buyers was 33%.

As the share of first-time buyers rose, individual investors or second-home buyers, who account for many cash sales, purchased 14% of homes in September 2019, unchanged from August but down from 16% recorded last September. All-cash sales accounted for 17% of transactions in September, down from 19% in August and 21% in September 2018.

“For families on the sidelines thinking about buying a home, current rates are making the climate extremely favorable in markets across the country,” said NAR President John Smaby, a second-generation Realtor® from Edina, Minnesota, and broker at Edina Realty. “These traditionally low rates make it that much easier to qualify for a mortgage, and they also open up various housing selections to buyers everywhere.”

According to Freddie Mac, the average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage decreased to 3.61% in September, down from 3.62% in August. The average commitment rate across all of 2018 was 4.54%.

“Mortgage rates under 4% are amazingly attractive for homebuyers,” said Yun. “The rise in foot traffic as evidenced by the open rates of SentriLock key boxes shows growing buyer interest.”
 

Getting Your Home Ready to Sell

When preparing your home for sale, a number of simple cosmetic changes often provide the biggest return on investment. Here are three tips to upgrade your house without breaking the bank:

  • Bring in the light. The right light creates the right mood. Adding lights to dark rooms can make your home feel warm and inviting. Bring outdoor light inside by opening curtains and installing economical sun tubes.
  • Create Space. Many of today's buyers are looking for open rooms. Consider removing unwanted walls to make your home feel more spacious. Buyers will often pay a premium to get a bit of extra room.
  • Replace Flooring. Get rid of that old carpet in the den and replace it with today's newer hardwoods and laminates. You don't have to spend a lot to make a big impression!

These simple tips can help you sell your home and take advantage of our today's market. Please contact us if you have any questions about selling your home. We are here to help!

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