Don’t Burst My Bubble

            The Houston economy is booming again.  You can see it everywhere you go–at the grocery store, the mall parking lot, even the freeways have more traffic than two years ago.  Go outside in the Heights, and you can smell the sweet fragrance of jasmine blooming and money flowing.

            “But can it last?” asks the Doomsayer.  What happens to the Bayou City when the proverbial real estate bubble bursts?  I went to Metrostudy’s economic forecast luncheon to find out. 

            After the first quarter 2013 stats were in, the conclusion is that there is no bubble in sight.  Texas, as you well know, is the greatest state in the nation.  What makes it even more appealing right now, though, is that Texas is outpacing the country in job growth, and Houston is the strongest city in the state.

            All this job growth is creating a white hot real estate market, particularly in the Heights.  We are experiencing a city-wide 3 month inventory of listings, but in our neighborhood it’s more like one month.   Mortgage rates are predicted to remain low for the foreseeable future.  New apartment builds are springing up everywhere in town, and at a 90%+ occupancy rate and $2 per square foot,  former tenants are being pushed into the buyer’s market. 

            Citywide, home price appreciation is 3.38% for the first quarter.  Houston is #1 nationwide for the number of home starts, and four of the top twenty cities in the country are in Texas.  The Woodlands is about to close out on land completely, and other suburbs are also running out of land for the year.  This is good news for us inner-loopers because there isn’t much availability difference between us and the burbs, so people won’t be moving out to the fringes.  The lack of land is driving lot value way up (it’s doubled in the Woodlands).

            So if you’re thinking about selling your house, this is the best market we’ve seen in over twelve years.  But if you’re hesitant about buying right now because you’re sure prices will go down again soon, let me reassure you that the market indicators say you’re well-positioned for speedy equity.

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